West Ham ahead of Chelsea in pursuit of Aston Villa's special player

Crystal Palace v Aston Villa - Premier League
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa - Premier League / Henry Browne/GettyImages

West Ham United are set to beat Chelsea in the race to sign Aston Villa's promising young striker, Jhon Duran. The 20-year-old Colombian has caught the eye of the Hammers, who have placed him on their list of summer targets according to talkSPORT. Villa, preparing for Champions League football this season, are open to offers for the forward, valuing him at around £40 million.

Chelsea have been tracking Duran since January, with former manager Mauricio Pochettino keen on bringing the youngster to Stamford Bridge. Duran's social media activity, including liking content related to Chelsea, hinted at his interest in the move. However, negotiations between Villa and Chelsea hit a roadblock, partly due to Chelsea's attempt to include Conor Gallagher in the deal, which the midfielder reportedly refused.

With Chelsea's attention diverted to other targets, West Ham have seized the opportunity to pursue Duran. New manager Julen Lopetegui is determined to strengthen his squad ahead of his first season at the London Stadium. The Hammers, having already made two early additions in the transfer window, are now focusing on bolstering their attacking options.

Despite limited playing time last season, Duran has shown immense promise, scoring five goals in just 462 minutes of Premier League action. Villa manager Unai Emery has praised the young striker, calling him a "special player" and emphasising the need to support his development. However, with Villa's lofty ambitions, they may prefer a more experienced backup for their main striker, Ollie Watkins.

Duran spent last season as a backup to Watkins, but his potential has not gone unnoticed. If West Ham can secure his signature, it would be a significant coup for the Hammers and a blow to their London rivals, Chelsea. The Blues would undoubtedly be disappointed, given their prolonged interest in the striker and the potential he has shown.

For West Ham, signing Duran would not only add depth to their attacking options but also provide a psychological boost over Chelsea. On the other hand, Chelsea's failure to secure Duran's services could leave them red-faced, especially after months of tracking the player.

West Ham United are making a strong push to sign Jhon Duran from Aston Villa. With Villa open to offers and valuing the striker at around £40 million, a deal could be on the horizon.