West Ham United are falling behind in the race to sign Jan Bednarek this summer.
What’s the talk?
That’s according to a report by The Athletic, who claim that, despite the interest of both West Ham and Leicester City, it is Aston Villa who are now leading the race for the Southampton centre-back’s signing over the remainder of the summer transfer window.
The report goes on to state that Steven Gerrard is now in advanced talks with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side over a deal believed to be worth around €15m (£13m) for the 26-year-old, after Villa had initially attempted to secure the defender on a season-long loan.
Moyes must act fast
Considering just how impressive Bednarek was as a part of a largely underperforming Southampton side last season, it is not difficult to understand why all three of West Ham, Villa and Leicester would be interested in a move for the Poland international this summer.
Indeed, over his 31 Premier League appearances in 2021/22, the £25.5m-rated centre-back was in imperious form in the heart of the Saints’ backline. He helped his team keep seven clean sheets, along with making 2.3 interceptions, one tackle and 4.5 clearances and winning 4.5 duels (at a success rate of 62%) per game.
Let’s compare those figures to Kurt Zouma, who was West Ham’s best-performing centre-back last season.
Over the Frenchman’s 24 Premier League outings in 2021/22, he helped his side to keep five clean sheets, along with making 1.4 interceptions, 0.5 tackles and 5.5 clearances and winning 2.8 duels (at a success rate of 59%) per match.
The £20k-per-week Southampton defender also chipped in for his team in attack, scoring four goals and creating one big chance for his team-mates, in addition to completing 38.1 passes (at a success rate of 82%), playing 2.8 long balls and taking 0.6 shots per game.
These returns saw the “outstanding” 26-year-old average an impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.94, ranking him as Hasenhuttl’s third-best player in the English top flight last season.
As such, with Bednarek quite clearly being solid at the back, a threat going forwards and a bargain for a reported asking price at roughly £12.5m below his current market valuation, it is not difficult to see why Moyes has taken an interest in the centre-back.
However, with Villa very much looking to be leading the race for the 42-cap international, the West Ham boss must act quickly if he wishes to give himself the best possible chance of stealing the Poland defender away from Gerrard’s grasp in the coming days.