West Ham have reportedly made contact for the signing of Jonathan Tah from Bayer Leverkusen after the defender earned a place in the Europa League team of the season.
Tah helped the Bundesliga side reach the semi-finals of UEFA’s secondary competition this season. In the process, he earned the admiration of the governing body’s technical observers, who recently announced him and Roma’s Chris Smalling as the two centre-backs in their Europa League team of the season.
West Ham have their own European final to look forward to this week, since they are due to challenge Fiorentina for the Conference League crown.
Domestically, though, it was a disappointing season for David Moyes’ side, who finished in the bottom half of the Premier League. Therefore, they are already eyeing targets for the upcoming transfer window.
According to several sources in Germany – the latest being Sky Sports Deutschland – West Ham have now made an enquiry about Tah’s availability.
The centre-back is only under contract with Bayer Leverkusen for another two years. Besides, there is an €18m release clause (equating to around £15.5m) in his current deal.
For a player in his prime at the age of 27, it could be a price well worth paying for an ambitious club like West Ham.
Per Sky, there are other suitors for Tah, although it hasn’t been revealed who they are. In recent days, he has also been linked with Tottenham by other sources in Germany.
Bayer Leverkusen haven’t given up hope of keeping the Germany international. But there isn’t much that Xabi Alonso’s side can do while the release clause is still active.
West Ham to add European experience with Tah transfer
Therefore, West Ham could be waiting to pounce. If they win the Conference League, they will go into next season’s Europa League – a competition Tah has clearly proven himself in.
If not, they won’t have any European football on offer next season, whereas Bayer Leverkusen will be in the Europa League again after Alonso guided them to sixth in the Bundesliga standings.
It remains to be seen how Tah would feel about the chance to play in the Premier League for the first time. To date, he has spent his entire career representing German clubs.
Bayer Leverkusen signed him in 2015 after he had been on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf from Hamburger SV. Since then, he has made more than 300 appearances for the club – including 47 in 2022-23, more than any other campaign that came before.
Tah, who stands at 6 ft 5 in tall, is also a full Germany international with 16 senior caps to his name.
West Ham began addressing their defence in last summer’s transfer window, signing Nayef Aguerd and Thilo Kehrer. The former’s start to life at the London Stadium was disrupted by injuries, though.
All in all, West Ham’s defensive record in the 2022-23 Premier League was actually four goals worse than it had been in 2021-22.
Therefore, they might be ready to get back into the market to see how they can upgrade further at the back.