West Ham are reportedly closing in on the signing of Juventus star Denis Zakaria.
The Hammers are still desperate to replace Declan Rice after he left in a £105m deal for Arsenal after seeing multiple bids for the likes of Conor Gallagher, Joao Palhinha and James Ward-Prowse rejected.
Claims from Italy suggest Zakaria is set to cost West Ham around £17m and personal terms are currently being discussed with the player. He spent last term on loan with Chelsea and is open to staying in London.
West Ham are nearing their first transfer of the summer – talks are being held with Denis Zakaria.
Zakaria is a Swiss defensive midfielder, who begun his career at Servette before heading to Young Boys. He impressed in his homeland, winning the league’s young player of the year in 2017, which earned him a move to Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach.
The 26-year-old took to German football with ease becoming one of the best midfielders in division, playing an integral role with his four-and-a-half season with the club.
Zakaria was on the radar of several top sides and Juve managed to seal a deal in 2021 for £8m. But his time in Italy has not got to plan due to him suffering many injuries, managing to play just 15 times for the club.
He fell down the pecking order in Turin and he was spent loaned out to Chelsea last season, meaning he has Premier League experience, which we know David Moyes is keen for signings to have.
The 49-timed capped international featured 13 times for Chelsea last campaign, scoring one goal for the club in the Champions League. Again, injuries prevented featuring more and the Blues’ bloated squad and constant manager changes meant he found it hard to get a run in the starting XI despite decent performances when playing.
Zakaria is a tough tackler and he posses great strength. He has been dubbed a ‘midfield enabler’ due to his ability to break up play. He is a selfless player, who will do the dirty work in the centre of the park. He is incredibly difficult to dribble past due to his speed and positional awareness. He has unbelievably quick feet for a player standing at 6ft 3in but he likes to keep passes short and simple.
He could fit West Ham well and allow for the likes of Lucas Paqueta to worry less over defence work. He is tall and could be a set piece threat should the Hammers eventually get a deal over the line for Ward-Prowse despite Southampton rejecting a final £30m offer.
However, alongside Tomas Soucek, there could be lack of progressive passes deep in the pitch. And, of course, there are concerns over Zakaria’s injury record.