The Chalkboard: Lobotka could be key to changing West Ham’s style

West Ham United are interested in signing Celta Vigo midfielder Stanislav Lobotka, per The Guardian, a player who could afford the club the potential to change the way they play.

On the chalkboard

Lobotka is a defensive midfield player and the Hammers are said to have indicated they are willing to pay £30m to secure his signature.

A Slovakia international, he has been with Celta Vigo since 2017 and has made 73 appearances for the club.

The 24-year-old, per WhoScored, is a remarkably efficient passer of the ball, averaging 45.3 passes per game with an accuracy of 89.2%.

The Guardian report claims he has been compared with Real Madrid’s world-class star Luka Modric, such is his command of the ball, while he also averages a dribble per game, along with 0.8 interceptions and one tackle.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini is keen to sign a new defensive midfielder to partner with Declan Rice, and bringing in Lobotka would tick that box while allowing the Hammers greater attacking freedom in the final third.

Attacking transformation

Lobotka rarely loses the ball and when he has it, he’s fantastic at finding a team-mate with it.

If he is paired with Rice in midfield, Pellegrini will have the opportunity to field his attackers in something approaching a laissez-faire formation, giving the likes of Manuel Lanzini and Felipe Anderson the opportunity to roam.

It would free them up, safe in the knowledge that the defence is adequately shielded.

While he would be an unspectacular signing on the surface, he would allow the club’s forward players the security they need to run off the leash and make things happen.

With the flair boasted by Anderson, Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic, this has been a long time coming; the signing of Lobotka could be exactly what West Ham need to get back to playing the entertaining, attacking football they are known for.