West Ham United’s centre-back hunt has returned to a familiar name this week…
According to Get French Football News, the Irons are set to restart talks to sign Marseille colossus Duje Caleta-Car before the transfer deadline on August 31st.
It comes after David Moyes and co were dealt a devastating blow in their attempts to secure Kurt Zouma from Chelsea, with the Frenchman said to have rejected a switch to the London Stadium.
The Hammers have long been linked with the 16-cap Croatian international and back in October, the Guardian claimed that he had turned down the chance to sign for West Ham as they couldn’t offer him European football.
Obviously, that has now changed.
If Moyes has been tracking Caleta-Car for that long, then it’s time for GSB to press ahead and sanction the transfer. Whilst it remains to be seen exactly how much he’d cost, ExWHUemployee believes he’d be available for just £15m.
That could be a bargain considering CIES Football Observatory currently value him at €20m (£18m).
Described as “very physical” and “really big” by GFFN’s Adam White, the 6 foot 4 centre-back would give the Scot a massive presence in the heart of midfield, especially alongside another imposing beast like Angelo Ogbonna.
The 24-year-old started 32 matches for Marseille in Ligue 1 last season, where he won an average of 2.5 aerial duels per game, reinforcing just how commanding he can be. He also managed 1.3 interceptions, 3.9 clearances and an impressive passing accuracy of just over 86%, via WhoScored.
It’s clear that Caleta-Car isn’t just a physical specimen but one that is rather intelligent and one that is capable of playing with the ball at his feet. He may also lack pace but he evidently makes up for it, having averaged more interceptions than Ogbonna (1.1), Issa Diop (1.2) and Aaron Cresswell (0.9).
The Croatian livewire also has a ruthless streak in him, having picked up 47 yellow cards and four red cards across 221 appearances for both the Ligue 1 outfit and his former club RB Salzburg.
Caleta-Car has even been tipped to become a success in England one day by his international teammate, ex-Liverpool star Dejan Lovren.
“In my opinion, Duje could easily play in England. He is physically very strong, stronger than other players. He will explode in a few years and become even stronger,” he claimed to La Provence.
After the blow to Zouma, GSB could do little wrong in sanctioning a move for the 24-year-old defender. He’d be a steal at that price.