West Ham United are interested in a deal to bring Hans Vanaken to the London Stadium this summer.
That’s according to Dharmesh Sheth, with the Sky Sports reporter revealing in a recent post on Twitter that, having been linked with the Club Brugge KV attacking midfielder previously, the Hammers are once again keen on a deal to bring the 29-year-old to east London in the current transfer window.
In his post, Sheth said: “West Ham United interested in signing Club Brugge attacking midfielder Hans Vanaken. Vanaken is a Belgium international – 5 goals from 21 caps. West Ham are long-term admirers – tried to sign him before.”
A report by Flemish outlet Nieuwsblad took this claim one step further, suggesting that David Moyes’ side have seen a €10m (£8.5m) bid for the Belgium international rejected by the Jupiler Pro League club – who are said to have informed the Premier League outfit that Vanaken’s sale is out of the question ahead of September’s transfer deadline.
However, on Tuesday morning, Nieuwsblad reported that the 21-cap international has now informed Brugge that he would like to secure a switch to the Europa League semi-finalists this summer, as he views the Irons’ interest as his final chance to move to a big European club – with it also being said that West Ham are now preparing a second offer for the playmaker.
Considering just how impressive Vanaken has been for Club Brugge ever since his 2015 move from KSC Lokeren, in addition to attacking midfield being an area of the pitch in which West Ham are lacking any real depth, it is not difficult to see why Moyes would be keen on a deal to bring the 29-year-old to the London Stadium in the coming weeks.
Indeed, over his 343 appearances for the reigning Jupiler Pro League champions, the £14.4m-rated talent has been a continuous attacking threat, scoring 102 goals and registering 73 assists for the club – averaging a direct goal involvement every 163 minutes of football played for Brugge.
The £48k-per-week forward was in particularly fine form over his 39 league fixtures in 2021/22, scoring 11 goals, providing nine assists and creating ten big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 1.8 shots, making 1.6 key passes and completing 3.9 long balls per game.
These returns saw the 29-year-old who Onur Kaya dubbed “extraordinary” average a quite remarkable SofaScore match rating of 7.31, ranking him as the ninth-best player in the entity of the Belgium top flight last time out.
It was a similar story over the attacking midfielder’s six Champions League appearances last season, with Vanaken scoring three goals, creating two big chances and averaging a sensational SofaScore match rating of 7.23 – an unbelievable achievement considering Brugge were up against Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig in Group A.
As such, with Vanaken quite clearly being an excellent goalscorer, an exceptional creator and a remarkable passer of the ball, in addition to Jelle Vossen claiming that the Brugge star “sees everything on the pitch and is always available,” there is an argument to be made that the 29-year-old could well be West Ham’s own Kevin De Bruyne – should a deal go through.
Indeed, all of the above could easily be said of the Manchester City playmaker and fellow Belgian who has scored 87 goals and provided 123 assists over 310 appearances for Pep Guardiola’s side. While it remains to be seen whether or not Vanaken will be able to perform at a similar level in the top flight of English football, the Brugge star very much appears to be an exceptional talent.