Monday, September 26, 2022

West Ham United Closing In On This Chilean International: How He Can Fit Into Pellegrini’s Plans?

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Anas Molla
An ageing teenager who apparently still likes Twenty One Pilots and HIMYM. Also fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythology and history. Still waiting for my man Milos Raonic to win a Grand Slam.

According to Fanatik, West Ham United are still interested in securing the services of Gary Medel this summer. The Hammers are reportedly inching closer to agreeing on a deal for the arrival of the Besiktas midfielder, who has been a subject of West Ham interest for over two years now. 

Medel’s success at Besiktas

Medel initially joined Besiktas in the summer of 2017, in a €2.5 million move from Besiktas. And the Chilean has since become a prominent part of the club’s starting lineup, having already notched up 75 competitive appearances for the Black Eagles.

The rich experience of Medel and club captain Atiba Hutchinson have helped Besiktas maintain their status as one of Turkey’s biggest clubs. They notably finished third in the Superlig last season, as Medel made 24 league appearances. 

That being said, the ex-Sevilla midfielder’s current contract at Istanbul expires at the end of next season. And with West Ham seemingly keen on his services, a return to Premier League could be on the horizon.

What can he bring to the table?

Medel is regarded as one of the most robust midfielders in Europe. Indeed, the Chilean international is capable of disrupting the flow of the opposition midfielders with his strong tackles. His physically imposing figure also helps him put pressure on the ball-carriers – a trait that could make West Ham much more vigilant in the middle third of the pitch.

Medel attempted almost four tackles per game last season with a success rate of 57%, which is acceptable given the volume of his tackles. The 31-year-old is a decent passer as well. But, a pass completion rate of 88% last season probably doesn’t tell the whole story as his passing game is mostly restricted to short, vertical passes or back passes that do not have any significance in terms of build-up play.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

Is Medel a viable option for West Ham?

Medel is a well-travelled footballer, who has played in four of Europe’s top eight leagues. His vast experience in top-flight European football could be valuable for West Ham United. This is especially true considering the Chilean has already played in the Premier League before with Cardiff City. Speaking of the Premier League, Medel’s robust style of play will make him an ideal fit for the physically demanding nature of English football.

From West Ham’s perspective, he could be an excellent backup for Declan Rice. Besides, his versatility in midfield will allow Manuel Pellegrini to rotate his squad with more freedom. Hence, Medel is indeed a viable option for the Hammers.

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