Former Premier League striker Noel Whelan believes West Ham have enough going for them to beat both Tottenham and Aston Villa to the signing of Danny Ings this summer.

Ings has turned down a new contract offer at Southampton as he seeks a new challenge at a higher level, with one year remaining on his current St. Mary’s Stadium deal.

It means the Saints will either have to agree to sell the 28-year-old this summer or be prepared to let him leave for free at the end of his contract in 12 month’s time.

The Athletic have reported that West Ham, Villa and Spurs have all shown an interest in Ings of late, but while Whelan believes all three clubs would be an attractive proposition for the forward, the Hammers might just have the edge over their top-flight rivals.

He told Football Insider: “When you look at the size of Villa, Tottenham and West Ham, they are pretty similar.

“Tottenham, for me, are probably slightly bigger in terms of history and what they have done.

“But when you look at where they are after last season, West Ham are more appealing because they are in the Europa League.

“It would be hard to turn down a move to any of those clubs. Look at the market Villa have gone into. 

“Look at Tottenham’s stadium. West Ham have Europe. They all have their benefits.”

Can West Ham win the race for Danny Ings?

Noel Whelan is right in what he says about West Ham probably having the biggest pull in the transfer window this summer.

Normally, Tottenham would be the most attractive proposition but they’re playing in the UEFA Conference League and not the Champions League next season, while Villa aren’t competing in Europe at all.

David Moyes needs to buy at least one striker this summer to ensure Michail Antonio isn’t left with all the responsibility up front and, with the potential for over 50 fixtures across all competitions in 2021/22, there will be plenty of game time available for Ings at London Stadium.

Spurs, on the other hand, may still have Harry Kane by the end of the window, which would severely limit first-team opportunities for Ings if he were to move to North London, while Villa have Ollie Watkins around to lead the line.

So West Ham would no doubt be an attractive option for Ings if he wants to test himself at a higher level, but as things stand there have been no reports of an official bid from any of the aforementioned clubs.