West Ham despair as Arsenal ramp up interest in big talent who only joined Hammers last summer

Brazil stars Lucas Paqueta and Richarlison

Arsenal are reportedly plotting a shock move to sign highly-rated West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta, despite him only joining the club last summer.

The 25-year-old has struggled to find his feet in the Premier League so far, but there is no doubt that he can be a sensational player on his day.

West Ham would be gutted to lose one of their key players so soon after signing him, but a big offer from Arsenal could potentially force their hand.

The Hammers have struggled to find consistent form this season, currently sitting just two points outside the relegation zone after winning only six of their 24 opening Premier League matches.

As a result, pressure is mounting on manager David Moyes, but that has been temporarily relieved after guiding his team to a 4-0 victory over fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

Therefore, the East London outfit will be determined to keep hold of their best players, but if these latest reports are to be believed, they could have a challenge on their hands.

According to reports coming out of Spain, Arsenal are believed to be very interested in making a move for Paqueta, while Newcastle have also registered an interest.

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West Ham must keep Paqueta if Rice leaves

Paqueta could prove to be a smart signing for Mikel Arteta, especially if he can replicate the form he produced for Lyon.

In a two-year stint with the French giants, the midfielder scored 21 goals and made 13 assists in 80 appearances across all competitions, giving him an impressive average of 0.43 goal contributions per match.

While he has not shown that kind of form for West Ham yet, once he fully acclimatises to the Premier League, he could become one of their best players, on paper.

Therefore, keeping him at the London Stadium will be essential for Moyes and co, especially given Declan Rice is widely expected to leave the club at the end of the season. 

While Paqueta isn’t a defensive-minded midfielder, like Rice, to lose two key midfield players in one window could have potentially disastrous ramifications for the Hammers, who, as mentioned, are still in danger of relegation this season.

West Ham paid £51m for the Brazil international last summer, with the player penning a contract valid until 2027, so they are under no immediate pressure to sell him

With that in mind, Arsenal would likely have to pay considerably more than that fee to get a deal over the line this summer.

However, if the unthinkable happens and the Hammers are relegated to the Championship, they could be forced into selling some of their prized assets, and Paqueta certainly fits into that category.

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