David Moyes may be able to allow Fabian Balbuena to leave West Ham United at the end of the season by beating competition from Besiktas for Vorskla Poltava defender Pape-Alioune Ndiaye.
According to Foot Mercato, Besiktas are tracking Ndiaye’s situation with his Vorskla contract due to expire in June.
The towering 6 ft 7 centre-half is highly-regarded in Turkey and has previously been scouted by SC Braga and West Ham, plus Ligue 1 outfits including LOSC Lille.
Reports by Goal France in December claimed that Moyes had personally received reports on the 23-year-old, having started to monitor the Frenchman last summer after he begun establishing himself in Ukraine.
Ndiaye moved to the Premier Liga outfit in 2019 and started 15 of his 17 appearances during the defender’s debut campaign at the Butovsky Vorskla Stadium, and has missed just one of 15 possible fixtures across all competitions this term as a key aspect of the Zeleno-Bili side.
Vorskla boss Yuriy Maksymov is noted to have compared Ndiaye to Neymar, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo recently in saying, with his tongue firmly in cheek, that he is worth at least €100m (£88m) such is the level the FC Valenciennes product has been playing at.
Ndiaye is a very much unproven product among Europe’s top-five leagues, but is seemingly continually on the up in Ukraine after being named in the country’s team of the best up-and-coming talents last season.
It naturally remains to be seen if he is able to replicate his Premier Liga exploits in the Premier League, Ligue 1, Super Lig or the Liga NOS, yet that should not stop Moyes from exploring luring the 22-year-old to West Ham.
Few would have known who Tomas Soucek was before the midfielder arrived at the London Stadium from Slavia Prague last January, yet few will now struggle to not sing the Czech Republic international’s praises. Or those of his compatriot Vladimir Coufal.
Obviously, Ndiaye plays in a different position to Soucek and Coufal, but the path for coming to the Premier League from a lesser eastern European country and making a success of things under Moyes is clear as day.
Ndiaye being the next in line may even allow the Hammers to part with Fabian Balbuena at the end of the season, with reports surfacing on Deadline Day that the Paraguayan had been made available for a transfer with his £40,000-per-week contract up this summer.
Balbuena has clearly fallen down Moyes’ pecking order in recent months, with the 29-year-old brute overlooked at Manchester United despite Angelo Ogbonna and Issa Diop both being forced off through injuries during the FA Cup defeat on Tuesday night.
Moyes has now only called on Balbuena to feature once in the Hammers’ last 11 games across all competitions, after starting the season with 12 outings in 15 Premier League matches.
West Ham will be expected to look for alternatives to the £7m-rated centre-back over the coming months if Balbuena does not put pen to paper on new terms, and the heightening interest in Ndiaye would suggest the soon-to-be free-agent would be a smart replacement.