West Ham United appear to be already planning ahead for the January transfer window…
According to Football Insider, the Irons are working on a deal to sign Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie as a potential replacement for Declan Rice after he rejected multiple contract offers.
It’s thought that talks between the two parties have already taken place and one Hammers source believes the 23-year-old is a ‘leading target’ for David Moyes this winter.
The same outlet revealed earlier this week that West Ham were prepared to sell Rice for around £90m.
Finding a viable replacement for Rice will be an arduous and tricky task, whenever that may be, and even if he does not depart the London Stadium, Moyes and co must still consider a move for McKennie.
He’s arguably one of the best young midfield talents across Europe, despite yet making an impact in Turin.
McKennie’s ability to play in pretty much any role in the engine room makes him an intriguing candidate for the Irons as he can not only succeed Rice but could provide the perfect foil to a Tomas Soucek or even in their bid to find Mark Noble’s long-term heir.
“He’s an outstanding talent,” claimed former Schalke boss David Wagner. “In the No.6 or No.8 position he has the mentality, a real working mentality that you need. And he’s brave on the ball as well. He can be one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga.”
Indeed, the Amercian certainly has the attributes to play these roles, having averaged 1.8 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, 1.5 dribbles, 1.3 shots and one key pass every 90 minutes since the start of the 2016/17 season, via WhoScored.
On that evidence, he not only contributes in a defensive manner but he can also get up the pitch to have an impact in the final third too, very much like Soucek last term and Rice this season.
Whether he’s the perfect replacement for the coveted England international or merely just another midfield option to have at his disposal, Moyes could really take the Hammers to the next level with a January swoop for McKennie.