David Gold and David Sullivan could have finally solved David Moyes’ defensive crisis this summer had the West Ham United ownership dug a little deeper in their pursuit of RC Strasbourg’s rising star Mohamed Simakan.
According to Le10 Sport, West Ham scrambled to France at the end of the international transfer market in search of Moyes’ next centre-half, but came up short in efforts to lure Simakan to the London Stadium.
The Irons are believed to have been behind a rejected €17million (£15.4m) bid for the 20-year-old, also courted by Southampton and AC Milan who likewise saw approaches rebuffed.
Strasbourg held firm in their asking price of no less than €20m (£18.1m) in the face of Euro-wide interest, with Milan only offering as much as €15m (£13.6m) while Rennes, Lyon and Marseille never formalised their intrigue.
Simakan, described as a “great professional” by agent Badou Sambage earlier in 2020, as per Transfer20 via HITC, is thought to have been left disappointed by a potential move – particularly one to England – falling through with Strasbourg rejecting all approaches received, having been keen to try his hand in another league following 25 appearances across all competitions last season.
Thierry Laurey’s Meinau stadium natives must now persist with an unhappy player in the camp, but have felt fit to start the 6 ft 1 talent in each of their six Ligue 1 fixtures played to date this term.
Strasbourg have kept one clean sheet and taken one win in their league matches held prior to the international break, coming in a 1-0 result over Dijon before conceding six times in two games to AS Monaco and LOSC Lille.
Simakan’s potential is there to see in the number of top-tier sides to have been linked with his services this summer, with reports in Germany also suggesting that RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund were closely monitoring his situation earlier in the year.
Leipzig’s belief in Simakan’s talents reaching another level in the Bundesliga were seemingly so strong that they potentially considered the Marseille-born prospect to be of a standard good enough to replace Dayot Upamecano – who they informed Bayern Munich would cost €40m (£36.2m) after lowering a €60m (£54.4m) asking price.
West Ham could always return to Strasbourg in January with the market only a few months away, knowing the Irons were only €3m (£2.7m) shy of reaching an agreement this month. But Strasbourg’s asking price was already put to the Hammers when the east London outfit emerged as a potential suitor.
Gold and Sullivan presenting the extra funds would have secured Moyes a rough diamond in Simakan, who stood out last season with his pace at full stride, talent on the ball and ability to lead the backline.