West Ham United are reportedly edging ever closer to confirmation of the signing of Rennes defender Nayef Aguerd, in what would be their first arrival of the summer window.
According to 90min’s Toby Cudworth, the Morocco international is now all but set to make the move to the London Stadium, with the journalist writing on Twitter about the current situation that: “You never know with #WHUFC…but Nayef Aguerd deal close to completion. Should be the first major signing of what David Moyes hopes will be a busy transfer window.”
As per the attached article, the Hammers are now ‘putting the finishing touches’ on the deal to bring the 26-year-old to the Premier League, with the centre-back having been a ‘long-term target’ for David Moyes and co.
After weeks of speculation, it would appear that the east London outfit have finally got their man, with manager Moyes no doubt delighted to have got up and running in what could prove to be a vital window for the club.
While there remains a number of areas in need of bolstering – particularly central midfield – securing the signing of a new central defender will seemingly solve one problem position, with the defensive ranks having been severely stretched last term.
The long-term absence of veteran Italian Angelo Ogbonna through injury left the former Everton boss with little depth at the heart of the defence, essentially relying on Craig Dawson and Kurt Zouma to perform both domestically and in Europe.
With Issa Diop also falling out of favour under the Scot – having made just ten league starts last term – there were few chances for the Hammers boss to rotate his side, with injuries and suspension at times forcing full-back Aaron Cresswell to feature in a centre-back role.
The addition of Aguerd then will go some way to easing the burden on both Dawson and Zouma, with the former Dijon man likely to provide quality competition to that pair, having shone in Ligue 1 in recent seasons.
The 2021/22 campaign proved particularly impressive for the £10.8m-rated gem as he managed ten clean sheets in his 31 league outings, averaging four clearances, 0.9 tackles and 0.8 interceptions per game, while also winning a solid 62% of his total duels.
Not just a reliable rock at the back, the £8.9k-per-week colossus – who joined his current side for as little as €4m (£3.4m) two years ago – is also comfortable playing out from the back, ranking in the top 16% for pass completion and the top 10% for attempted passes among those in his position across Europe’s big five leagues.
That all-round quality will seemingly be well suited to the rigours of life in English football, with Moyes undoubtedly delighted to have managed to snap him up so early in the window.