Sunday, February 5, 2023

West Ham United Are Keen On This Fenerbahce Defender: Why Moyes Must Make The Call

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

If a report from Turkish outlet Türkiye Gazetesi is believed to be true, West Ham United are keeping a close eye on Fenerbahce centre-back Attila Szalai. But they are not alone in the hunt as the likes of Leicester City, Newcastle United and Bologna are also monitoring the Hungarian’s situation at his current club.

The 24-year-old Magyarok international progressed through the academy ranks of Vasas before leaving for Rapid Wien. Lack of minutes in Austria saw him returning to his homeland with Mezőkövesd. He then joined the Cypriot outfit Apollon Limassol a couple of seasons later and his emergence in the heart of the backline earned him a transfer to Fener in January 2021.

Szalai formed a resilient partnership alongside Kim-Min-jae in deep defence throughout the 2021-22 campaign. Kim left for Napoli to succeed Kalidou Koulibaly back in the summer window and the Hungarian might also part ways in the coming days even though he has been integral to Fenerbahce’s resurgence under Jorge Jesus.

Attila Szalai

While they are currently leading the Super Lig standings, winning the silverware might increase Szalai’s valuation amid growing interest. His current deal runs out in the summer of 2025 and the Turkish giants, therefore, hold an upper hand given the player’s significance in their starting XI. With 90 appearances already across competitions, the Yellow Canaries are expected to make an astronomical financial profit from his departure.

Why West Ham United Must Secure The Signing Of Szalai

In spite of showing steady improvement since David Moyes’ re-appointment, West Ham United have been struggling of late with four defeats in their last five Premier League games. Summers signings Thilo Kehrer and Nayef Aguerd are there to challenge and cover Kurt Zouma, Angelo Ogbonna and Craig Dawson, but they are still lacking the quality despite ample depth in a ‘back three’ set-up.

Dawson and Ogbonna are past their prime and no more the assured starters. Both are in their thirties and might part ways upon the completion of the current season. Aguerd has hardly featured for the Hammers due to form and fitness reasons, whereas Kehrer is yet to replicate the standard set by Ogbonna in the recent past. Moyes might have to explore the market once again to find a stable central defensive partner for Zouma, and Szalai, with all his potential and excellence, should resolve the ongoing conundrum in the long run.

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