West Ham and Newcastle United have joined the list of clubs keen to sign Fenerbahce defender Attila Szalai in the January transfer window.
The centre-back, who turns 24 on Thursday, has garnered plenty of attention this season with his displays in Turkey. The Hungry international has made 17 starts among 19 top-flight appearances for the Yellow Canaries. And many top clubs have taken note.
Barcelona were linked in November last year but Chelsea seemed at the front of the queue for his signature. A report in early December claimed the Blues had all but sealed a deal for the stopper.
That was because Hungary manager Marco Rossi seemed to confirm that he was off to Stamford Bridge.
Asked about his squad, the 57-year-old Italian said: “It’s hard to name just one player, but right now I see very well Attila Szalai, who plays for Fenerbahce, but I think he is joining Chelsea.”
However, just a day later, Fenerbahce issued a rebuttal.
“The allegations regarding the transfer of our player Attila Szalai, which have been made public in the last few days, based on foreign press and social media, do not reflect the truth,” a statement read.
“Our club has not made any transfer negotiations regarding our successful football player Attila Szalai. Our player continues his work completely concentrating on the goals of our team. We present it to the public.”
That news opened the door for other clubs to get involved and the Hammers have now been linked, per Sky Sports. David Moyes is in the market for a central defender following Angelo Ogbonna’s season-ending injury.
And Szalai ticks all the boxes, as he is also a left-footed defender and is a decade younger than the Italian. But the north-east outfit are also keen.
Szalai to solve Newcastle problems
Newcastle are involved in a relegation fight after winning just one Premier League fixture this term. They have been unable to see out games from winning positions.
And that was the case again at the weekend. They let slip a 1-0 lead, with Joao Pedro bagging late on to earn Watford a point.
Eddie Howe needs to improve his rearguard if he is to prevent the Magpies revolution hitting the buffers in May. Szalai, capped 23 times by Hungary, would not break the bank.
He is valued in the region of £17m – a price that has also attracted Serie A giants AC Milan.
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