David Moyes must hit the reset button in his search for centre-backs after RC Strasbourg Alsace’s Mohamed Simakan put West Ham United’s interest behind him.
In an interview with French publication DNA, via quotes by Alsa’ Sports, Simakan has declared that his intentions are now to stay with Strasbourg and see how the season pans out having seen potential moves away from the Meinau Stadium fall through this summer.
The young centre-half was thought to have been one of several defenders targeted by West Ham this year, with reports claiming the Irons saw offers worth up to €20million (£18.1m) knocked back as his side believed they could demand €30m (£27.2m).
AC Milan, likewise, fell short of meeting Strasbourg’s asking price, while Premier League rivals Burnley were keen to push the capture of Simakan on manager Sean Dyche, but no deal was orchestrated amid a rift between the leadership at Turf Moor.
Simakan was said to have grown frustrated at failing to secure a move to the English top-flight this summer, as the chance to test himself in the Premier League appealed greatly to the 20-year-old. But his latest comments would suggest West Ham’s hopes of a deal are now all but over for now.
“It’s past history, we’re not going to put it back on the table,” he stated. “Today, I feel good in Strasbourg and we will see over time what will happen.”
Simakan has started all seven of Strasbourg’s Ligue 1 fixtures this term, but has struggled to help prevent the Meinau Stadium natives from succumbing to six defeats ahead of visiting Brest on Sunday.
With Simakan now happy to put West Ham’s interest behind him and focus on helping Strasbourg avoid relegation, Moyes appears to have been left in a situation where he must hit the reset button on his efforts to improve the Irons’ defence.
Burnley boss Dyche has already stated that James Tarkowski has begun to put the Hammers’ interest behind him after snubbing the London Stadium outfit’s £30m offer, telling talkSPORT: “He’s a top pro. He handled it well.
“Players here previously that have had a similar noise around them have stayed here, got their head down and worked very hard, and I think he showed that against West Brom.
“[A deal with West Ham] wasn’t close.”
West Ham were also rejected by Olympique de Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car for he wished to remain in France to compete in the Champions League, something Moyes would never have been able to offer in discussions that reports suggested included the offer of a £150,000-per-week contract.
With doubts over the long-term suitability of loan signing Craig Dawson, as well as more former targets showing they are willing to stay away from east London, Moyes will need to have developed a fresh shortlist for the upcoming winter market if he is to revive efforts to improve West Ham’s defence. Or, at least, instruct the Irons’ team of scouts to find alternative options ahead of the summer window.