David Sullivan can seek revenge on Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United for their involvement in the European Super League (ESL) with a move for West Ham to sign Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri this summer.
According to La Razon, the Hammers are in pole position to secure En-Nesyri’s signature at the end of the season. West Ham have remained interested in a deal for the 23-year-old Moroccan after seeing a bid of €25m (£22.5m) (plus €5m (£4.5m) in add-ons) rejected in January.
Sevilla are loath to part with their 22-goal striker, but efforts to tie down En-Nesyri to a new contract carrying a release clause worth in excess of €60m (£52m) have so far proven unsuccessful.
Los Nervionenses will be forced to listen to offers for En-Nesyri should the 35-cap forward continue rejecting new terms, as the La Liga outfit are obliged to make one high-ticket sale in the next transfer window.
That will no doubt be considered a boost at the London Stadium, where club figures are said to be willing to lodge an improved offer worth around €46m (£39.5m) after being encouraged by the Irons’ challenge for European qualification under David Moyes.
If En-Nesyri is the one who departs the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, it will allow Sevilla to retain Chelsea target Jules Kounde, who has also been linked with a potential move to Liverpool, while Manchester United are reluctant to trigger his £68m release clause.
Sevilla also have a possible replacement for En-Nesyri lined up in Rafa Mir, with it expected that the 23-year-old will return to Wolverhampton Wanderers despite Huesca having a €12m (£10.5m) option to buy the on-loan striker, who has scored 15 goals in 31 games.
It remains to be seen how much Sullivan and the West Ham hierarchy are willing to pay for En-Nesyri, but the Sevilla striker is clearly well-regarded at the London Stadium, where he was the club’s top transfer target in January.
Moyes’ need for offensive cover is yet to be resolved, either, having opted against signing a striker to replace Sebastien Haller during the winter market, leaving Michail Antonio as his only recognised senior option at centre-forward.
Since then, En-Nesyri has continued to get amongst the goals with three in his last six La Liga appearances, while hitting a brace away to Borussia Dortmund in a 5-4 aggregate defeat in the Champions League round of 16.
His continued rich vein of form in Spain has seen La Liga expert Terry Gibson claim that En-Nesyri is worth at least £50m, adding that he is no longer a “world-beater” in the making but the real thing.
“For a striker of his age, with the goals he’s scoring this season, he’s got to be £50m-plus now,” Gibson said on El Tel & Jon’s La Liga Weekly podcast.
He added: “My opinion, until this season, has been that one minute he looks like a world-beater, the next he looks like a novice; gangly, trips over the ball.
“But, when you look at his attributes, he’s as good in the air as anyone now. Not only is he tall, he’s got that athletic ability to leap as well. He seems to really enjoy aerial challenges.
“He’s quick, he’s strong, great attitude, his finishing has improved, his first touch has improved, his movement has improved – all those things you expect players to improve on, he is doing.”
West Ham now paying whatever Sevilla demand in order to sell En-Nesyri in the summer can also see Sullivan seek revenge on some of the Premier League’s big hitters after the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United signed up for the proposed European Super League.
Not only could En-Nesyri arriving in east London potentially prevent the trio from signing Kounde, but Liverpool and Manchester United have also asked to be kept informed of the Moroccan centre-forward’s situation in view of a potential approach.
West Ham have come out and stated that they are ‘wholeheartedly against’ the idea of the ESL, and can seemingly deal a blow to three of the six English clubs behind those plans in one fell swoop.