David Moyes must push West Ham United to sign Burnley midfielder Josh Brownhill as he prepares to lose captain Mark Noble this summer.
According to TEAMtalk, the Clarets are facing a fight to retain Brownhill at the end of the season as interest continues to build in the highly-impressive 25-year-old.
Brownhill has established himself as a key player under Sean Dyche after a slow start to life at Turf Moor, with the central midfielder not starting a Premier League game until five months after a £9m winter transfer from Championship side Bristol City last year.
The Warrington-born talent has been a regular fixture of the Burnley unit this term with 22 starts in 23 top-flight appearances, only sitting out five games to date of which three came as a result of an ankle injury.
Premier League rivals are now taking a keen interest in the dynamic maestro’s efforts in Lancashire ahead of the next transfer window, with several carrying out scouting checks in recent months.
Along with West Ham, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa are each said to be monitoring the £35k-per-week Preston North End product’s situation.
Brownhill scored his sole goal for Burnley to date during the Clarets’ Carabao Cup third round win over Millwall in September, but is yet to register a single assist over 36 outings across all competitions.
Burnley will no doubt be loath to lose a player so pivotal to Dyche’s plans should the Turf Moor outfit remain in the Premier League next season, but Moyes should urge West Ham to test the Clarets’ resolve as Brownhill could prove to be a solid replacement for Noble.
Mr West Ham, Noble, is nearing the end of his £50,000-per-week deal with his terms set to expire in June and he has featured extremely infrequently in the Irons line-up this season, outside of the FA Cup.
Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has also voiced that this season could be the £4m-rated veteran’s final at the London Stadium, as Noble will still have the fire in his belly to go out and secure a regular playing role elsewhere as he enters the twilight years of his career.
Should Noble go, it would leave Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek as Moyes’ only recognised senior central midfielders, and the Irons boss can ill-afford to not bring in cover having relied on Rice and Soucek to feature more than all bar Aaron Cresswell across all competitions this season.
Brownhill may be a solid pick-up for the back-up role in the Irons engine room, having been lauded by Dyche for his “boundless energy, will and desire”.
The 5 ft 10 Burnley star has also provided a similar impact to Rice and Soucek in the Premier League this season, with Brownhill seeing the ball for an average 48.7 touches a game and playing 29 accurate passes with an 80% success rate, per SofaScore.
He further wins the ball back frequently with 2.4 interceptions, 1.4 successful tackles and dominates in the duel by winning 4.9 of his total contests (2.7 ground, 2.2 aerial) per game.
Brownhill’s success in the duel is marginally superior to Rice overall but he’s better than the England international in the air, while offering comparable numbers for successful tackles and interceptions albeit seeing less of the ball than the Hammers’ engine room conductor.
Soucek also averages a similar defensive impact at the London Stadium and volume of accurate passes, but would not be expected to fall to the side to make way for Brownhill having emerged as one of Moyes’ most important goalscoring options this term.
So, while Brownhill would not be likely to emerge as the first or second-choice midfielder at West Ham next season, he could easily fill the void that Noble is expected to create in a few months’ time.