West Ham and Leicester look set to go head to head for the signature of Fenerbahce star Attila Szalai, according to reports.
Szalai has only been at Fenerbahce for six months, but it looks like they could turn a quick profit on him. The Hungary international started 21 goals in the Turkish Super Lig after his arrival and scored three goals. Mainly operating as a centre-back, he can also play on the left flank of defence.
His profile fits what West Ham and Leicester are both looking for ahead of the 2021-22 season. Both clubs will be involved in the Europa League and will be looking to strengthen to remain competitive in the Premier League too.
They each want to sign a left-footed centre-back, and Szalai is an option that appeals.
According to NTV Spor, the Hammers and the Foxes will be watching the 23-year-old closely at Euro 2020. Hungary are in a tough group with France, Germany and Portugal, so Szalai will be able to show what he can do against the very best.
If he impresses, then either Premier League side could be encouraged to make a move for him after Hungary’s involvement in the competition ends.
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It will take a big offer to tempt Fenerbahce into selling, as they have him tied to a four-year contract. But they could capitalise on his rising value and send him to the Premier League.
West Ham brought in Craig Dawson on loan from Watford for last season and have made that deal permanent. But they will release Fabian Balbuena at the end of the month, leaving a space for another defender to come in.
Leicester also have options at the back already, but will be letting Wes Morgan go. While the retiring captain didn’t play much last season, they will still need to pack out their backline with more depth upon his departure.
If either side are ready to spend a substantial fee, they might be able to get their man in Szalai.
Leicester looking at Kabak
Another option for Leicester in defence could be Ozan Kabak, who ended the 2020-21 season on loan at Liverpool from Schalke.
The Reds have decided against signing him permanently, and he will have no future at relegated Schalke, who must sell. Therefore, he could make another Premier League move.
A report from Bild recently claimed that Leicester or Newcastle could offer Kabak a new home.
Schalke are hoping to gain €25m from his sale, but their situation may force them to accept a lower fee.
Leicester clearly have options on the table, but face competition for either target.