Monday, October 3, 2022

West Ham United To Rival Crystal Palace For Serie A Defender: What Will He Bring To East London?

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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.

Area Napoli has recently reported that West Ham United will have to rival Crystal Palace for Napoli defender Nikola Maksimovic. It is understood that the Hammers are hoping to offer him a contract when his current deal at Naples expires at the end of this season (via Area Napoli).

Maksimovic’s Season Of Mixed Emotions In Italian Football

Maksimovic is having an up and down season at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium but deserves some credit for serving as a decent player in Gennaro Gattuso’s squad. The Serbian defensive ace has been involved in 27 matches for the Naples outfit this term across all competitions.

The 29-year-old has done well to average 1.1 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 2.6 clearances per game in Serie A this season. He has also been an excellent ball distributor after making 92.2% of his attempted passes in the Italian top-flight (stats via whoscored).

If Maksimovic can end this season strong, the Hammers would be wise to orchestrate a move to lure him to the English capital this summer when he will be available as a free agent. He has the potential to be a good, low-risk, short-term addition to the West Ham squad ahead of the new campaign.

West Ham United to rival Crystal Palace for Maksimovic who is seen in the picture
Nikola Maksimovic of SSC Napoli during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and F.C. Crotone at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona Naples Italy on 03 April 2021. Naples Stadio Diego Armando Maradona Naples Italy Copyright: xFrancoxRomanox SP24-1-011

What Will The Serbia International Bring To The London Stadium?

Maksimovic is always willing to make some crunching tackles to make life difficult for the opposition. He is proficient at disrupting the opponent’s rhythm in the game and can use his towering 1.93m presence to command his penalty box with authority and conviction.

The 25-time Serbia international is also quick to react to the danger and is not shy of stepping up and making a clearance when required. However, he has sometimes struggled to earn regular minutes at Napoli, so there are some question marks over whether he is consistent enough to earn regular first-team football at the London Stadium next season if David Moyes can find a way to bring him on board this summer.

A defender of Maksimovic’s skillset will undeniably improve the quality of the Hammers squad as he is good enough to compete with Craig Dawson, Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna and Fabian Balbuena for a place in Moyes’ first XI.

At 29, Maksimovic has still got a few good years left in him to perform at a high level, so Moyes will fancy getting the best out of him if the player decides to join his revolution at East London on a free transfer at the end of this campaign.

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