West Ham: Moyes dismisses Kone speculation; striker linked; midfielder losing sleep over form
Sunderland boss David Moyes has spoken out to deny rumours that defender Lamine alone could be on his way to West Ham after reports that they could activate his release clause, instead insisting that the release clause is higher and he wants to find a replacement before allowing the defender to leave. Moyes told the media:
“There is a release clause, but it’s not at the price which has been quoted – it is at more than £18 million. If anything happens, we have to be prepared and ready. If Lamine had gone in the summer, it would have been very hard to find replacements. It will still be very difficult if Lamine goes, although I have to stress I haven’t heard anything and we’ll have to wait and see. If there is an offer, we’ll judge it on its merits. We received a good offer in the summer but we couldn’t find anybody suitable as a replacement.”
Kone is a key target for Slaven Bilic as he looks to improve his defence and adapt his squad to playing three at the back.
Another key area for improvement is up front, and the Sun claim that the Hammers could compete with Liverpool for 25-year-old Gregoire Deffrel. The Frenchman currently plays for Sassuolo in Serie A and has 10 goals in 23 appearances to his name already this season, compared to 17 goals in 15 games for the entire West Ham squad.
Jurgen Klopp is also tracking the striker but may prioritise a move for a defender, which would allow West Ham to sneak ahead and try to launch an early January move for the forward.
However, he may be put off by the club’s poor start to the season, something which Cheikhou Kouyate clearly hasn’t enjoyed as he told Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure:
“It is the first time I have been in a relegation scrap and it is not nice. You are stressed a lot more, playing but also following the results of the other teams at the bottom of the table. I hope we get out of it quickly because I have to admit, I have not been sleeping well recently. It is big surprise because, for me, the team is better than last season but we are not very lucky, we have a lot of injuries, it does not stop. There are times like that where nothing goes well and you have to stay together. Fortunately, the table is very tight and we can quickly climb if we get back to back wins.”
The midfielder has become a key player this campaign and has also figured in a defensive role during the current injury crisis at the back, where he has maintained his high quality performances.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Craig Ballantyne.