West Ham United could be about to enter a bidding war for one of their mooted summer targets…
According to reports in Italy (via Football Italia), the Irons are set to battle Premier League rivals Leeds United for the signature of Cagliari midfielder Nahitan Nandez this off-season.
The 25-year-old powerhouse is a key target for Marcelo Bielsa after missing out on Udinese’s Rodrigo De Paul, who is set to join Atletico Madrid in a €35m (£30m) deal.
It’s claimed that the Yorkshiremen could offer the Serie A outfit in the region of €36m (£31m) but Sportitalia transfer expert Alfredo Pedulla suggests the Hammers are prepared to beat that with a bid of over €40m (£35m).
If there’s genuine interest in 37-cap Uruguay international, then David Moyes is surely at the front of the queue as he’ll be able to offer the midfielder European football, having qualified for the Europa League with their sixth-place finish last term.
The prospects of remaining competitive across a 50-plus game season are currently quite low, given the lack of solid squad depth options at the Scotsman’s disposal.
Of course, much of the priority this summer will be bringing Jesse Lingard back permanently, as well as finding that elusive new striker but West Ham shouldn’t turn their nose up to strengthening the engine room.
They’re only one injury to Declan Rice or Tomas Soucek away from having to rely on retiring skipper Mark Noble and if two of the three are out, then Moyes is left in a sticky predicament.
Nandez would be a quality addition.
The diminutive £14m-rated dynamo may only be 5 foot 7 but he offers an industrious presence in midfield and is by no means an easy man to beat. As per SofaScore, he averaged 1.8 tackles and won an impressive 6.1 duels per game during the 2020/21 season.
He also managed to provide two goals and three assists, as per Transfermarkt.
You could argue that Nandez is in the mould of a N’Golo Kante, which is the sort of presence that is lacking in the Hammers’ current midfield, considering Rice and Soucek are much more physically imposing at over six foot.
Nandez ranked inside the top-20 Serie A players for distance covered last season, averaging 10.95km per game, which is even more comparable to Chelsea’s energiser bunny.
The tough-tackling midfielder has been described as a “machine” by Forza Italian Football editor-in-chief Conor Clancy during an exclusive interview with This is Futbol. He added: “He’s so powerful but at the same time, has really, really good ball control.”
All in all and on the above evidence, Nandez would be a mighty fine addition to the Irons’ playing squad ahead of next season. Given the interest from their top-flight rivals, GSB must look to seal this move as soon as possible.
AND in other news, ExWHUemployee drops encouraging transfer update amid growing concerns…