West Ham United remain keen on signing Duje Caleta-Car ahead of the summer transfer window…
That’s according to The Athletic‘s Roshane Thomas, who claims that the Irons could reignite their interest in the Marseille centre-back now that they have qualified for Europe.
Last summer, the east London outfit failed with several bids to secure the Croatian international as he wanted to stay and play in the Champions League, as per The Guardian.
It is now expected that the 24-year-old will leave the Ligue 1 side for around £17m.
As West Ham head into the Europa League next season, David Moyes will need plenty of options available at his disposal, as two games per week will quickly become the norm.
Right now, he simply does not have the squad depth – or the experience in the competition – to properly contend, and they must not become another one-season wonder which drops off after a brief peak. Think of Wolves and Burnley in recent years.
Caleta-Car would certainly be a statement of intent as he would bolster the Hammers’ backline, which is currently expected to lose at least one member, with Fabian Balbuena out of contract whilst Issa Diop has a question mark over his head having slipped out of favour.
At 1.92m (6 foot 4), the £22.5m-rated Croatia colossus is an absolute unit and would provide Moyes with another physically imposing presence in the box. He won an average of 2.5 aerial duels per game in Ligue 1 during the 2020/21 season and even chipped in with two goals, via WhoScored.
His ability doesn’t stop there, either, as he’s also very solid with the ball at his feet, having managed a success rate of 86.1% from nearly 58 passes per game. This ability to play out from the back to good effect should please Moyes and his system, especially as this represents an upgrade on his current options.
Angelo Ogbonna only averaged 36.4 passes per game at a success rate of 81.3%, while Craig Dawson comes out even worse having succeeded with just 79.7% of his 34.7 passes per match, as per WhoScored.
It’s no wonder that Champions League winner Dejan Lovren has waxed lyrical about his fellow countryman, claiming to La Provence: “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.”
All in all, this seems like an absolute no-brainer for West Ham, even more so at just £17m, and they can more easily attract his services as they are going to be in Europe next season.
Just imagine him alongside Ogbonna next season – GSB must look to get this deal done.