West Ham have been credited with an interest in Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli recently and the Italian could be a big upgrade on Tomas Soucek in David Moyes’ side.
Recent reports from Italy claim that the Hammers, alongside Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, are interested in bringing the Italy international to the Premier League, with the 24-year-old likely to cost around €40m (£34.8m).
Locatelli is currently in his second year of a two-year loan spell with the Old Lady, who are obligated to buy him for €35m (£30.6m).
However, it seems as if Massimo Allegri could be set to make a quick profit on the former Sassuolo man and the Hammers could be the ones to benefit, especially if he can rediscover the form that made him so talked about at Euro 2020.
The midfielder scored twice in five games as the Italians won the entire competition, having enjoyed a strong season with Sassuolo ahead of the tournament – averaging an impressive 7.08 rating from WhoScored for his performances in Serie A after contributing four goals and two assists in 34 appearances.
Despite less impressive form with Juventus, which has seen him average a 6.82 rating from his eight appearances in the Italian top flight so far this season, he continues to impress for his national side, so could definitely be an eye-catching addition to Moyes’ midfield.
BBC Sport contributor Raj Chohan was full of praise for Locatelli’s performances in the Nations League last year, saying:
“Italy played Locatelli at the base instead of Jorginho vs Belgium in the Nations League third-place playoff and looked unreal. He’s got way more line-breaking passes in his locker.”
While Locatelli might not possess as much of a goal threat as Soucek, he looks to be much more assured in possession, which is reinforced by his passing stats with Juventus this season.
The Italian averages 41.3 passes per game with a pass success rate of 82.4%, including 0.6 key passes per game.
Soucek, meanwhile, has averaged just 35.5 passes in the Premier League in comparison, with an inferior success rate of 77.2% and 0.5 key passes per game.
While Soucek was once a fan favourite because of his goals from midfield, he is occupying a deeper position this season and is being found out for his ability on the ball.
Thus, Locatelli could be a much better midfield partner for Declan Rice if Moyes can bring the Italian to the London Stadium in January.