According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, West Ham have made an approach to sign Mykola Matvienko in this summer transfer window.
The Shakhtar Donetsk defender was the subject of major interest from West Ham’s London rivals Arsenal back in January, with the Ukraine international’s agent even insisting that negotiations with the Gunners were already taking place.
However, that move failed to materialise, with Mikel Arteta’s side bringing in Pablo Mari from Flamengo. Now, speaking on The Ornstein and Chapman podcast, Ornstein has claimed West Ham have entered the running to sign Matvienko, and that a bid has already been made for the 24-year-old.
West Ham fans will know all about having one of European football’s premiere ball-playing centre-backs in their ranks, with Rio Ferdinand having come through the Hammers’ academy system.
Whilst Matvienko hasn’t reached the heights of the former Manchester United star just yet, his performances in the Champions League in particular have shown that he has got all the attributes and potential to make it very far in the game.
Despite seeing Shakhtar get knocked out early on in the Champions League last season, there was no question Matviyenko was one of the stand-out players for them. He averaged a very impressive 2.5 interceptions per game, which was only bettered by ten other players in the group stages.
Added to his fine reading of the game, the 24-year-old averaged 54.7 passes per match, boasting an accuracy of 88.7%. Matvienko proved that he hasn’t just been performing to a high level in Ukrainian football, but showing he can handle himself against some of the best strikers in Europe.
In fact, in Shakhtar’s excellent 1-1 draw away at Manchester City, the 6 foot lynch-pin essentially silenced Pep Guardiola’s side with a display of incredible composure. He made a quite remarkable six interceptions and seven clearances, whilst also creating one official big chance too. Matvienko led from the back, and made relatively light work of the likes of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne.
West Ham are on the right track by targeting the centre-back.