West Ham have been given hope of securing the signing of Ajax attacker Steven Bergwijn amid claims Tim Steidten has learned what it would take to bring the former Tottenham forward back to the Premier League.
The Hammers spent big over the summer signing two of Ajax’s best stars with the club’s technical director Steidten investing a hefty chunk of their Declan Rice windfall on deals for Mohammed Kudus and Edson Alvarez, with the pair costing West Ham a combined £70m.
And while £32m Mexico star Alvarez has just started to find his feet, Kudus has really hit the ground running at the London Stadium with five goals and one assist from just 964 minutes of action so far for David Moyes’ side.
Now Steidten is gearing up for a third raid on the Dutch giants in quick succession with another of their star names, in Bergwijn, being linked with a return to the Premier League.
The 26-year-old is best known in England for his spell with Tottenham, who he played for two and a half years. Signed by Jose Mourinho from PSV Eindhoven for £32m, the winger made a goalscoring debut against Manchester City in a hugely-promising start.
Unfortunately, that was to prove the Netherlands international’s best moment in a Spurs shirt, with his record of eight goals in 83 games underlining his struggles for form and fitness in north London.
Bergwijn’s struggles ultimately saw the player allowed to leave for Ajax, who paid Spurs an Eredivisie record €31.3m (£27m) to bring the winger back to the Netherlands.
His form since has been a little up and down, though there’ve been flashes of the brilliance that have earned Bergwijn 32 caps for his country.
Bergwijn opens up on West Ham transfer links as Ajax hint at deal
Now the 74-goal star is being tipped with a return to the Premier League with West Ham.
And with technical director Steidten reportedly targeting the Tottenham old boy as a replacement for Said Benrahma, who is being linked with a big-money move to Saudi Arabia, both Bergwijn himself and Ajax have not exactly closed the door on a possible switch.
Asked about the Hammers’ reported interest in him, Bergwijn told ESPN NL: “I haven’t heard anything about it myself, I think you should contact my agent.”
However, pressed again, the 26-year-old is seemingly not ruling anything out.
“In football you should never exclude anything. But my focus is now completely on Ajax and everyone here knows that. I am happy here and have my family here too. That is the most important thing,” he added.
As per De Telegraaf journalist Mike Verweij, Steidten has already made contact with Bergwijn’s camp to sound out the player over a possible return to the Premier League.
And while West Ham are yet to contact Ajax directly, the Dutch giants are reportedly well aware of the Hammers’ intentions and are seemingly open to his possible sale if they can make a profit on their initial investment.
€40m deal can secure West Ham Dutch attacker
To that end, reports of a possible €40m (£34.7m) switch for Bergwijn are starting to gather pace.
And when questioned on that possibility, Ajax manager John van ‘t Schip has conceded that a big-money offer could well force their hand.
“I haven’t heard anything about it. It’s probably the case. But when it really becomes concrete, I will hear about it,” Van ‘t Schip stated.
“I assume that Steven will stay with us, certainly until the end of the season. And if a huge offer comes in, you know how it works… But I would prefer if he stays!”
Bergwijn has six goals and three assists for Ajax in what has been a really indifferent season so far.
The club are currently eighth with four wins, three draws and five losses from 12 games so far. That form had cost previous coach Maurice Steijn his job last month after seeing the Dutch giants marooned, at the time, in the bottom three.
But despite their improvement since, they remain some 17 points adrift of top two places, which secure a Champions League place.
As such, there is a feeling that wholesale changes are required at the Johan Cruyff ArenA to help them close that gap on top dogs PSV Eindhoven and reigning champions Feyenoord.