West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

West Ham firm up clever plan for striker signing with Kretinsky connection

Adam Hlozek in Czech Republic training, June 2021

West Ham are making plans to sign a forward on loan from another club within the Daniel Kretinsky empire, as well as a centre-back in January, a report has claimed.

The winter transfer window could be a crucial one for West Ham. They qualified for Europe last season and after a strong start to the current campaign, are aiming to do so again. But juggling multiple competitions could take its toll without sufficient squad depth.

With that in mind, they will already be making plans to sign players who can help them keep their current pace for the rest of the season. An obvious area to strengthen is in attack.

West Ham are heavily reliant on Michail Antonio to do the bulk of the work up front. He is in fine form this year, but there are concerns about a lack of alternatives if he suffers an injury.

There are other players who can cover in his position. But the Hammers have been trying to add another for the best part of a year. Indeed, they never replaced Sebastien Haller when letting him go to Ajax in January 2021.

Now, 90min claim they are aiming to fill the void by targeting long-term objective Adam Hlozek in January. Coincidentally, he plays for Sparta Prague, whose president is none other than new West Ham board member Kretinsky.

West Ham should therefore have the advantage over any other suitors for Hlozek. He has also attracted interest from Juventus, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Although he features frequently as a winger, the 6’2″ ace can play centrally as well. Therefore, he could provide support and competition for Antonio.

The report claims West Ham are exploring a loan deal in January that would become permanent in the summer on certain conditions. By doing so, they can save funds for other more immediate pursuits.

West Ham keen on transfer for Marseille centre-back Duje Caleta-Car

West Ham keen on transfer for Marseille centre-back Duje Caleta-Car

West Ham are interested in a transfer for Marseille centre-back Duje Caleta-Car

For example, it is stated that a centre-back is now on their radar despite it previously not being considered an area to strengthen. The ACL injury that Angelo Ogbonna recently suffered could force them to find cover, though.

West Ham would not be against looking down to the Championship market to do so. But even in that case, it wouldn’t necessarily be cheap. Therefore, it will be helpful to save as much money as they can.

90min also do not rule out an additional centre-forward arriving at the London Stadium alongside Hlozek. But it seems the first area of focus will be to bring in the Czech and potentially a defender.

Hlozek has been on West Ham’s radar for more than a year, the report reminds. However, there was no deal in the summer. The situation is changing, though, providing fresh optimism.

Adam Hlozek, Sparta Prague, Czech Republic, May 2021

The Czech international, who plays with Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Coufal and Alex Kral for his national team, reportedly feels ready to take the next step in his career. West Ham may be the ones to give him that platform.

West Ham in race for Tottenham target

One area not mentioned in the report is midfield, although other sources have hinted at their interest in one target there.

West Ham have not been put off by Juventus’ significant asking price for midfielder Weston McKennie, according to reports.

The 23-year-old spent time in Dallas’ academy before crossing the Atlantic to join Schalke back in August 2016. He gained promotion to their senior team the following year and went on to make 91 appearances for the German side, scoring five goals.

The USA international’s impressive performances alerted scouts at Juventus. They snapped McKennie up in 2020, initially on loan, before making his transfer permanent for €18.5million last year.

McKennie remains a regular starter in Turin, scoring in recent league defeats to Sassuolo and Hellas Verona. However, returning manager Max Allegri is keen to engineer a squad overhaul next year.

As a result, McKennie could be sold to a Premier League club alongside Newcastle-linked Aaron Ramsey.

Weston McKennie of FC Juventus during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and FC Juventus at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Napoli

Tottenham are leading the race for the central midfielder, with Italian boss Antonio Conte a big fan. He wants McKennie to compete with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp for a starting spot in north London.

However, West Ham are on hand to rival Spurs. David Moyes is keen for midfield recruits as part of his plan to achieve Champions League qualification and Europa League success.

Reports in the Italian media state that the Irons have been quoted at between €30m-35m for McKennie. They are ‘not scared’ by the sum and are preparing to make the player one of their biggest ever signings.

A transfer now depends on who acts first, West Ham or Spurs. Juve are willing to finalise a deal in the next few weeks. They will not stand in McKennie’s way, should the American request a move.

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