West Ham United are interested in a deal to bring Julian Weigl to the London Stadium this summer.
That’s according to a report by Portuguese publication Record (via Sport Witness), who claim that Rob Newman has made contact with Benfica regarding a potential move for the defensive midfielder, with the West Ham head of recruitment believed to have been informed that the Germany international will cost around €20m (£17m) including add-ons.
The report goes on to state that the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Monchengladbach, Hertha Berlin, AC Milan and Atalanta BC have also made an enquiry with the Liga Portugal side regarding the 26-year-old, although Weigl’s £49k-per-week wage is said to be the reason no clubs have submitted an official bid for the player as yet.
While another of West Ham’s reported defensive midfield targets, LOSC Lille talent Amadou Onana, is undoubtedly an extremely exciting prospect, considering that the Ligue 1 side are demanding a figure of around €40m (£34m) to part with the Belgium international this summer, Weigl could well be West Ham’s dream alternative to the 20-year-old.
Indeed, the £19.8m-rated German was in remarkable form over his 29 Liga Portugal appearances last time out, scoring two goals, registering three assists and creating three big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 0.7 shots, making 0.6 key passes and completing 0.7 dribbles per game.
The former Borussia Dortmund starlet who Marc Bartra claimed is “very similar to Busquets” also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 2.0 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 57.4 passes – at a success rate of 91% – 4.3 long balls and winning 4.9 duels – at a success rate of 57% – per fixture.
These returns saw the 26-year-old average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.06, ranking him as Roger Schmidt’s 14th-best performer in the top flight of Portuguese football last time out.
For comparison, while Onana is very much in the infancy of his professional career, Weigl bested the £9m-rated talent in almost every metric, with the 20-year-old scoring one goal and creating three big chances over his 32 Ligue 1 appearances in 2021/22, as well as making an average of 1.5 interceptions, 0.9 tackles and winning 3.4 duels – at a success rate of 54% – per game.
These metrics saw the £5.5k-per-week midfielder average a very admirable SofaScore match rating of 6.85, ranking him as Lille’s joint ninth-best player in the top flight of French football last season.
As such, while it would appear extremely likely that Onana will go on to enjoy a fantastic career, considering the fact that Weigl will cost half the price of the Belgian this summer, in addition to the German having played almost five times the amount of professional games as the youngster – 322 to 67 – should Newman fail in his pursuit of the 20-year-old, the Benfica centrocampista would appear to be something of a dream alternative for the Hammers.