Speaking on the West Ham Way podcast, the club insider has revealed that the deal to bring the centre-back to the London Stadium is nearing completion, with the Morocco international believed to have gone as far as to pose for photos with a Hammers shirt.
While the transfer guru stated that the deal is not yet totally done, he believes that the 26-year-old is all but certain to be at the club next season (quotes via West Ham Zone): “I’ve spoken to a couple of people in the club who have all confirmed it [Aguerd signing].
“There were even photos taken of him with the shirt, so unless things have dramatically changed and this doesn’t happen, because I don’t believe it’s a done deal, but I would be surprised if he doesn’t sign. It may be even announced on the day that the kits are launched, whenever that is.”
This follows a report last week that outlined that the east Londoners were ‘holding talks’ regarding a permanent switch, while the Telegraph’s latest update suggested that the club are ‘increasingly confident’ of securing the £13m move.
That news will no doubt be music to the ears of Irons’ supporters, with David Moyes’ side having been in desperate need of new additions to help bolster the backline, with injuries hampering their progress in 2022 as the Scotsman was at times forced to name a makeshift backline.
That included having to start full-back, Aaron Cresswell, in the heart of the defence on occasion, while throughout the campaign the club had been far too reliant on the defensive pair of Craig Dawson and Kurt Zouma, following Angelo Ogbonna’s lengthy stint out with a serious knee injury.
With Frenchman Issa Diop also heavily linked with an exit after falling out of favour in recent seasons, the need for new recruits has heightened even further, with the aforementioned Aguerd set to provide real quality and at a relative bargain price to boot.
The most recent campaign saw the £10.8m-rated gem help the Ligue outfit to a fourth-place finish, having averaged four clearances, 0.9 tackles and 0.8 interceptions per game in his 31 league starts, keeping an impressive 13 clean sheets in that time and winning 62% of his total duels.
Not just a sound defensive presence, the £8.9k-per-week ace also has the quality in possession to make him a real force to be reckoned with in the Premier League, ranking in the top 10% for attempted passes and in the top 16% for pass completion among those in his position across Europe’s five big leagues.
Such impressive form has seen him compared to Liverpool’s influential rock, Virgil van Dijk, with the pair sharing a number of statistical and stylistic similarities, as per FBref.
That comparison alone will no doubt have caught the attention of Hammers’ supporters, although the former Dijon man has also been the subject of praise for his displays in France, having been dubbed a “cerebral person” by ex-Rennes boss Julien Stephen for his footballing intelligence.
The longer-term concern will be whether he can translate that form to the English top-flight, although at present the West Ham faithful simply have good reason to be getting excited.