David Moyes could avoid a severe Declan Rice headache at West Ham United next season by signing Manchester City midfielder Yangel Herrera.
According to reports from Spain, the Irons have stolen a march in the race to sign Herrera as Granada will not be able to afford the purchase clause in their loan agreement.
The continuing effects of the pandemic on the Nazaries’ finances mean they are likely unable to trigger the €20m (£17.5m) agreement at the end of the season.
Granada intend to explore an extension of Herrera’s current loan terms with Manchester City in the summer, with a feeling that his efforts could not have gone any better for the Nuevo Los Carmenes Stadium natives this season.
Manchester City had sought to include Herrera as part of their £21m deal to sign Ferran Torres from Valencia last year, but are now expected to offer the 23-year-old a chance to prove himself to Pep Guardiola in the Citizens’ pre-season schedule.
That has not stopped Premier League eyes from glaring at the Etihad in hopes of securing a deal, with West Ham, Southampton, Leeds United and Crystal Palace all credited with an interest in the Venezuelan.
The Hammers are thought to be the best-placed side to secure Herrera’s services if he leaves Manchester City, as boss Moyes is a fan of the 23-cap international and club chiefs are prepared to offer an enticing contract in efforts to land his signature.
West Ham are likely to be in the market for midfield reinforcements this summer after Mark Noble confirmed that the 2021/22 campaign would be his last at the London Stadium, along with the potential summer departure of Rice amid interest from Manchester United.
West Ham’s interest in Herrera could fast become a moot point if he returns to City and impresses Guardiola this summer, but Moyes is right to admire the midfielder’s talents and explore a deal to sign the Venezuelan should he become available.
Moyes is currently earning a taste of what life is like as Irons boss without Rice in his plans as the England international continues his recovery from a lateral knee ligament injury, having had the 22-year-old available for his previous 48-straight Premier League games.
Rice’s injury has been described as a “headache” for Moyes by Frank McAvennie, with Noble and Tomas Soucek his only natural holding options available in the engine room, and that situation would fast get out of hand if Manchester United are successful in their interest.
But Herrera would be expected to act as instant pain relief, having dazzled in La Liga – where Spanish football expert Terry Gibson believes he’s been “outstanding” and has proven to be “a really athletic, dynamic player who has a habit of getting into the box at the right times.”
That is not too dissimilar from what Soucek has developed into being for West Ham, with the Czech Republic star – who is the Irons’ joint top-scorer in the Premier League with nine goals – often ghosting in at the last moment to catch opposing defences unaware.
Herrera is also confident that he can take his form from La Liga and perform elsewhere, telling Mundo Deportivo earlier this month: “I have been in Spain for two years playing at a good level, but I am willing to face any challenge if there is an opportunity like that.”
Whether Rice stays or goes in the summer, Moyes’ lack of midfield depth should see that he urges West Ham to test Manchester City’s resolve and offer Herrera a chance to prove himself in the English top-flight.