Transfer Opinion: West Ham must go all in to beat frontrunner to secure £37.5m target

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In January David Moyes pulled off a sensational transfer coup to secure Tomas Soucek on loan from Slavia Prague, who after scoring three decisive goals, then made his move permanent once the Hammers secured survival. However, with Declan Rice’s future appearing uncertain after interest from Manchester United and Chelsea, along with veteran talisman Mark Noble heading towards the end of his career at 33, Moyes could still do with further recruits in the engine room.

It has been suggested that Morgan Sanson is a target for the Hammers, but Arsenal have reportedly entered the competition for the Frenchman’s signature. Rivals Tottenham Hotspur are also said to be interested, and Marseille have reportedly told Spurs they value the central midfielder at £37.5m.

Sanson started all but two of Marseille’s Ligue 1 matches, making 27 appearances in the heart of the midfield. To add to his eye-catching displays in the engine room, only striker Dario Benedetto, 11, and Dimitri Payet, nine, scored more goals than the 25-year-old’s five.

Had the French top-flight not been ended so abruptly, Sanson would have been on course for his second-most productive season in front of goal too. With ten matches left to play when the season came to its end, he was set to finish the campaign on 6.7 strikes, and his previous best came in 2017/18 when the Frenchman fired in nine Ligue 1 goals. The only other occasion where he has scored more than five goals was with Montpellier in 2014/15, bagging six Ligue 1 strikes.

Additionally, no other Marseille’s player provided more assists than the central midfielder, who played teammates through to score on four occasions last term. With his five goals and four assists, Sanson was directly involved in 21.9 per cent of the second-placed French sides’ 41 Ligue 1 strikes.

Furthermore, Sanson averaged 2.2 tackles per match in the heart of the midfield, highlighting how he is capable of both creating attacks, along with breaking up opposition ventures forward.

West Ham should attempt to stave off interest from Arsenal and Spurs to ensure that Sanson arrives in East London, as his performances have suggested he has the quality to slot into Moyes’ midfield immediately. Unlike alternative target Eberechi Eze, Sanson has a wealth of top-flight experience having played eight Ligue 1 seasons, and he should be a main priority for the Irons.

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