Has Marlon's potential £13m move to West Ham moved a step closer?

Manuel Pellegrini, manager of Manchester City looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Manchester City at the Liberty Stadium on May 15, 2016 in Swansea,...

Premier League side West Ham United are understood to be keen on signing Marlon Santos from La Liga champions Barcelona after his spell in Ligue 1.

Marlon Santos of FC Barcelona shoots during the International Champions Cup match between Leicester City FC and FC Barcelona at Friends arena on August 3, 2016 in Solna, Sweden.

Will Marlon Santos become a West Ham United player this summer?

A deal for the Barcelona defender appears to be very much up in the air right now, with West Ham seemingly turning their attentions towards Swansea City’s Alfie Mawson in recent days.

But El Mundo Deportivo claim that negations are ongoing with Marlon, who spent last season in Ligue 1 on loan with Nice. It is understood that Barcelona want about £23 million but West Ham would only be willing to pay around £13 million. It is fair to say there is quite a gap between these two fees.

Nice's Brazilian defender Santos Marlon reacts during the French L1 football match Nice vs Lyon at The 'Allianz Riviera' Stadium in Nice, southeastern France on November 26, 2017.

Although the latest developments certainly give West Ham’s hopes a boost.

Marlon was halfway through a two-year loan spell at Nice but, as reported by Football Espana, that has now been called off, meaning the 22-year-old centre-back will not return to the Allianz Riviera next season.

Does this suggest that Barcelona are ready to cash in on a player who has made just two La Liga appearances since joining from Fluminense in 2016? It certainly seems that way.

Manchester City's Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini (R) is watched by Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (L) as he arrives ahead of the English Premier League football match...

Why else would Marlon be denied the chance to finish his loan spell at Nice?

The Guardian reported last month that West Ham were worried about whether the 5ft 11ins Samba star would be able to handle the physicality of the Premier League. Perhaps this explains why they are unwilling to meet Barca’s £23 million price-tag.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch