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West Ham fans should not turn their noses up at Shane Duffy because he could be their answer to Jonny Evans
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West Ham fans should not turn their noses up at Shane Duffy because he could be their answer to Jonny Evans

West Ham United fans have been divided over the potential signing of Shane Duffy from Brighton.

Read: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised’ ExWHUemployee tells all on West Ham’s interest in Prem star

The likes of The Argus, The Irish Independent and insider ExWHUemployee have all reported West Ham’s interest in the 28-year-old.

The response to the speculation has been mixed among Hammers supporters.

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Fans divided over West Ham interest in Duffy

Some feel Duffy’s experience and committed defensive style is just what West Ham need.

Especially since West Ham had the fifth worst defence in the top flight last season.

Others believe West Ham should be aiming higher than Brighton’s cast offs and cite Duffy’s lack of pace and age as concerns.

But West Ham fans doubting whether Duffy would be a good signing should consider that the Republic of Ireland International could well turn out to be their answer to Jonny Evans.

After nine years at Manchester United, Evans was moved on as many pundits and fans highlighted a lack of ‘Premier League pace’ for his failure to ever truly establish himself at Old Trafford.

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Why Hammers supporters should not turn their noses up at Irishman

But the Ulsterman has proved the doubters wrong, going on to make a name for himself as one of the best centrebacks in the country.

While young West Ham defender Issa Diop suffers frustrating dips in form, 32-year-old Evans is like a fine wine getting better with age.

After starring for West Brom, Evans has been one of Leicester’s key players having missed out on a shock move to Manchester City.

At 28 Duffy could be a West Ham centre half for at least the next three or four years.

He would be a good example for the likes of Diop and West Ham’s other emerging academy defenders.

And he would also make an excellent partner for Angelo Ogbonna, who is 32 himself.

Signing Duffy would give David Moyes a genuine option to play three at the back, a formation he likes and one Duffy is well used to from his time at Brighton.

According to football data experts, there isn’t much in it when it comes to the statistics of Evans and Duffy.

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Stats show there is not much in it between Duffy and Prem star Evans

Evans (46) played more matches than Duffy (21) last season. And he averaged 1.3 tackles. 1.5 interceptions, 0.9 fouls, 4.5 clearances, 0.3 dribbles, 0.5 blocks and won 3.3 aerial battles per game.

Duffy averaged 0.9 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, 0.7 fouls, 3.7 clearances, 0.6 dribbles, 0.4 blocks and won 3.7 aerial duels per game.

Evans scored an own goal and managed one at the right end as well as an assist. But he was also sent off once and booked eight times.

Duffy did not put any in his own net and managed a goal himself. And the West Ham target received only two yellows all season, impressive for a central defender.

Overall Evans had an average match rating of 6.90 to Duffy’s 6.71.

Both Fabian Balbuena and Winston Reid are expected to depart this summer. So West Ham will have to sign at least one new central defender.

Moyes has made it clear he is prioritising improving his backline and told The Evening Standard he prefers older centrebacks with more experience.

The Scot has been told he must sell to buy this summer (Claret & Hugh).

So far only Tomas Soucek has been signed with the club making his move from Slavia Prague permanent.

West Ham have been linked with a host of players from the Championship. Moyes is said to be interested in a host of young stars from the second tier.

They include the likes of Eberechi Eze, Said Benrahma, Ollie Watkins, Antonee Robinson, Rico Henry, Ryan Manning and Matty Cash.

Read: Pundit suggests ‘tempting’ West Ham would beat Leeds to £25m signing