West Ham left reeling after Watford steal a march on Serie A bargain

Date published: Friday 16th July 2021 1:52 - Steve Pearson

Morten Thorsby, Sampdoria, 2021

West Ham could be left behind after Watford made first contact with a Hammers-linked Serie A midfielder available for a bargain price, per a report.

The aims of West Ham and Watford next season will vary in the extreme. After securing promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking, the Hornets will be seeking to avoid relegation at all costs. The Hammers, meanwhile, will be aiming to secure European qualification in back-to-back seasons while juggling a Europa League campaign.

Nevertheless, both sides are on the hunt for transfer reinforcements this summer and a common target the two clubs share is Sampdoria’s Morten Thorsby.

The Norwegian, 25, is a versatile central midfielder who can turn his hand to multiple positions when required.

West Ham were mentioned along with Napoli and Atalanta as being interested parties for his signature in June.

However, per Sky Italia, Premier League new boys Watford have stolen a march.

They (via Inside Futbol) report that Hornets boss Xisco Munoz is keen to bolster his midfield options and has identified Thorsby as an ideal candidate.

Watford have therefore ‘touched base’ with Sampdoria and made first contact.

While no official bid has thus far been lodged, the Italian side appear willing to sanction a sale if the bargain fee of €5m is offered.

Any revenue generated from his sale would represent profit for the club. That’s because Thorsby was lured to Genoa on a free transfer in 2019.

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Rejected West Ham bid drives new target approach?

Meanwhile, West Ham have had a bid for West Brom’s Sam Johnstone knocked back, which might prompt them to turn to an alternative option, a report has claimed.

With first choice goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski now 36, one player that was identified as a potential successor is Johnstone.

Like Fabianski, Johnstone has only 12 months left on his contract. As such, a number of top-flight sides have taken a keen interest.

The 28-year-old has had some big name admirers in Tottenham and Manchester United. However, it was David Moyes’ men who appeared to be in pole position.

And it is they who have struck first. According to The Athletic, the Baggies have rejected a bid which fell way below their estimation.

The report suggests West Ham are unlikely to want to go much higher than their opening offer. Instead, they could push on with a deal for ex Fulham loanee, Alphonse Areola.

READ MORE: Trouble for West Ham as Euro giants steal in for Jesse Lingard signing

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