West Ham are eyeing up a move to sign Matteo Guendouzi this summer, according to reports in the player’s homeland.
Who are West Ham linked with?
The Hammers are expected to be on the hunt for a new star central midfielder this summer, with speculation mounting once again regarding the future of Declan Rice. The England international is wanted by league leaders Arsenal, and it’s believed West Ham would allow him to leave for a record sum of over £100m (Football Insider).
This would of course leave David Moyes with a gaping hole in the spine of his team, who are still somewhat flirting with relegation after a frustrating 4-3 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.
Looking at who could replace Rice, the club’s board have apparently idenitifed England duo Kalvin Phillips and Conor Gallagher as possible successors, both of whom are out of favour at their current ‘big six’ clubs.
According to reports in France however (L’Equipe, via Sport Witness), they’re also in the mix to sign Marseille enforcer Guendouzi, as the Ligue 1 outfit are “planning to carry out a few sales to remodel their squad”. The Hammers will have to fend off interest from Newcastle and Aston Villa, who are currently leading the race, and Marseille want to double the €12m (£10.6m) they paid for the former Arsenal youngster.
Should West Ham sign Guendouzi?
The 24 year-old lacked some maturity when he first arrived in London to join the Gunners, but he has certainly become a more rounded player back in France, appearing 94 times and directly contributing to 28 goals. The £42,000 per-week man has become a real figurehead in his team, praised as a “natural leader” by Jorge Sampaoli.
He ranks in the 63rd and 95th percentile for tackles and interceptions per 90 when compared with other midfielders in the top five European leagues, figures for which Rice sits in the 62nd and 97th percentile, so it’s clear the man tipped to be a “midfield monster” woud replicate the Englishman’s defensive contributions.
However, given Rice surpasses Guendouzi in nearly every attacking metric, perhaps the club should look to sign two players to fill the void, with a more attack-minded player coming in alongside the Frenchman to replace what they will lose going forward if Rice departs.
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