West Ham United have been given the perfect opportunity to replace Lucas Paqueta with Udinese star Lazar Samardzic after his move to a European giant fell through, according to a report.
West Ham were left stunned on August 9 when it emerged that Manchester City were hoping to sign creative midfielder Paqueta. Pep Guardiola’s side opened the bidding at £70million, though this offer was swiftly knocked back by West Ham. The Irons will only sell Paqueta for a colossal fee, having signed him from Lyon just last summer.
The Brazil ace is understood to be very keen to sign for City and has resultantly agreed a six-year contract with them.
City soon came back with an improved proposal worth a stunning €100m (£85.5m). But this was rejected too as West Ham have told City that Paqueta will only leave if a massive £95m bid comes in.
This is a lot of money, especially considering the fact West Ham originally spent around £51m when landing Paqueta 12 months ago. But according to widespread reports, Guardiola is gunning for Paqueta to join and City are therefore ready to meet West Ham’s £95m demands.
Should this happen, then West Ham boss David Moyes will need a top star to arrive at the London Stadium and replace Paqueta’s impact. Moyes has already lost captain Declan Rice this summer, with fellow England international James Ward-Prowse arriving as his successor.
On Saturday, it emerged that West Ham were aiming to ruin Inter’s chances of landing Samardzic. Inter had agreed a €16m (£13.8m) deal with Udinese, while he had already undergone a medical with the Nerazzurri.
But the transfer came under threat when Samardzic’s father began trying to change the conditions of the deal, amid frustrations at agent Rafaela Pimenta.
Lazar Samardzic eyed as Lucas Paqueta replacement
According to an update on the situation from Italian source Inter Live, Samardzic’s move to Inter has now completely ‘collapsed’.
The rising Serbia star has now returned to Udinese, and the Serie A outfit are hoping to keep him. However, their plans could soon be ruined by West Ham.
Should Paqueta complete his prospective City move, then West Ham would have plenty of money to bid for Samardzic and meet Udinese’s asking price. As shown by the agreement with Inter, this is around the £13-14m mark.
West Ham are named by the report as the ‘first and foremost’ club when it comes to signing the 21-year-old, as no other team needs a player of Samardzic’s profile as much as them.
While Samardzic has enjoyed his time at Udinese, having emerged into one of their most important players, he would likely jump at the chance to join West Ham and try himself out in the Prem.