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West Ham: Nicolo Zaniolo could be their next Payet

West Ham United could be set to further bolster their attacking options if reports are to be believed…

What’s the latest?

That’s according to Gianluca Di Marzio (via Sport Witness), who claim that the Hammers are in the picture for AS Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo.

The 23-year-old has just 18 months left on his current deal, yet talks have not progressed to tie the Italian down. Therefore, it seems they have reluctantly opened the door for his sale.

Jose Mourinho’s side will hope for a fee of around €40m (£35m), with the player’s agent actively seeking options for the attacker to explore in the near future. David Moyes will be keen to jump at this opportunity.

Their next Payet

Having endured a tough season thus far, the West Ham faithful deserve something exciting to look forward to for the second half of this season.

In Zaniolo, they would certainly gain that, with this dynamic attacking midfielder expected to become a true star in the future.

Should West Ham sign Zaniolo?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Should this move materialise, it boasts shades of their signing of Dimitri Payet, who went on to become a sensational talisman for the east London outfit. The Frenchman etched his name in Premier League folklore with his free-kick prowess and flair, combined with incredible efficiency back in the 2015/16 season.

He would notch nine goals and assist a further 12 in the league, with his two assists against Manchester United at the end of the season imperative in winning their final game at the Boleyn Ground.

Despite the manner in which he left, few fans at the London Stadium will forget what he did for the club during his short stay.

Now, they could secure a long-term version of the midfielder in Zaniolo, who has shown flashes of brilliance that suggest he could occupy this maverick role that has since been vacant.

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West Ham United manager David Moyes before the match

1. West Ham kicked off 2022 with an away win against Crystal Palace. Which player scored a brace?

Only last season saw him notch eight goals and nine assists in all competitions, with his five goal contributions thus far this campaign also impressive given his youth.

It was even noted by journalist Nick Mercadante that, when in form, he is “a nightmare for the Serie A” as well as “The Answer for Italy” before labelling him “an absolute monster”.

A consistent goal threat from deep, he is further likened to Payet as he ranks in the top 4% of players in his position across Europe’s top five leagues for total shots. During the aforementioned campaign, the 35-year-old himself would average 2.3 shots per game too, as well as a mammoth 4.0 key passes.

There is a long way to go before Zaniolo can hit the heights of his potential predecessor, but with time and steady growth, there is reason to believe that he could well be the ‘answer’ to conjuring up some of the magic that has been lacking since the Frenchman’s departure.