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West Ham United are reportedly keen to bring Bologna attacker Simone Verdi, according to Tutto Mercato Web.

The Italian has been hailed as ‘the next Gianfranco Zola’ by certain media outlets and the Hammers seem interested to bring him to the London Stadium, a club the ex-Chelsea legend once managed.

Slaven Bilic’s side are after a replacement for the Dimitri Payet, after the midfielder moved back to Marseille in the winter, in an infamous transfer saga.

Verdi can be seen as an ideal replacement for the Frenchman after he left an attacking void the Hammers need to desperately fill.

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If the reports are correct, then the West Ham chiefs watched an impressive performance in which the 24-year-old stared in.

Bologna beat Chievo 4-1 at home on Sunday afternoon, with Verdi levelling the score before assisting Blerim Dzemaili’s second to take all three points.

The goal was the attacking midfielder’s fifth in the Serie A this season, whilst also assisting a further three to his teammates.

Verdi arrived on the scene in Italian football with AC Milan at just the age of 17-years-old, however he failed to push on.

After moving to Bologna, where he has a contract until 2020, he has been able to restart his career and get back on track to being a highly rated midfielder.

It remains to be seen how difficult a transfer could prove to be however, with the Italian only just moving to the club last summer for a small fee of £1.3 million – a price West Ham will have to significantly better should they try to bring him to London.