West Ham United could be eyeing up a cheap Jesse Lingard alternative amid emerging reports…
According to Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, the Irons are set to battle it out for Sassuolo attacking midfielder Filip Djuricic, with Premier League rivals Southampton also keen on signing him.
The 29-year-old has just one year to run on his current deal, so he could be available for a relatively low fee this summer transfer window. CIES Football Observatory values him at only €10m (£9m).
It’s widely thought that the permanent signing of Lingard is amongst David Moyes’ top priorities this summer, with him having enjoyed a phenomenal half-season at the London Stadium.
The Manchester United loanee bagged nine goals and provided four assists on the Hammers’ way to qualifying for a place in the Europa League. He ended the campaign as their second-highest rated player (7.22) behind Tomas Soucek (7.36), as per WhoScored.
That’s how crucial he was to their fortunes, so it’s no wonder the 58-year-old Scot wants him back.
“I hope Jesse’s here [next season], we’d like to keep him, he’s done an exceptional job for us but there’s no guarantees, he’s not our player,” claimed Moyes after the final game of the season. “I hope Jesse realises we’ve been good for him as well, and that he joined a club on the up.”
Therefore, it does seem perplexing that the East Londoners would consider a move for former Premier League flop, Djuricic. Could the club’s hierarchy be eyeing up a cheaper deal to save on finances? It’s possible.
The former Saints loanee would certainly be a cheaper target than Lingard, who could command in excess of £30m after a phenomenal loan spell in the capital.
Djuricic delivered nine direct goal contributions for the Serie A outfit this campaign, where he recorded a total of 55 key passes. A total only bettered by Aaron Cresswell (58) in this current West Ham squad.
But his time on the south coast was largely forgettable, having made just nine appearances despite then-manager Ronald Koeman’s glowing endorsement.
“[He] is technical, fast. He can play in different positions in midfield. He can play on the left side, on the right side,” the Dutchman said.
Considering he’s now 29 and has suffered many underwhelming spells at teams like Benfica, Mainz, Sampdoria and Anderlecht, a move for the Serbian international just fails to make much sense whatsoever.
David Sullivan and co should be throwing money to bring Lingard back to the London Stadium, not eyeing a move for a player that has failed in the big time plenty of times before.
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