The Hammers would appear to require a defensive midfielder and a centre forward, so this mooted move would have been ideal. However, there’s been some bad news on that score.
Football London reported on Wednesday that the Hammers were in negotiations for both players, but that their interest in Lobotka has now cooled because his asking price is too high.
Now, that is a real shame and it could have dire consequences for Manuel Pellegrini’s side. If the club’s director of football Mario Husillos doesn’t deliver the defensive-minded midfielder that the team so desperately requires then West Ham could suffer next season.
Why on earth, then, have the club pulled out of the Lobotka deal in order to pursue a move for Villarreal playmaker Pablo Fornals? The Spaniard is a phenomenal talent and will likely turn out to be a good addition, but Lobotka is who they really need.
The 24-year-old has distinguished himself since moving to La Liga and is one of the finest holding midfielders in the Spanish top flight. He would form a stunning partnership with Rice and fill what is clearly a major hole in the side.
There is a real dearth of defensive-minded players at the club these days – particularly if Obiang and Sanchez depart – and so abandoning a Lobotka deal would appear to be completely nonsensical.
Husillos really needs to reconsider his stance here and go back in for the Slovakian. If not, he risks making a big error which could haunt his team next term.