West Ham United are believed to be closing on the permanent signing of Alphonse Areola, following the goalkeeper’s successful loan stint at the club.
According to Fabrizio Romano, the Hammers are edging ever closer towards extending the Frenchman’s stay at the London Stadium, with the Premier League side set to activate the buy option included in his temporary switch from Paris Saint-Germain.
Writing on Twitter about the 29-year-old’s situation, the respected insider revealed that a deal is in the works: “West Ham are prepared to pay €9m fee for Alphonse Areola. Buy option clause is expected to be triggered as West Ham are planning with Areola as goalkeeper. New direct contact with his agents will take place this week.”
There had been suggestions that the World Cup winner – who made the move to east London on loan last summer – could prove too expensive to re-sign due to his wage demands, although it appears an agreement may well be able to reach.
It may seem bizarre that supporters would get excited over the signing of a player that made just one league appearance during the 2021/22 campaign, although it is hard to argue with his undeniable quality in between the sticks – something he more than proved in the club’s run to the Europa League semi-finals.
The one-time Fulham loanee featured in 11 of the Irons’ 12 games in the competition – only missing the group stage opener against Dinamo Zagreb – playing a crucial role in helping to continue the remarkable European adventure under David Moyes.
He conceded just eight goals in that continental voyage – a rate of just 0.7 goals per game – keeping five clean sheets and averaging an impressive 2.8 saves per 90, with only six members of the West Ham squad having enjoyed a better average match rating than his 7.08.
Such form had seemingly warranted increased involvement domestically, although that chance will likely – and deservedly – come should his permanent deal be confirmed, particularly with current number one Lukasz Fabianski having only recently turned 37, heightening the need for a longer-term replacement.
Pundit Alan Hutton has suggested that the three-cap international can battle his veteran teammate for a starting berth next term, with supporters inclined to agree, particularly if the experienced Pole endures a tricky run of form in the early stages of the campaign, or suffers injury.
Even if the former Arsenal man retains his place as the first-choice stopper, it is vital to have an able understudy such as Areola in reserve, while the 6 foot 5 colossus is also likely to enjoy another extended run out in next season’s Europa Conference League.
Whether supporters think he should start or be a strong back up, it will simply be good news all around if the deal can be struck.