Rumours are emerging about the arrival of a new attacking midfielder at West Ham, with the club being linked to a move for Ruslan Malinovskyi.
What’s the word?
According to a report from Calciomercato, the Hammers are plotting a January swoop for the Ukrainian, whose future is in doubt at current club Atalanta B.C due to issues with manager Gian Piero Gasperini.
Having been interested in bringing the set-piece specialist to the club in the summer, manager David Moyes is now ready to table a deal to bring him to the club in January.
The only sticking point during previous negotiations was the transfer fee, with Sport Witness indicating that the Italian side wanted £43m for the 29-year-old, however, the virtuoso’s contract is up at the end of the season, meaning he should be available for a lot cheaper if he were to sign in the next window.
Jesse Lingard replacement
Jesse Lingard was seriously impressive during a loan spell at West Ham in the 2020-21 season, weighing in with nine goals and five assists in 16 appearances, leaving fans of the Irons clamouring for him to extend his stay.
That was not to be the case, however, with the Englishman instead having to make do as a bit-part player at Manchester United during the following campaign, with his form never really reaching the heights that it did at the London Stadium.
Since his return to Manchester, the Irons have not filled the void that the 29-year-old left in the team, with summer signing Lucas Paqueta yet to make his mark, registering zero goals and only two assists in his ten appearances for the club, while Flynn Downes has also failed to hit the ground running, not providing any attacking contributions in a total of 11 appearances.
As such, the signing of Malinovskyi would be a very astute signing by Moyes, with his qualities perfectly suited to plugging the gap that Lingard left in the West Ham team.
Once described as a “baller” by journalist Raj Chohan, the 5 foot 11 maestro has proven experience playing in Europe, making a total of 18 Champions League appearances during his stint with Atalanta, which may prove vital if the Hammers are serious about going the distance in the Europa Conference League.
Akin to Lingard, the £25.2m-rated playmaker excels in both scoring and assisting, as highlighted by 30 goals and 27 assists in 139 appearances for his current club, figures that are helped considerably by his forward-thinking way of playing, averaging 5.41 progressive passes per 90 minutes over the past year, putting him in the top 7% in this area.
Having never really managed to replace what Lingard offered to the team, the Irons have a chance to sign Malinovskyi for a figure that is likely to be way under what he is truly worth, and Moyes should do all he can to make it happen.