Bargain! West Ham could sign Allardyce's £9.5m summer target for free

West Ham United failed in a £9.5m bid for Yevhen Konoplyanka this summer - but now they could sign him for nothing.

Despite Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Everton, West Ham are on course for a superb season.

The Hammers have won five of their opening 12 games this season, sitting sixth in the Premier League table - and with Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham all struggling to find any consistency, manager Sam Allardyce has a chance of earning European qualification for next season.

Even after splashing out in the summer for the likes of Aaron Cresswell, Alex Song, Morgan Amalfitano, Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia, West Ham will need to add more new faces in January if they are to really push for a top six finish.

Allardyce may well be backed with more money to spend, and it would be little surprise to see him rekindle his interest in Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk ace Yevhen Konoplyanka.

The Ukrainian winger, 25, was linked with Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham over the summer, but West Ham made an audacious £9.5m bid - which was rejected as Dnipro aimed to get £12m for him.

That decision could prove costly, as Konoplyanka is about to enter the final six months of his contract with Dnipro, and doesn't look like he'll be signing a new contract any time soon.

That means that West Ham would be able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with Konoplyanka, enabling him to join the club for free next summer.

Alternatively, the Hammers could offer another fee to sign Komplyanka in the hope that Dnipro will take a cut-price fee to avoid losing him for nothing.

West Ham don't play with wingers anymore as Allardyce has switched to a 4-4-2 diamond, but Konoplyanka's skillset actually lends itself to playing behind the strikers - the same switch made by Stewart Downing this season.

It would be an ambitious move by West Ham, but if they were willing to pay £9.5m to sign him this summer, then he will surely be on their radar as a potential free transfer - and signing Konoplyanka would be a huge statement of intent for their rivals.

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