Colchester boss Geraint Williams has made an official approach to sign West Ham youngster Hogan Ephraim on a permanent basis.
The Us want to sign the 20-year-old, who impressed while on loan at Layer Road last season and will be out of contract in the summer, when the transfer window reopens in January.
"There has been a bid. Hogan is a player we have had here before and if West Ham are interested in selling then we are interested in buying," said Williams.
"We have spoken to him, but there are also another couple of clubs interested so it is down to Hogan where his future lies.
"If a player will improve the club - and Hogan will do that - then it will take a lot of money, but we are prepared to do that. We'll have to wait and see how it develops."