Nottingham Forest might be ready to further bolster their midfield with a move for one of Lyon’s top players.
With a bid of €50m (£42.5m) having initially been rejected for the Hammers, Steve Cooper will know that he needs to offer significantly more than that to tempt Lyon into selling the Brazilian.
They will also need to offer a strong financial package, as it is thought that Forest would struggle to convince him to join if the Irons and Newcastle United have already failed to do so.
To add this highly-rated talent to the ranks would mark a sensational coup for Reds boss Cooper, who has already added one European captain to his midfield.
His new Swiss general Remo Freuler could pair perfectly with the Brazilian brilliance and steel of Paqueta, and in no time at all Forest could have one of the better midfield partnerships in the Premier League.
Freuler captained Atalanta in the majority of his 43 appearances last season, outlining himself as a stellar progressive passer with the ability to get stuck in. This is outlined in him ranking in the top 6% for progressive passes among positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues, whilst also managing 2.37 tackles, 1.86 interceptions and 1.86 blocks per game.
However, is it the “talented” Paqueta who would truly be the jewel in Cooper’s crown.
He is the quintessential all-round midfielder, and whilst ranking in the top 1% for tackles and top 5% for pressures among positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues over the past 12 months, he also averaged 3.05 shots and 4.91 progressive passes per 90 minutes.
What really suggests that a fine partnership might be struck is that the £53k-per-week Brazilian ranks in the top 8% for progressive passes received, which could suit the forward-thinking Freuler perfectly as his passes seek out and find the 24-year-old.
Paqueta clearly benefits from being able to float in the space further up the pitch, as in his 35 league appearances last season he scored nine goals and set up another six. It is no surprise to see him labelled a “wizard”, as he has clearly performed magical feats for his current club.
Paqueta and Freuler would mark two impressive signings for Forest and could become one of the most formidable midfield partnerships in the league, but the Reds must act quickly as West Ham subsequently seem to be closing in on a move for the Brazilian, as per Fabrizio Romano.