West Ham eye move for Mainz centre-back Moussa Niakhate

West Ham are eyeing a summer move for Mainz centre-back Moussa Niakhate, but face competition from Premier League rivals Newcastle United and Everton.

Moussa Niakhate

A Valenciennes youth product, Moussa Niakhate, 26, played 72 times for the senior team before joining FC Metz in 2017. After just a season with FC Metz, he was snapped up by German club Mainz in July 2018.

The former France youth international quickly became a key figure at the heart of the Mainz defence, turning up 33 times in the Bundesliga in his debut campaign. He has been one of Mainz’s leaders since the 2019/20 campaign and has racked up close to 130 appearances across all competitions so far, registering eight goals and four assists in the process.

With less than a year remaining on his contract at Mainz, Niakhate is available for a cut-price £8 million this summer. This season, the 26-year-old defender has made 26 appearances across competitions for the club, scoring three goals. With the Frenchman set to enter the final year of his contract after the current season, a move away from MEWA Arena looks likely.

Meanwhile, West Ham are in the mix to finish amongst the European spots in the Premier League. David Moyes’ side are currently sixth in the league, three points off fourth-placed Tottenham, who have one game in hand. They are above Manchester United due to a better goal difference, with the Red Devils also having a game in hand over the Hammers.

David Moyes wants to bolster his centre-back options

West Ham boss David Moyes wants to add a central defender to his squad ahead of the 2022/23 campaign. Angelo Ogbonna is a long-term casualty having sustained an ACL injury during West Ham’s Premier League victory over Liverpool last November.

While Moyes went on to claim the defender would not play again this term, there’s an outside chance of the Italian defender returning to the fray before the end of the season in May. As things stand, though, the Hammers boss has had to rotate Kurt Zouma, Issa Diop and Craig Dawson at the back in the Premier League and the Europa League.

Moussa Niakhate would be a snip at £8 million

With West Ham keen on signing a centre-back as a cover for Ogbonna, Moussa Niakhate is a player worth considering.

Standing at 6ft 3in tall, Niakhate is a robust, powerful and tough-tackling centre-back who can also operate at left-back when required. He is strong in the air and possesses a good turn of pace that helps him while making recovery runs. The Frenchman may not be a very good passer of the ball but his physical attributes and speed make up for it. Due to his physicality and no-nonsense defending, the ex-Metz man would certainly fit the mould of a David Moyes signing.

Niakhate’s arrival would add much-needed strength in depth in defence next season, whilst being a long-term replacement for the ageing Ogbonna. If Moyes and the West Ham board are serious about improving the entire squad in the next transfer window, then Niakhate at just £8million is a no-brainer.

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