West Ham sporting director Gianluca Nani has admitted to being an admirer of Sebastian Giovinco and Marek Hamsik.
Juventus playmaker Giovinco is attracting interest from a number of Europe's top clubs, although the Turin giants have made it clear that the talented 21-year-old is not for sale.
Hamsik, meanwhile, is a Slovakian midfielder currently plying his trade with Napoli.
While Giovinco would appear to be out of reach for the Hammers at present, Nani believes Hamsik possesses all the necessary credentials to be a future Ballon d'Or winner.
"He has the ideal characteristics for a Premier League footballer," he told Radio Kiss Kiss.
"I believe that Marek, who I know from my time at Brescia, is the best young midfielder in circulation, a great champion in the making.
"When he plays in the Champions League he'll be on his way to winning the Ballon d'Or.
"For me he's the new (Steven) Gerrard, a champion of international stature."
With constant speculation linking West Ham with a host of Italians in the New Year, Nani has attempted to stem the tide by suggesting that neither Giovinco nor any of his compatriots will be heading to Upton Park in January.
"He could interest us but Juventus have been quite clear about their plans," he said.
"I don't think we'll sign an Italian player, even if in football you can never say never."