West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

West Ham links refuse to go away despite £17m centre-back revealing why he previously snubbed move

Moussa Dembele, Nayef Aguerd

Rennes defender Nayef Aguerd has revealed why he opted to reject a move to the Premier League last summer, having been strongly tipped to join West Ham.

The Hammers were heavily linked with a £17million move for the 25-year-old during the summer transfer window, but the player ended up remaining with the Ligue 1 outfit.

West Ham boss David Moyes has been actively looking to strengthen his defence for the last two windows.

Kurt Zouma was eventually signed from Chelsea, but other targets came and went – particularly in January.

Moyes’ reasoning behind looking for defensive help stems from the fact that injury-prone Angelo Ogbonna will be 34 when the next season starts, while Craig Dawson will soon be 32 soon.

Aguerd, who has won 17 Morocco caps, is only 25 and would have been a great addition to the squad.

But the defender, speaking to Quest France, gave an insight into this thought process last summer.

He said: “I told myself I still had a year left to prove myself. When you’re a player, you’re under contract, it’s the club that chooses.

“They didn’t want me to leave, even if I had offers. They chose to extend me by showing me that I was important to the club, in the dressing room. I signed directly and showed that I was part of the project.”

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The pacy Aguerd had been considered a direct replacement for Ogbonna. However, at this stage, it remains to be seen if the Hammers will renew their interest in the summer – despite being tipped to do so.

West Ham given Wijnaldum hope

Meanwhile, Georginio Wijnaldum will prioritise a move back to England in the summer if he does not feel he is part of Paris Saint-Germain’s long-term plans, TEAMtalk understands.

The Netherlands international moved across The Channel after Liverpool refused to offer him the contract he wanted. Despite being a regular under Jurgen Klopp and one of his most trusted players, Wijnaldum opted to move on after receiving a better offer elsewhere.

As such, he moved on a free transfer to the French giants, signing a three-year deal until summer 2024.

Once he turned 31 last November, Liverpool officials were not prepared to break the bank to keep the former Newcastle man, despite his brilliant form.

But things did not get off to a good start. And in October Wijnaldum went public on international duty and declared his unhappiness.

The midfielder’s action has improved of late and he has started the last four Ligue 1 games, but two of those have ended in defeat.

By and large, Wijnaldum has struggled to recapture his Liverpool form since the move. As such, it was no surprise to see him linked with a move back to the Premier League in January.

And while that never materialised, we understand the 31-year-old is again ready to consider his options in the summer. As such, a return to the England remains his preference.

Arsenal, West Ham and former club Newcastle United are amongst the clubs keeping a watching brief on Wijnaldum’s situation.

It also believed AC Milan and Atletico Madrid also maintain an interest in Wijnaldum.

Wijnaldum lets out PSG frustrations

Wijnaldum has now made 15 starts in the league. But he was benched in the two legs against Real Madrid in the Champions League recently.

And speaking to the Dutch news outlet NOS, he said: “I can’t say I’m completely happy, because the situation is not what I wanted.

“But that’s football and I’ll have to learn to deal with that. I’m a fighter. I have to stay positive and work hard to turn it around.

“I have played a lot in recent years, was always fit and also did very well. This is something different and that takes getting used to.

“I was really looking forward to the new step and then this happens. It is very difficult.”

As such, PSG are seemingly willing to let Wijnaldum move on if the price is right this summer.

And while no figure has been placed on his head, an offer of around £20m is likely to turn their heads.

Aston Villa are another side who have been linked with the midfielder.

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