Monday, January 30, 2023

West Ham: Ounahi can replace Soucek

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West Ham are reportedly interested in signing Azzedine Ounahi after the midfielder’s sensational performances at the World Cup and the Moroccan could be the man to replace Tomas Soucek in David Moyes‘ side.

According to the Mail, West Ham, Wolves and Leicester City are all keen on the Angers star, who is expected to cost around £40m after bursting onto the scene in Qatar.

With his side currently bottom of the French top-flight ahead of its resumption after Christmas, a transfer could definitely be on the cards for Ounahi in January, but he will have to replicate his performances for his country rather than his club if he is going to be a success at the London Stadium.

The 22-year-old was a revelation for the Atlas Lions as they sensationally reached the semi-finals of the World Cup, before defeat against France brought an end to their spectacular run.

Ounahi would play a big part in the historical wins over Spain and Portugal, earning 7.13 and 7.2 ratings from WhoScored for his performances against tough European opposition.

This led legendary manager Jose Mourinho to sing his praises, as he described the midfielder’s displays in Qatar as “jaw-dropping,” which certainly bodes well for any interested clubs in January, given some of the talents that the Portuguese manager has had at his disposal in his career.

Should Ounahi complete a £40m move to West Ham in next month’s transfer window, it could be bad news for Soucek, who has, this season, struggled to replicate the form he showed when he first joined the Hammers.

The Czech Republic international has averaged a 6.91 rating from WhoScored so far this campaign, compared to 6.97 and 7.34 average ratings from the last two Premier League seasons, while his goal tallies are also down significantly from years gone by, finding the net once in 2022/23, compared to ten in 2020/21 and five in 2021/22.

Meanwhile, his pass success rate of 76.9% is extremely disappointing for a central midfielder. Ounahi, by comparison, has averaged an 88.6% success rate with Angers this season, which suggests that he could be a much more reliable midfield partner for Declan Rice.

The Moroccan has also averaged more shots (1.6 vs 1.1), key passes (1.2 vs 0.5) and dribbles (2.6 vs 0.1) per game this season, so signing the impressive young midfielder could help Moyes drastically improve his midfield and finally bench Soucek after his less-than-impressive start to the current campaign.



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