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West Ham: Harry Souttar can be a Zouma upgrade

West Ham United enjoyed a busy summer transfer period, which seemed like a turning point in David Moyes’ career at the London Stadium.

It marked a transformative window in which eight new faces entered the fray, and with an improved calibre of player it was expected to propel the Hammers to new heights after a successful seventh-place finish and Europa League semi-finals.

However, they now find themselves wallowing towards the bottom three and facing the very real possibility of a fight to aviod relegation.

Despite their team being full of stars, fans of the club will know that talent enough cannot secure their place in the division. The 2010/11 season certainly taught them that.

Their disappointment thus far in the campaign is likely tied to their underperformance in the market and could explain their tentative approach to the January window, where Danny Ings remains only their second purchase.

However, ever since the conclusion of the World Cup, rumours persist that link Mark Noble and the Irons with a move for Stoke City and Australia defender Harry Souttar.

Would you take Souttar?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Having been tipped to make the move to east London by Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer, the initial rumour emerged as December drew to a close, with his reported price tag to be at £25m.

Although he would be making a big step up from the Championship, there is reason to believe that the 24-year-old would represent an upgrade on current stalwart Kurt Zouma.

The Frenchman has endured a tough season which has culminated in a disappointing 6.89 average rating, a far cry from 6.95 and 7.15 from the two seasons prior.

In fact, the 28-year-old has overseen a steady decline as the years have gone on, despite entering his prime years.

Meanwhile, Souttar is a defender on the rise, which came to the fore in Qatar.

Earning a 6.97 average rating, he was a defensive rock for a country that emerged from a group containing would-be finalists France, dark horses Denmark and a resolute Tunisia side that would beat the French too.

Averaging an 83% pass accuracy, he also recorded 1.5 interceptions, one tackle and an incredible 5.5 clearances per game (via Sofascore). This far outweighs Zouma’s 0.9 interceptions, 0.3 tackles and 4.8 clearances per 90 from this campaign, as per Sofascore.

It was no surprise to see him labelled “an absolute monster of a defender” by The Athletic’s Jordan Campbell, as he continued to claim he was: “Huge, quick, can head it and is also fairly comfortable on the ball.”

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West Ham United manager David Moyes before the match

1. West Ham kicked off 2022 with an away win against Crystal Palace. Which player scored a brace?

These are attributes that Moyes will be keen to add to a defence that has shipped 25 goals so far this season.

Whilst Zouma has struggled as part of this team, Souttar was thriving on the biggest stage, proving his ability to take the next step up.

As the former Chelsea defender declines, the Potters have an up-and-coming brute on their hands that West Ham will want to snap up quickly.