In Focus: West Ham eye £3m-rated Serie A star; would be an underwhelming signing

According to reports in The Sun, West Ham United and Southampton are said to be interested in signing Pescara midfielder and former Manchester City youth player Ahmad Benali this summer.

What’s the word, then?

Well, despite enjoying a decent season personally, his team Pescara were relegated to Serie B on Sunday following their 1-0 defeat to Cagliari and the 25-year-old will look to move on this summer.

He has interest from Serie A sides Atalanta, Bologna and Genoa, but it is thought he is keen on a return to England where he spent 13 years as a trainee with City, and he would cost around £3m.

How well has he done this season?

Despite Pescara winning just two Serie A matches all season, Benali has scored six goals in 32 league appearances – nearly a fifth of his team’s total – while he has provided a further two assists.

Where would he fit in at West Ham?

The Libya international – who has two caps for his country – has spent much of the campaign playing in an attacking midfield role and because he is just 5’8” tall, it is a position that suits him.

Benali could play in any of the attacking midfield positions in a 4-2-3-1 formation, or out wide in a 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 system depending on what Slaven Bilic intends to deploy next term if he stays with the club.

Because of his tenacity and athleticism he can play deeper too, if needed.

What’s the verdict, then?

While he has obviously improved and shown that he can perform in Serie A – and is available for a reasonable price – Irons supporters will perhaps be hoping for some more well-known names to come into the club this summer as they look to make a significant improvement on what has been a disappointing campaign.