West Ham meet Chelsea's £26m Kurt Zouma transfer fee but £125k-a-week defender 'wants significant pay rise'

WEST HAM have met Chelsea's £26million asking price for defender Kurt Zouma but the defender is holding out for a 'significant pay rise', according to reports.

The Hammers are keen to bolster their squad before the end of the transfer window as they look to juggle domestic and European competitions.

And Zouma, who is also being eyed by Tottenham, has been identified as one of West Ham's primary targets as they look to add to the centre of their defence.

According to The Athletic, David Moyes' side have now met Chelsea's asking price for the 26-year-old, with the two London teams reaching a 'verbal agreement'.

However, the Frenchman is said to be demanding an increase in wages from his current £125,000 a week pay packet.

This could present a problem for the Hammers as it would mean they have to make him their highest paid player.

Andriy Yarmolenko currently earns the most in the West Ham squad with a weekly wage of £115,000 a week.

Zouma has been out of favour at Stamford Bridge since Frank Lampard was sacked and Thomas Tuchel took over the reigns back in January.

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Last season he featured just nine times in the Premier League after the German coach arrived.

That trend has continued at the start of the 2021-22 campaign as Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and even Trevoh Chalobah have been preferred to him in their opening two league games against Crystal Palace and Arsenal.

Zouma's only appearance so far this season came in their Super Cup victory over Villarreal.

If Zouma does complete the move to West Ham he would be Moyes' second signing of the summer.

Paris Saint-Germain keeper Alphonse Areola has already joined the club on a season-long loan.

Meanwhile, Zouma's departure could open the door for Sevilla defender Jules Kounde to join Tuchel's side in West London.

The 22-year-old has been linked with a move to Chelsea throughout the summer but a fee has not yet been agreed between the clubs.

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