West Ham United have already added Samir Nasri to their ranks to bolster their midfield options this season, but a recent transfer report suggests that they would be wise to consider making another cunning acquisition by the end of the month.
Indeed, according to a recent report from Goal, Chelsea are closing in on a £45 million deal to secure the services of Cagliari wonderkid Nicolo Barella.
The Italian lynchpin is being touted as some form of replacement for Cesc Fabregas, despite their contrasting styles of play, but his arrival could have a profound impact on another of Chelsea’s central midfielders, Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
The 22-year-old creative midfielder has been on the fringes of the first-team squad this season amid competition from the likes of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley.
After enjoying a successful loan spell with Crystal Palace last season and quietly impressing at the World Cup, it seemed that the England international would at least be above Barkley in Maurizio Sarri’s pecking order, but the reality has been much different.
Loftus-Cheek has made just nine appearances in the Premier League, including one start, and with the Blues reportedly chasing a huge deal for Barella it seems his future lies away from Stamford Bridge.
And, considering West Ham’s lack of strength in depth in central midfield, the London Stadium could be the perfect place for him to breathe new life into his career.
Operating in a box-to-box midfield role, Loftus-Cheek would provide a set of qualities which are currently unrivalled in Pellegrini’s squad: genuine dynamism and a willingness to run directly at the opponent, a powerful physical presence, huge scope for development, experience training alongside some of Europe’s top players and game-changing flair.
The Chelsea prodigy would provide genuine balance operating alongside Declan Rice by combining defensive solidity with forward-thinking quality.
Whether the Hammers would have the funds available to sanction a January deal remains to be seen, but the arrival of Barella at Chelsea would open a window of opportunity which the club’s decision-makers would be foolish to ignore.
West Ham fans – thoughts? Let us know below!
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