European football may seem a distant dream for West Ham, but the club can still attract some players with experience in the competition.
West Ham will be targeting a new set of full-backs now the summer transfer window is open. The current crop of options have failed over the last couple of season and become a real weak link in the Hammers chainmail.
Aaron Cresswell, Arthur Masuaku and Ryan Fredericks have all proven to be prone to injury and also prone to a defensive error. The remaining full-back at the club, Ben Johnson, is still very raw and will need some competition for the right-back spot.
One option for the Hammers would be to pursue Champions League full-back Timothy Castagne. Currently contracted to Atalanta in Serie A, the full-back has had a decent season and can improve further should he be given more chances.
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Atalanta still needs to finish the domestic season and finish off their Champions League campaign. Their next match is against French Champions PSG. The Bergamo based club have already qualified for next season and are one of the black sheep of this seasons competition.
Castagne has had played thirty times this season, and played his part in eleven clean-sheets for Atalanta. The Belgian full-back excels with his defensive contribution and is a solid defender in his own right.
Though, the 24-year-old is much more than just a defender. Castagne is able to contribute at the other end of the pitch as well, the defender has scored two goals and assisted three this season. This is far better than West Ham’s current options at full-back, especially when the modern-day defender must be able to offer as much going forward as they do in defence.
West Ham has been linked to the defender in the past and should look to revive their interest in him this summer. Castagne is currently valued at £14 million on transfermarket.com but he has just entered the last year of his contract. Atalanta also doesn’t play a system that optimizes the uses of traditional full-backs, they mostly play with three centre-backs rather than a traditional back-four.
The Hammers would be able to offer Castagne an attractive option should he decide to leave Italy. the Belgian could get a long-term deal as the first choice in his preferred position and most likely a much-improved contract than the one he will be on with Atalanta.
It is set to be a busy window for the Hammers have already signed Tomas Soucek to a permanent contract. There will also be plenty of players are likely to be moved on in order to raise funds to bring players into the club.