West Ham are leading the race to sign Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby, according to reports, but face competition from two other Premier League sides.
Diakhaby is a former France youth international who is still in the earlier years of his career at the age of 24. He has played for Valencia since 2018, when they signed him from Lyon. In the three seasons since then, he has made just shy of 100 appearances in all competitions.
Two years remain on his contract at the Mestalla, but he does not want to sign a renewal. Therefore, this summer may be the optimum time for them to cash in, before his value decreases.
In the process, Diakhaby could end up in the Premier League. According to Mundo Deportivo (via Football Espana), he has admirers at West Ham, Leicester and Newcastle.
Of the trio, West Ham currently have the advantage and are further down the line in their pursuit. Signing a new defender would be useful for them ahead of a campaign that will involve European football, stretching David Moyes’ squad to the limit.
They have signed Craig Dawson on a permanent basis after his positive loan spell from Watford, but released fellow defender Fabian Balbuena. Therefore, they could do with one more centre-back.
Diakhaby could be their man, but they will have to fend off rival interest from Leicester and Newcastle.
Leicester also have Europa League football on offer, so they could be another attractive option. On the other hand, Newcastle may be able to offer him more regular playing time if they can stump up the cash required.
Newcastle are yet to make a signing for their first team this summer. Steve Bruce will be hoping for some reinforcements before the window closes.
Diakhaby is available for around £18m this summer and all three of his Premier League suitors are capable of paying it, as per the report.
West Ham in Zouma talks
Another defender West Ham are looking at is Kurt Zouma from London rivals Chelsea.
Zouma was recently proposed as a makeweight to Sevilla in Chelsea’s attempts to sign Jules Kounde. However, the La Liga club would prefer other options in return for the highly-rated centre-back.
In turn, Zouma will also have other suitors, including those that would allow him to stay in the Premier League.
According to Sky Sports, West Ham have opened talks with Chelsea over the possibility of signing the 26-year-old, who could cost more than £20m.
It remains to be seen if their plan is to sign two defenders or if Diakhaby will have to look elsewhere should Zouma make the move to the London Stadium.
There are also clubs who could take him back to his native France. Thus, the Valencia man will be weighing up all his options.
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