TEAMtalk have reported that West Ham are leading the race ahead of Premier League rivals over the transfer of Fluminese forward Marcos Paulo.

The Hammers are believed to be beating off the pursuit of Leeds United, Arsenal and Southampton for the 19-year-old Portuguese youth international.

The report states, West Ham ‘are in the driving seat’ with an approach having been made as well as early talks with the representatives of the teenage sensation.

One stumbling block could be the strikers reported release clause, currently sat at £40 million, an unlikely figure given his relatively unknown status.

Born in Sao Gonçalo, Brazil, the youngster chose to represent Portugal at youth level, qualifying via his grandfather.

Paulo has managed four goals for his adopted nation from seven matches across Under-18 and Under-19 age groups.

In his breakthrough season for Fluminese having come through the club academy, the teenager scored four in 24 Brazilian Serie A appearances.

Whilst Paulo clearly looks set for great things, a fee of that magnitude in this market place is unlikely to attract many takers.

Unless the Hammers can dramatically reduce the asking price it seems unlikely David Moyes will land his man at this stage, with the club’s apparent sell to buy model firmly in place.