Transfer news: West Ham reportedly in talks to sign Southampton striker Rickie Lambert

England striker could be on his way out at St Mary's

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The Independent Football

West Ham have started talks with Southampton for striker Rickie Lambert following the exit of Nicola Cortese, according to reports.

Sam Allardyce's men are desperate to improve the forward line and are reportedly willing to pay up to £7m for the striker's services.

However it is understood that the deal is not close to being completed yet although Southampton have reportedly indicated that they are willing to sell the England international.

The news is yet more bad news for Southampton fans who may be facing the prospect of losing their manager and several leading stars following the exit of Cortese yesterday.

West Ham meanwhile have taken further steps to boost their striking options after giant striker Lacina Traore's work permit was approved ahead of a loan move and Carlton Cole signed an 18-month contract extension yesterday.

Record signing Andy Carroll is also working his way back to full fitness after a long injury lay off.