West Ham United are close to making an offer for AC Milan defender Malick Thiaw and are ahead of Real Madrid in a potential race for him.

That’s according to Sky Sports Italy journalist Manuele Baiocchini, who says the Italian side could be set to make a major profit on the German defender.

Thiaw joined Milan in an €8.6m deal from Schalke in August last summer and has been a regular since, making 33 appearances in all competitions for them.

He enjoyed a particularly strong second half of last season and has carried that through to this season, starting seven of their eight games in Serie An and both of their Champions League games, against Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund respectively.

His performances have seemingly earned him attention and reports in Spain this week have linked him with a potential move to Real Madrid as a result.

It’s not the Spanish side who are at the front of the queue, though, at least as far as they’re concerned in Italy, with Baiocchini reporting that according to his information, it is West Ham making the strongest moves.

“I want to talk to you about three transfer market issues at Milan: a renewal, a player who has several offers from abroad and one who could arrive instead,” Radio Rossonera report him saying.

“The AC Milan player who has transfer offers from abroad is Malick Thiaw: in Spain they talk about an interest from Real Madrid, but at the moment what we understand is that the closest offer to arrive is that of West Ham.

“Clearly, Thiaw could be an incredible capital gain for Milan, he was taken at €8m, he could be worth many times more.”