Anderlecht star Leander Dendoncker has revealed that he would have welcomed a switch to West Ham if they had moved sooner.
Dendoncker was a midfield target for both West Ham and Watford last month, while Manchester United have been previously linked.
The Belgian has established himself at Anderlecht but feels ready to leave, with the Premier League his preferred destination.
He was one of a number of players targeted by West Ham late in the window, but Anderlecht were eager not to lose one of their key assets without being able to replace him.
“If deals still have to be arranged in the evening on January 31, there is little chance that there will be a breakthrough,” Dendoncker told Het Laatste Nieuws.
“West Ham seemed to me, however, a nice club to take the next step in my career.”
Dendoncker had previously been refused a move last summer, when he again was linked with a list of English clubs.
“The disappointment was great – I could barely overcome it,” he said. “I noticed that after the departure of Youri [Tielemans] they did not want to get rid of the whole midfield.
“I was on the phone every day with my agent. I was told, ‘Be patient, it will come around, maybe at the very end.’
“I was constantly working on that transfer, instead of just focusing on the training. I was wrong, I realise that. But it was the first time I came into such a situation, I just did not know how to deal with it.
“Anderlecht was not the problem, it’s just that after the title [last season] I had the desire to take the next step in my career.
“Logical, right? I was ready, I thought, for a new challenge.”
Asked whether he could leave at the end of the season, he simply replied: “That’s for the summer.”
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