Five facts about the international left-back linked with West Ham

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Slaven Bilic wants to sign another five players minimum before the end of August with Achraf Lazaar the first of a late transfer flurry.

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West Ham could add yet another new face to their squad before the transfer window shuts in two weeks with Palermo’s Achraf Lazaar close to signing for £2.5 million, according to the Evening Standard.

Slaven Bilic’s side have targeted both quality and quantity during the summer months, Sofiane Feghouli, Andre Ayew and Gokhan Tore all arriving as the Hammers look to balance a competitive league campaign with the notorious slog that is the Europa League.

However, according to the Express, the Croatian said earlier this month that he wanted to add a minimum of five more players to his squad before the end of August, with versatile left-sider Lazaar reportedly set to arrive at the London Stadium in the coming days.

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So, what do we know about West Ham’s latest transfer target?

1) The Morocco international is renowned in Italy for his ability to flit comfortably between defensive and attacking roles, notching five assists and three goals in 59 Serie A appearances.

2) Lazaar was originally signed by Palermo in 2014 as an understudy to former West Ham defender Fabio Daprela. Hammers fans will not be surprised to learn that the 24-year-old soon cemented his place in the starting XI.

3) Incensed by reports that Lazaar was set to sign for Monaco for 10 million euros last summer, Palermo took the unusual step of releasing an official statement to ward off potential suitors, saying the Morrocan was of “fundamental importance” to the club, according to Football Italia.

4) Lazaar opened the scoring in Palermo’s impressive 3-1 win against Napoli in February 2015 with a 35-yard scorcher.

5) West Ham are not alone in their pursuit. Lazaar admitted recently that Marseille are also in the race for his signature but said that his next career move must represent a clear step up from Palermo.

"It's true that Marseille is interested,” the 24-year-old said, as reported by FourFourTwo.

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"But if I have to leave Palermo, it will have to be a choice that allows me to move to a higher level, to the next level."

Therefore, the ambitious Hammers, one tie away from the Europa League group stages, should have an advantage over a Marseille side who finished just nine points above the relegation zone in France last season with a number of their key players, including Steve Mandanda, Benjamin Mendy and Michy Batshuayi, all leaving in recent months.

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