One of Manuel Pellegrini’s priorities this summer will be to improve his defensive ranks at the London Stadium and it seems a highly-rated player could be secured.

Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo report that the Hammers currently lead the chase for Barcelona defender Marlon Santos, who has impressed on-loan at OGC Nice.

The 22-year-old Brazil talent has earned his senior stripes in Ligue 1, after pushing his way into Barcelona’s first-team previously – playing in the Champions League against Celtic and in a number of LaLiga matches.

However, his first-team chances appear to be slim at the Camp Nou and Barcelona are said to be looking to cash in, though West Ham face competition in the market from Leicester City.

Marlon Santos made 27 appearances in Ligue 1 and the Europa League for Nice last season and could prove to be a top-class addition to West Ham’s defence, partnering young Declan Rice in the middle.

It’s likely that West Ham will look to sign another central defender though following the exit of James Collins and the continued speculation surrounding Winston Reid’s future.