Cologne star Ellyes Skhiri admits he is ‘open’ to a move away from the club this summer, with West Ham thought to be one of his preferred destinations.
The 26-year-old has been with the Bundesliga outfit for two years after signing a four-year deal in the summer of 2019. And he has certainly got through his fair share of work with the Billy Goats. The Tunisia international made 31 league starts in his first season and 32 last term.
He bagged one goal in 2019-2020 but upped that to five last season. The Hammers have been linked for some time.
Back in June it was reported that the African was on the East End outfit’s radar. But many other clubs were also linked as his agent, Fali Ramadani, had offered him to the ‘whole of Europe’.
Italian club Napoli were thought to be at the front of the queue for his signature. But that trail appears to have gone cold.
With a price tag of just €15m, it is inevitable that there will be further suitors showing their hand this summer. Skhiri has already opened his account for Cologne in 2021-22, scoring in a German Cup game.
He seems content to stay at RheinEnergieStadion but hinted that he would welcome a bid from another club.
“I think the situation is clear for the club and me,” he told BILD (via Sport Witness). “I’m here, and I’m doing my best, but if there’s a good opportunity to take the next step, I’m open to it.
“Playing in a European competition would, of course, be a new step for me to move on.”
Skhiri link but no West Ham move
West Ham have been linked with many players this summer but have, to date, purchased only defedner Craig Dawson from Watford. David Moyes is known to want a new striker but has kept his powder dry.
There seems to be growing frustration among Irons fans about a lack of new faces. Skhiri is not a striker but a powerful midfielder who supports the forwards.
The London Stadium outfit could provide the European experience he craves. But he is happy to keep plying his trade and see where it takes him.
“As long as I’m here, I want to help the team, and I’m glad that I’ve already managed to do that with my goal in the cup,” he added.
“If it ends up that nothing comes of it, then I’ll be happy to stay. I myself have only read about it. I don’t talk to my advisor on the phone every day.”