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Zielinski talks; Kostic latest; centre-back search

After a disappointing January transfer window, which many feel cost West Ham a top-six Premier League finish, business is finally picking up in east London.

David Moyes has got his striking wish, bagging some vital support for Michail Antonio in the form of Sassuolo and Italy powerhouse Gianluca Scamacca, while the club have also concluded deals for Alphonse Areola, Nayef Aguerd and Flynn Downes.

Centre-back Aguerd’s arrival has unfortunately been tempered by an ankle injury picked up in the pre-season defeat to Rangers, but it’s abundantly clear that the club have ambitions to push on and capitalise on a really positive couple of seasons at London Stadium.

However, though they’ve concluded quality business already, there’s more to be done.

Moyes, and head of recruitment Rob Newman, are keen to not only bulk out West Ham’s squad with more bodies – addressing the tired legs issue they suffered towards the end of 2021/22 – but they’re looking to do so with serious quality.

Talks are ongoing for a number of targets, with West Ham specifically looking for further depth at left-back, central midfield and in central defence, and it’s clear that the profile of player being targeted is far superior to that of previous transfer windows – these are ambitious plays specifically geared at taking the Hammers to the next level.

Listen now to 90min’s Talking Transfers podcast, with Scott Saunders, Graeme BaileyHarry Symeou Toby Cudworth. On the latest show they discuss Cristiano Ronaldo holding talks with Man Utd over his future, Barcelona attempting to sign Jules Kounde ahead of Chelsea, Man City rewarding Phil Foden with a new contract and more. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

Talks are ongoing between West Ham and Eintracht Frankfurt over a deal for Filip Kostic, who is predominantly a left wing-back or left winger – though he is capable of playing at left-back.

Europa League winners Frankfurt aren’t keen to part ways with the Serbian, as you might expect, but they’ve not ruled out letting Kostic move to West Ham if that’s his wish. Indeed, the 29-year-old could significantly increase his weekly wages if he heads over to the Premier League, though he’ll be giving up Champions League football in the process.

West Ham are currently short of Frankfurt’s valuation of Kostic, 90min understands, and have seen an initial bid rebuffed.

Negotiations continue, with hope that personal terms can be agreed boosted by the fact that his agent also represents Gianluca Scamacca – who was convinced enough by the project on offer in east London to turn down other, more lucrative offers when joining from Sassuolo.

Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski is a player West Ham are continuing to hold talks over, although 90min understands that a bid has yet to be lodged.

The 28-year-old has spent his entire professional career playing in Italy and is armed with significant European experience. He has played 49 times in either the Champions League or Europa League over the past six years, reinforcing Moyes and Newman’s desire to bring in higher calibre players.

The Polish midfielder hasn’t made his feelings on a potential move to West Ham known, but he’s being considered as an alternative signing to Lille’s Amadou Onana – who bids have already been lodged for. Both players, if West Ham are to succeed with offers, will not come cheap.

Nayef Aguerd limps off during West Ham's pre-season friendly with Rangers

West Ham’s Nayef Aguerd has suffered a cruel injury setback / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Nayef Aguerd was West Ham’s first signing of the summer window, arriving from Rennes in a deal that could eventually be worth in excess of £30m, and had been slated to slot in on the left side of central defence.

But after limping off against Rangers following an awkward looking challenge, Aguerd has undergone surgery on his ankle – and could be on the sidelines for a significant period of time.

West Ham haven’t publicly confirmed a timeframe for his recovery, but 90min understands that his chances of appearing at the World Cup are under threat – meaning he may not make his Premier League debut until the very end of this year or start of 2023.

Signing a replacement is now understood to be a priority, with Everton’s Mason Holgate one player the club have enquired about. Moyes is keen to bring in a defender who could offer tactical versatility – the ability to switch between playing four at the back or three with wing-backs – and it’s unlikely that Fulham target Issa Diop will be allowed to leave until the situation is resolved.

Gianluca Scamacca’s arrival has been met with universal acclaim from West Ham’s supporters, but having survived the best part of 16 months having just Michail Antonio on the books, 90min understands there’s an appetite to bring in a third forward.

The Hammers won’t spend big to do so, knowing Scamacca and Antonio will be Moyes’ two primary options, but the sheer number of games the club will play, and desire to minimise injury risk, could see a player who’d cost less than £15m targeted.

Loans are also a consideration for West Ham, who head into the 2022/23 season hoping to emulate, if not exceed, their success in Europe last season.


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