After finishing tenth in the Premier League standings, West Ham United are aiming a place in Europe next season under Manuel Pellegrini. The Chilean is keen on adding reinforcements early in the window, and the Hammers are reportedly closing in on Villarreal sensation Pablo Fornals, according to Marca.
The 23-year-old midfield attacker is valued at around €27m and has featured regularly for the Yellow Submarine since completing a summer switch from Malaga a couple of years back. An impressive run has earned the Spaniard a couple of senior caps for his nation and the imminent transfer to East London should excite the supporters despite his underwhelming season in the La Liga.
Villarreal only managed to escape a relegation scare this term and Fornals, statistically, was far from convincing having netted 5 and assisted six times in 48 outings across all competitions. Yet the youngster is rated highly back in his homeland and Guillem Balague, the Spanish football expert, has highlighted his key attributes which should see him succeed in English football.
On Fornals (who might be confirmed as a new @WestHamUtd player soon, around £24m). Brilliant signing, 23yo. In the mould of a FCB midfielder, genius in the pass, drives the ball with quality. Big gaps in concentration without ball but can be added to his game. Winning mentality pic.twitter.com/BLLvuTWHrk
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) June 12, 2019
The Irons are exploring the market in Spain quite extensively. They have already roped in custodian Roberto from Espanyol and are also keeping close tabs on Celta Vigo duo Maxi Gomez and Stanislav Lobotka (according to the Daily Mail).
Fornals is highly regarded for his creative spark, vision, defence-splitting through balls, dribbling and the ability to create chances in the attacking third. He was instrumental in Villarreal’s fifth-placed finish in the season before this and enjoyed a productive spell in Europe with the Castellón-based outfit during the 2018-19 campaign.
West Ham have plenty of options in the middle of the park but have lacked the artistry required to grab results from close encounters. Manuel Lanzini has struggled to slot in since returning from a long-term knee injury and the gaffer, therefore, must be boosted by the inclusion of Fornals who would inject quality as well as a much-needed competition essential to close the gap with the league’s ‘Big Six’.
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