Hoffenheim hopeful of beating West Ham to Stepanenko signing - sources
Hoffenheim are attempting to take advantage of the managerial change at West Ham by securing an €8 million move for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Taras Stepanenko in January, sources have told ESPN FC.
Prior to his dismissal as Hammers manager earlier this month, Slaven Bilic had been working on a deal to sign the defensive midfielder from the Ukrainian champions.
Stepanenko, capped 37 times by Ukraine, has been monitored during Shakhtar's Champions League campaign by several Premier League and Bundesliga clubs this season, with West Ham having been the leading candidates to sign the 28-year-old during the January transfer window.
However, the arrival of David Moyes as Bilic's successor has raised doubts over West Ham's ongoing interest in the player, with sources telling ESPN FC that Hoffenheim are now confident of overcoming interest from the Premier League to sign Stepanenko to boost their hopes of climbing back into the Bundesliga's Champions League qualification spots.
Moyes has been promised money to spend in January by the West Ham board, but the former Everton, Manchester United and Sunderland manager has yet to assess the squad he has inherited and identify which areas he needs to strengthen when the transfer window reopens on Jan. 1.
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_