Recent reports have suggested that the Hammers – as well as both Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal – are interested in bringing in the Italy international to the Premier League, with the 24-year-old set to command a fee of around €40m (£34m).
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, journalist Pete O’Rourke has now given his thoughts regarding a potential deal for the playmaker, stating:
“It’s an ambitious target for West Ham, but midfield was a position they were looking to strengthen in during the summer transfer window and they did miss out on quite a few targets as well.
“It shows where West Ham are right now. They made some big signings in the summer. David Moyes was backed again in the transfer market by the club’s owners, with likes of Paqueta, Aguerd, Kehrer and Scamacca all coming in as big signings.”
As O’Rourke alluded to, this interest comes following what was an impressive summer of recruitment for the east Londoners, with one notable arrival having been that of Locatelli’s compatriot and former club colleague, Gianluca Scamacca.
The £35.5m addition from Sassuolo has since gone on to make an impressive start to life in his new surroundings, with the 23-year-old having scored two goals in his last three top-flight outings, as well as a further two goals in just four Europa Conference League group stage appearances to date.
With that acquisition already bearing fruit, West Ham’s head of recruitment Rob Newman could well pull off another masterclass by dipping into the Italian market once again to secure the signing of Locatelli, with further depth no doubt needed in the centre of the park in Moyes’ squad.
The Irons had come close to landing current Everton machine Amadou Onana over the summer, while Chelsea gem Conor Gallagher had also been a reported target, with arguably too great a reliance still placed on the first-choice pairing of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek.
The Allianz Stadium star would provide firm competition to that duo having impressed in recent times for both club and country, notably having featured in five of his nation’s seven games in the glorious Euro 2020 campaign, scoring twice in the group stage win over Switzerland.
At club level, the £93k-per-week sensation has netted three times and laid on five assists in 54 games during his loan spell thus far, while starting eight of his side’s ten league outings so far this season.
The £31.5m-rated ace would provide real quality in possession to the Hammers from his defensive midfield berth, as he notably averages 5.55 progressive passes per game in comparison to those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, with the aforementioned duo of Rice and Soucek averaging just 4.25 and 2.84, respectively, for the same metric.
An undoubtedly classy addition, the “unreal” talent – as dubbed by journalist Raj Chohan – could well prove to be yet another Scamacca-esque coup should Newman manage to strike a deal.