West Ham United are interested in signing Atalanta’s versatile Denmark international, Joakim Maehle.
That is according a report from the Daily Star that claims the Hammers sent scouts to watch Maehle in action for Denmark alongside midfield target Christian Eriksen in their 2-1 victory over Austria.
As per the report, Maehle is a player who West Ham have been tracking for years, with the club said to have attempted to land him back when he was plying his trade in Belgium for Genk.
Previous reports have suggested he could cost in the region of €18m (£15m).
£22k-per-week Maehle, who is traditionally a right-back has demonstrated his versatility on both flanks within the last couple of seasons and has made the role of the wing-back his own.
He has arguably been at the best club for his development as a wide defender, with Roberto Martinez suggesting this: “The wing-back is a very difficult position because you need to be able to do a bit of everything. And you need to be able to cover the ground.
“But it is getting easier now. I think you can see teams that are mastering that system like Atalanta, who are probably the best example.”
Maehle has developed into a reliable asset who is capable in a back-three or back-four.
His Champions League experience also represents a big boost for Moyes, who needs a limitless and versatile asset like Maehle at the back. Though, as mentioned, his ability to play further up the pitch in a three-at-the-back system could also see him function as a defensive winger in Moyes’ 4-2-3-1 system.
His average of 2.24 shot-creating actions as a defender are evidence of his creative acumen, whilst his average of 3.62 pressures in the attacking third place him in the elite category (as per FBref) and demonstrates his ability to defend from advanced positions.
With that in mind, it’s hardly a surprise that FB Ref has compared him to some of the best full-backs around such as Barcelona’s Jordi Alba, AC Milan’s Theo Hernandez and Borussia Dortmund’s Raphael Guerreiro.
He could be somewhat of a gem for Moyes and would suit his system perfectly.