West Ham are reportedly interested in signing Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli in January and the Italian could be David Moyes’ next Declan Rice at the London Stadium.
The report suggests that any move for the midfielder is likely to cost around €40m (£35m), with an exit seemingly on the cards despite his impressive form for Max Allegri’s side so far this campaign.
The 24-year-old maestro has made 11 appearances in Serie A this season and averaged a very strong 6.96 rating from WhoScored for his performances, which ranks him as the sixth-best performer in the Old Lady’s squad.
If he were to produce the same level of performance in West Ham’s squad, then he would be ranked as their joint-best player alongside Rice from the current campaign, which emphasises the quality that he could add to Moyes’ side.
The former Sassuolo man has also been a key man for Italy in recent years, starring in their European Championships win in 2021 and in their Nations League campaign last year, with the midfielder scoring twice in the former. That has led him to earn a lot of praise from BBC contributor Raj Chohan.
He said: “Italy played Locatelli at the base instead of Jorginho vs Belgium in the Nations League third-place playoff and looked unreal. He’s got way more line-breaking passes in his locker.”
According to FBRef, the most similar player from Europe’s top leagues to Locatelli in terms of style of play is coincidentally West Ham’s own club captain.
The two midfielders have averaged extremely similar numbers in regard to shots on target per 90 (0.30 vs 0.27), short pass completion (89.9% vs 90%) and goal-creating actions per 90 (both 0.20).
Crucially, they also win back possession at a similar rate, with that being a trait synonymous with Rice. Locatelli has won 1.02 tackles per 90 minutes compared to the Hammers talisman’s 1.07.
The former has already established himself as one of the best young midfielders in the Premier League, so adding another player of that ilk in Locatelli would surely be a good move by West Ham. GSB should definitely look to bring the Italian in after the World Cup.