West Ham could beat West Brom, Celtic and Newcastle to the signing of Kara Mbodj.
The paper write that the versatile Senegalese star is available on loan from Belgian side Genk, if the Hammers commit to a £2 million summer deal.
In December The Mail linked the 25-year-old to Celtic, and Newcastle United.
The report Mbodj could leave on loan is at odds with The Mail's previous claims that Genk boss Alex McLeish would demand £5 million for the in-demand star.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce told the club's website on Sunday night that the club would be looking to bring in a player or two on loan on transfer deadline day, specifically looking at the defence due to recent injuries.
Mbodj would be a potential long-term replacement for Winston Reid, yet his ability to play in central midfield makes him a good back-up for Alex Song and Cheik Kouyate.