West Ham United are the only club in ‘genuine negotiations’ for Juventus outcast Daniele Rugani.
That’s according to new claims emerging from Italy overnight.
West Ham’s interest in Rugani was revealed by Italian transfer guru Gianluca Di Marzio earlier this week.
West Ham boss David Moyes is desperate for defensive reinforcements and has been linked with a host of players.
Have West Ham switched attentions to Juve outcast?
The Hammers appear to have given up on James Tarkowski and Wesley Fofana.
And according to Sportitalia, Rugani appears to be the alternative.
The Italian media outlet claims West Ham are the only club in ‘genuine negotiations’ with Juventus for the 26-year-old centre-back, as also reported by Football Italia.
But they say only West Ham have started the ball rolling on talks.
Hammers the only club in ‘genuine negotiations’ for Rugani – report
Juventus have told West Ham’s co-owner and transfer negotiator David Sullivan that they want at least £16 million plus bonuses for Rugani.
That looks decent business considering Tarkowski and Fofana would cost the Hammers more than double that amount.
But Juventus have dismissed that as a possibility.
Rugani was once a highly-rated young defender, enjoying great success on loan at Empoli in Serie B.
He has seven caps for Italy.
But in truth he has never truly realised his potential having struggled to cement a place in the Juventus team over the last five years.
What do we know about Rugani? The pros and cons
Rugani is a described as a tall, tactically versatile, and physically strong centre-back. He is good in the air, both defensively and offensively – with 12 goals from 182 senior appearances for Empoli and Juve.
He is known in particular for his anticipation, intelligence, and marking ability.
But worryingly – and perhaps an indication as to why he has struggled to establish himself in the Juventus side – Rugani lacks pace and mobility.
That could cause him problems in the Premier League – much like it has Fabian Balbuena.
But not getting in one of the best teams in Europe and playing for West Ham are two very different things. Just ask Angelo Ogbonna, who – at £8 million – has proven one of the club’s best value signings of the last decade.