West Ham told transfer target is better than De Ketelaere in key area; star advised to make Hammers switch

Hans Vanaken and Noa Lang

Two pundits have been speaking about Hans Vanaken and his potential move from Club Brugge to West Ham this summer.

According to a recent report from 90Min, West Ham have bid £8.4million (€10m) for the central attacking midfielder. This wasn’t enough to strike a deal though as Brugge rejected the proposal.

The Belgian side want to receive £16.8m (€20m) for Vanaken, as he is one of their top players. West Ham, though, believe an improved offer worth £12.6m (€15m) plus add-ons will be enough to get the player to east London.

The Hammers hope Vanaken’s transfer stance will help the switch go through. Various reports state he is eager to join them from Brugge in order to take the next step in his career.

West Ham are now preparing to submit their second bid for Vanaken, who has won 21 caps with Belgium. However, the new offer is yet to arrive at the time of writing.

During a double interview with Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad (via Sport Witness), former Brugge players Vital Borkelmans and Rene Vandereycken have spoken about Vanaken’s future.

Borkelmans reckons the 29-year-old should make the move if the two clubs reach an agreement, as such an opportunity doesn’t come around too often.

“I would understand if Hans was now open to a transfer,” he said. “Unfortunately, I never got the chance, but I think that as a footballer you have to dare to take on new challenges. For Hans, such a step to a major competition would certainly be a challenge.”

Hans Vanaken ‘incredibly important’ for Brugge

Vandereycken added: “Vanaken is incredibly important for Club Brugge, just look at the number of goals and assists he delivers every year. You don’t sell a player like that for an apple and an egg. If West Ham really want to take him away, they will just have to pay the right price.”

Charles De Ketelaere recently left Brugge for AC Milan after a top campaign in the Jupiler Pro League, where he hit 14 goals in 33 matches. Vandereycken thinks that while De Ketelaere got the plaudits for his goals, Vanaken is actually better at helping Brugge play well as a team.

“Vanaken is more difficult to replace,” he said. “You will rarely see him play a bad game. What does happen is that he appears less in the game, because there is man marking on him or he is a little higher on the field.

“But if Vanaken is running, then Club Brugge is usually running too. De Ketelaere did improve his statistics last season, but was less decisive than Vanaken purely in the team game.

“In that respect, I certainly understand that Club does not want to let him go. Especially since the start of the competition was not great. The whole team is built around him. If Hans leaves, you should actually start playing in a different system.”

Vanaken has three years left on his Brugge contract, which is why the club can request more money from West Ham.

And Borkelmans ended the Vanaken chat by saying: “Be assured that the club will make a firm effort [to keep him]. Hans extended his contract not so long ago and he must have received a pay rise then.

“But when a team like West Ham come knocking, it is not illogical that there is talk again.”

Vanaken is a top performer who has international and Champions League experience. Last term, he registered 15 goals and 12 assists in all competitions too.

He captains Brugge regularly, which shows how much they rate him. But Vanaken must now push to leave the club so he can prove himself at a higher level.

West Ham is the perfect destination to do just that. They will compete in this season’s Europa Conference League and are also hoping to make the Prem’s top six.

Meanwhile, West Ham have eased their centre-back crisis by bringing in a player from Paris Saint-Germain.