Benfica manager Bruno Lage has admitted it was his desire to sign West Ham United goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski last month.
The 43-year-old spoke in a press conference on Monday when he made the confession, after being asked about January targets.
He said (O Jogo): “It was goalkeeper Fabianski. That’s what we’ve been considering, the criterion of looking at the great players. And, apart from injuries, he’s been one of the best in his league and in his team.
“The fans need to understand that it’s these targets that we look at and that was a situation that was over in September.”
Fabianski has been limited to just 12 appearances this season after he suffered a hip injury in October, for which he required surgery.
The Poland international’s absence has been a key reason for West Ham’s awful form over the past few months, with deputy Roberto – who is now on loan at Deportivo Alaves – having made a string of errors.
The former Arsenal man is now back fit again, and his form could be crucial in helping David Moyes guide the club to safety for a second time.
TBR’s view – Fabianski departure a non-starter
Lage’s admission is interesting but West Ham were never ever going to let the star leave, especially given the lack of quality in reserve.
The 34-year-old, who arrived in the summer of 2018 for a reported £7 million (BBC Sport), has been absolutely superb for the Irons, and scooped the club’s ‘Hammer of the Year’ award after his first season.
At the time he sustained his injury, no goalkeeper had made more saves than Fabianski since the start of the 2018/19 season (WhoScored), and now that he’s back West Ham need him on top form once again with relegation a genuine possibility.