According to Dutch Daily Telegraaf, as cited by Claret & Hugh, West Ham have made a move to sign Joel Veltman. The Dutchman is keen to leave Ajax this summer, stating, “I am open to a transfer. I am now 27, I have a one-year contract after this, and this is a good moment in itself. There is certainly some interest, but not really concrete yet.”.
Veltman’s mixed spell at Ajax
A product of the Ajax academy, Veltman has been a part of the Ajax first-team since 2012. However, it wasn’t until the 2013/14 campaign that the 27-year-old managed to make his breakthrough in professional football, making 25 league appearances.
He has since become a first-team regular for de Joden, having featured in over 210 competitive appearances for the club. However, Veltman also had to deal with his fair share of injury problems. He notably suffered a dreadful ACL injury in 2018 that kept him out for more than nine months.
The Dutchman made his return in February, but the emergence of Matthijs de Ligt and Noussair Mazraoui has mostly kept him out of the starting lineup. He made only nine league appearances for Ajax last season.
What can he bring to the table?
A right-back on paper, Veltman is a versatile defender, who can also feature at centre-back. In fact, he has spent most of his career playing in a central defensive role. But, aside from his versatility, the 27-year-old is known for his ability to play out from the back, which is coupled with his excellent positioning sense.
However, the Velsen native is not the strongest of defenders and often appears weak during defensive phases. But, what he lacks in physicality, he makes up for it with his positional awareness and excellent passing range.
Should West Ham make a move for Veltman?
With Pablo Zabaleta already in the final phase of his career, West Ham are in dire need of reinforcements in the right-back department. Veltman, in that regard, is a viable option for the Hammers. The Dutchman has the quality to improve the West Ham backline and can also provide excellent competition to Ryan Fredericks next season.
Most importantly, the 27-year-old will likely be available on a cut-price, with his current contract at Ajax expiring at the end of next season. Hence, Manuel Pellegrini should definitely look to sign this Dutch international this summer.
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