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West Ham: Conor Clancy gives verdict on Arthur Theate

Italian football expert Conor Clancy has been discussing reported West Ham United transfer target Arthur Theate.

What’s been said?

In a recent interview with Football FanCast, Clancy went into detail about the Bologna defender and his “old school” style of play, amid reports that the Hammers have been offered the chance to sign the promising 21-year-old this summer as David Moyes plots a new centre-back signing.

Asked just what type of player the young centre-back is, the journalist said: “He’s almost like a throwback in how he approaches defending. He’s a little bit in your face, he can be a bit aggressive – if he bit someone I wouldn’t be surprised. He’s just an ugly defender, you’d hate to play against him because he could give you a smack.

“But when he has the ball as well he can play. He’s a modern defender crossed with an old school defender in that way – I quite like him.”

Koulibaly 2.0

The old-fashioned, no-nonsense defender has almost become a dying breed in the modern game, although that assessment of the young Belgian would suggest that he is very much a traditional defender first and foremost, with the £2.5k-per-week gem likely to thrive under Moyes’ tutelage.

Despite his youth, the Liege-born starlet has already been called up for senior international duty, making his two Belgium appearances to date against Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

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At club level, Theate has shone as part of a youthful and exciting Bologna side, averaging 1.4 interceptions, 1.1 tackles and two clearances per game in Serie A in the 2021/22 campaign, having only joined the club from Oostende last summer on a season-long loan deal.

Having included an obligation to buy in that move, however, it will be the Italian club with whom the Hammers will be dealing in the upcoming window, should they wish to pursue a transfer for the Belgian.

Does Theate sound like a good fit for West Ham?



No, Moyes should look elsewhere

No, Moyes should look elsewhere

There is seemingly little reason why they wouldn’t want to do so, with the youngster able to combine that hard-nosed defensive approach with quality in possession, as Clancy referenced. He ranks in the top 6% for dribbles completed among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, in the top 11% for progressive passes received and in the top 15% for progressive carries.

That ability to play the ball out of the back but also relish his defensive duties has seen him noted by FBRef as a similar player to Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly in terms of his style of play and statistics.

The Senegal international had reportedly been a player on whom Moyes and co were keen just over two years ago, with suggestions that the east Londoners were plotting a £70m bid in January 2020.

Although it is unclear just how much it would take to prise Theate from Bologna, his £9m market value (as per Transfermarkt) would seemingly indicate that he will be a far cheaper option than Koulibaly, with his age also offering him the chance to be a long-term solution at the London Stadium.

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Article title: West Ham: Conor Clancy gives verdict on Arthur Theate

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