Friday, September 29, 2023

West Ham United Eyeing Summer Swoop For This French Midfield Ace: A Replacement For Rice?

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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 L’Equipe is believed to be true, West Ham United are eyeing a summer swoop for Youssouf Fofana. Despite conquering the UEFA Europa Conference League crown, the Hammers are destined to lose skipper Declan Rice amid interest from Arsenal and Manchester City. However, they have identified the Frenchman as his potential successor in the centre of the pitch.

The 24-year-old Les Bleus international progressed through the academy ranks of Espérance Paris 19ème, Red Star, Drancy and Strasbourg before breaking into the latter’s senior side in August 2018. He then joined Monaco for a fee of around €15m and has so far appeared 140 times across competitions.

Although Monaco had a disastrous season, they are likely to play hardball for their prized asset. Fofana’s contract expires in 2024, but his current suitors are likely to trigger a one-year extension beyond next summer. According to the French outlet, the Irons must pay €35m to secure his services prior to the upcoming campaign.

Why West Ham United Must Snap Up Fofana

West Ham United have shown a massive resurgence under David Moyes. They had a forgettable league run, but the success in Europe depicts their progress in recent years. An array of new names have been brought in to bolster the squad and the majority of their signings are doing well across the field in all competitions.

West Ham United target Youssouf Fofana in action for Monaco
Monaco’s French midfielder Youssouf Fofana (L) fights for the ball with Toulouse’s French defender Moussa Diarra (R) during the French L1 football match between AS Monaco and Toulouse FC at the Louis II Stadium (Stade Louis II) in the Principality of Monaco on June 3, 2023. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP) (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

Moyes prefers a 4-2-3-1 with Rice and Tomas Soucek featuring as the ‘double pivot’ deep down the midfield. Flynn Downes, signed from Swansea City, was roped in last summer to add depth in the middle of the park. However, Rice’s exit would leave a massive void given his impact and influence over the years.

Fofana is regarded for his energy and athleticism as a box-to-box option. Moreover, his physicality should see him excel in Premier League if a transfer to East London takes place in the due course of time. His holding and dribbling traits have helped him flourish as a deep-lying playmaker and the all-round ability of his game must be explored by the Hammers. Less than one-third of Rice’s asking fee should be enough to snap up the young midfielder.

The Monaco ace has earned 9 senior international caps so far including a substitute appearance in last year’s World Cup final. A player of his potential must try his luck stepping out of his comfort zone and the high-flying Londoners would offer him a great opportunity to rise and shine in English football.

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