West Ham have started talks with Juventus to sign midfielder Weston McKennie.
The United States international, 23, joined Juventus from Bundesliga club FC Schalke on loan last summer before the Serie A club signed him permanently in March after an impressive first half of the season. He was one of the better performers in an otherwise underwhelming 2020/21 campaign for Juventus, registering five goals and two assists in 34 Serie A appearances.
Weston McKennie has emerged as the primary target for West Ham, as Juventus are believed to be open for offers for the 23-year-old central midfielder, even though they only signed him last year.
The Hammers, after finishing sixth last term and subsequently qualifying for the Europa League for the first time in their history, have enjoyed a positive start to the new Premier League season. David Moyes has a bigger and better squad than last time to challenge on all trophy fronts.
Declan Rice’s uncertain future at West Ham
Declan Rice is one of the most coveted midfielders in the Premier League and has become a prized asset for both club and country. The defensive midfielder’s performances over the last 12-18 months have caught the eye of several top English clubs, including Manchester United and Chelsea.
The 22-year-old midfielder starred for England in the summer’s European Championships, helping Gareth Southgate’s side reach their first major tournament final since the 1966 World Cup. Rice’s performances for the Three Lions have been followed by a fine start to this season for the Hammers, who are currently seventh on the table.
The England international’s valuation of £90m has recently seen Manchester United ditch their interest in him for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips. However, Rice, who has a contract at the London Stadium until the summer of 2024, with the option of another year, has rejected many new offers amidst interest from top-flight clubs.
Thus, West Ham do face the prospect of replacing Rice next year and the east London club have set their sights on Juventus star Weston McKennie.
Weston McKennie would be a top acquisition for the Hammers
McKennie is an extremely versatile player who can operate in various positions across the midfield and help his team. The 23-year-old’s natural position is in midfield, playing as an 8 or 6, but he has also played at centre-back during his Schalke days. A tidy passer, he likes to control the tempo of the game and influence proceedings in the final third with short and incisive passing.
The USA international could form a good partnership with Tomas Soucek and Pablo Fornals in midfield at West Ham, allowing the duo to be a threat in attack with their late runs in the box, while he could be tasked with taking care of managing the flow of the game. McKennie does his fair share of defensive duties and isn’t afraid to put a foot in when needed.
Still only 23, McKennie certainly has his best years ahead of him and he might develop into a fantastic player under the tutelage of Moyes. However, it remains to be seen how much West Ham have to splash to sign the American schemer from Juventus.
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.