West Ham plan Song talks with Barcelona

The Hammers are keen to retain the services of the Cameroon international, despite his recent dip in form, and hope to negotiate a deal with the Catalan giants
By Harry Sherlock

West Ham are planning talks with Barcelona as they seek to sign Alex Song permanently this summer.

The Cameroon international midfielder joined the Hammers on a season-long loan in August and the club subsequently claimed that they had fought off interest from "some of Europe's biggest clubs" to secure his signature.

Song has since made 25 appearances in all competitions – captaining the side infrequently – and, despite a slight dip in form since the turn of the year, the club are keen to retain his services beyond the expiration of his short-term stay.

Song currently earns £70,000 (€95,000) per week at Upton Park and West Ham would like that to continue were he to commit to a permanent contract, while the club expect Barca to demand a fee of around £5 million (€6.8m) for the 27-year-old.

The Hammers expect to open negotiations with the Catalans two weeks prior to the end of the season as they look to tie up a deal before the transfer window officially opens, regardless of whether Sam Allardyce is in charge of the club.

Goal understands that the club have earmarked Marseille coach Marcelo Bielsa as their top target to replace the 60-year-old but the deal for Song is not expected to hinge on Allardyce's future.

Song has previously spoken of a desire to remain in east London, though he has repeatedly refused to publicly commit his future to the club.

When quizzed about his future in February, he told reporters: "I am very happy here and my family is very happy here. And the most important thing is happiness.

"I would love to stay here at West Ham but I will choose at the end of the season."

Meanwhile, West Ham plan to promote young defender Reece Oxford to the first-team next season, with the England Under-17s international highly rated by the club's hierarchy.