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West Ham United To Rival Leicester In Pursuit Of This English Defender: Right Choice For Moyes?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, Eurosport has claimed that West Ham United are set to rival Leicester City among other top-half clubs in pursuit of Burnley defender James Tarkowski. It is understood that the English centre-back’s current contract at the Turf Moor will run out at the end of next season which explains why other clubs such as the Hammers are ‘paying close attention’ on his situation with the Clarets (via Eurosport).

Tarkowski’s Impressive Numbers At The Turf Moor This Season

Despite Burnley’s struggles in terms of getting results on the pitch, Tarkowski has caught the eye by producing a series of dominant defensive displays for the Lancashire club this season. He has participated in 12 matches for the Clarets this term, picking up one yellow card in the process across all fronts.

The Manchester-born talent has been a rock at the heart of Sean Dyche’s defence as he is averaging 2.1 tackles, 1.2 interceptions, 4.4 clearances and 0.7 shots per game in the Premier League this season. However, Tarkowski has been a bit untidy when distributing the ball as evidenced by his pass competition rate of 70.9% in the English top tier (stats via whoscored).

The 28-year-old has proven his worth as a centre-back at the highest level but can benefit from switching clubs in search of a fresh challenge in the coming seasons. Burnley does not have the squad to compete for a European place, so maybe a switch to West Ham in January could offer Tarkowski a chance to push for a top-seven finish in the Premier League next year.

West Ham United to rival Leicester in pursuit of Tarkowski who is in action in the picture
Tottenham Hotspur’s Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (L) vies with Burnley’s English defender James Tarkowski (R) during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on October 26, 2020. (Photo by MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

What Are The English Centre-Half’s Best Attributes?

Tarkowski can use his strong 1.85m frame to win his fair share of aerial duels for his side. He has got incredible strength to outmuscle the opposition and earn possession back for his teammates. The two-time England international can stand his ground well and is not shy of clearing his lines when needed. However, he can sometimes lack the pace to get back when the oppositions are looking to threaten on the counter.

Is Tarkowski A Decent Choice For The Hammers?

A centre-back of Tarkowski’s quality will be a welcome addition to David Moyes’ squad. He is good enough to fight for regular first-team football with the likes of Fabian Balbuena, Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna at the London Stadium. Tarkowski will also free up Moyes to use Aaron Cresswell as a left-back or a left-sided wing-back.

However, West Ham won’t find it easy to convince Burnley to give up their star defender as Dyche might not be too willing to sell him to one of their Premier League rivals. Either way, Tarkowski is an excellent choice for the Hammers to consider during the winter transfer window as he will bolster their squad depth in the coming seasons.

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