A major twist in new West Ham transfer link to Manchester City defender Nathan Ake which could be a gamechanger has emerged overnight.
West Ham have been linked with several defenders in the upcoming January window after the season-ending injury to Angelo Ogbonna.
Many West Ham fans and pundits totally underestimated just how much of a blow it was when Ogbonna was ruled out with an ACL injury.
Ogbonna has been a man mountain for the Hammers for years.
He is one of the big leaders in the West Ham changing room and on the pitch, just ask David Moyes and Mark Noble who have said so themselves on several occasions.
Ogbonna is class and it has become all too apparent that losing the left-footed centre-back also impacts how West Ham start their attacks on that side of the pitch.
West Ham have become ponderous and slow in possession since his injury. And it is looking increasingly unlikely that there is a quick fix from within Moyes’s current squad.
Yesterday 90Min ran an exclusive claiming West Ham are seriously interested in signing Man City benchwarmer and Dutch international Ake. The report claims Ake is now Moyes’s primary target.
The reports seem credible given Ake is a left-footed centre-back and used to play with Kurt Zouma at Chelsea.
Some have doubted whether Man City – who are seriously challenging on all fronts for major silverware – would let one of their four first team centre-backs leave.
But there is a major twist in the tale to the new link to Ake which could be a gamechanger.
That’s after it emerged Man City may only consider sanctioning the deal if they can strike an agreement with West Ham for the potential future transfer of Declan Rice.
The Hammers talisman has been incessantly linked with the likes of City, Manchester United and Chelsea for the last two years.
And 90Min claims Pep Guardiola may want to strike an arrangement to effectively have first refusal on Rice in the summer.
“West Ham are likely to pursue a loan deal until the end of the season that includes an obligation to buy – though the club are financially stable enough to land Ake on a permanent deal – and they may look to utilise the relationship head of recruitment Rob Newman has with City after his 13-year spell at the club,” 90Min reports.
“City are not particularly keen on strengthening a club they now consider to be a positional rival in the Premier League, but they may allow Ake to depart if West Ham incentivise the deal and indicate a willingness to discuss a future transfer for Declan Rice – who the Premier League champions are keen on landing next summer.”
That would surely be a game changer for West Ham? It is widely accepted that West Ham may have to sell Rice if they don’t qualify for the Champions League this season.
The Hammers have two avenues open to them on that front; finishing in the top four of the league or by winning the Europa League with David Moyes’s side now just three ties from the final.
To enter an agreement over Rice just to get Ake seems a very uneven deal.
But giving City first refusal may not be the worst idea in the world. West Ham fans would certainly rather Rice joins them over the likes of Chelsea, Man United or Liverpool if and when he does leave.