An update has emerged regarding West Ham’s interest in Hellas Verona midfielder Antonin Barak.
According to a report from Corriere di Verona (print edition, June 2nd, page 14), as transcribed by Hammers News, West Ham manager David Moyes is weighing up a potential swoop for the 26-year-old this summer, who has been reportedly valued by his club at around £17m (€20m).
The report claims that the London club have been keeping tabs on the Czech Republic international and are continuing to track him, with a quarter-final clash against Denmark in the European Championship to come for him this evening.
Imagine a midfield including Barak and Soucek in the Premier League for the Hammers. The pair already play together at national team level, along with Vladimir Coufal, and could strike up an instant connection at the London Stadium. As they have already played alongside each other in midfield, Moyes would know that they can already work together as a unit.
This could duly limit any period of adaptation needed in terms of what Barak can expect from his team-mates, so Soucek and Barak could be linking up in West Ham’s midfield in the Premier League next season. Irons fans could enjoy watching their connection on the pitch, assuming the 26-year-old is able to hit the ground running in England.
Moyes typically deployed a midfield three last season, with Declan Rice and Soucek holding and Jesse Lingard operating further up the pitch ahead of them. Barak has been utilised as a central midfielder and an attacking midfielder for club and country, which means that he could be used in a variety of roles. Moyes could either drop him back into a traditional 4-3-3 with all three midfielders in close proximity, or he could play him in Lingard’s role as the advanced playmaker to supplement the attack.
Manuel Lanzini was the Hammers’ backup option in that role last season, but the Argentine failed to make the most of his opportunities and was largely restricted to a place on the bench. He started five Premier League matches, with a further 12 appearances off the bench, and averaged a modest WhoScored rating of 6.41 as he registered one goal and one assist.
Meanwhile, £17m-valued maestro Barak enjoyed an impressive season with Verona in Serie A. He scored seven goals and set up another three in 32 starts, averaging an eye-catching WhoScored rating of 6.86 in 26 starts as an attacking midfielder. This suggests that he could be the upgrade Moyes needs in that area of the pitch, which is why West Ham should be looking to seal a deal for the midfielder in the coming weeks, especially as he would already be familiar with Soucek’s game.