Reports by Kicker have claimed RB Leipzig intend to block Hee-Chan Hwang from leaving the Bundesliga outfit this summer amid interest from West Ham United.
The Hammers were touted as one of a handful of potential Premier League destinations for the South Korea international by Sport1 last week, with Everton also particularly keen.
It was thought that a fee of around the €15m (£12.9m) Leipzig paid Salzburg last summer would be enough to seal a deal for Hwang, who had failed to settle in Germany.
The 25-year-old suffered with coronavirus before Christmas and has only started one Bundesliga fixture this season. But Leipzig’s alleged plan is to retain his services after scoring a match-winning goal in the DFB Pokal semi-final against Werder Bremen last Friday.
Hwang’s third goal in all competitions for Leipzig is seen to be the start of a turning point for the forward ahead of the arrival of Jesse Marsch to replace Julien Nagelsmann at the helm this summer, having struggled to establish himself under the Bayern Munich-bound coach.
Marsch was a vivid advocate of Hwang’s abilities during the attacker’s time in Salzburg, with the 34-capped international featuring 40 times across the Austrian Bundesliga, OFB Cup and Europe while offering 16 goals and 22 assists.
Marsch’s style of play, with fast interchanging movements from the forwards, is also expected to help Hwang settle at Leipzig, in a huge blow for David Moyes amid his search for attacking reinforcements at West Ham.
Leipzig blocking a route out of the Red Bull Arena for Hwang will certainly come as a blow to Moyes, having seemingly retained West Ham’s interest from the winter market (Eurosport) to consider making a move for the forward this summer.
Moyes is still in the same boat as he was in January in needing to acquire a new centre-forward to help offer support to Michail Antonio, having ultimately passed on reinvesting the funds raised from Sebastien Haller’s mid-season departure.
Hwang’s time in Germany has been far from perfect, but he arrived at Leipzig boasting a stellar record that saw the 5 ft 9 forward lauded for being ‘exceptional’ and having a ‘brutal dynamism’ to his game by former Salzburg head coach Peter Zeidler (Bundesliga.com).
The South Korean now appears to be on course to rediscover the form that saw him excel in Austria, but just not at West Ham to leave Moyes’ striker search to continue.