Hammers boss Slaven Bilic is already in the process of building a West Ham side capable of an assault on Europe next season, and furthermore bettering last season’s 7th-place finish in the Premier League as they prepare to bed down at their new Olympic Stadium home.
To this end, the Croatian has already added to his wide options with the signings of Sofiane Feghouli from La Liga side Valencia and Gokhan Tore on a loan spell from his former club Besiktas.
Now Bilic is looking to add extra potency to his midfield and has singled out 25-year old Juventus midfielder Roberto Pereyra as a target, with an enquiry having been made according to the Daily Mail and Sport Mediaset in Italy.
The versatile Argentinian is mostly deployed on the left-wing, but can treble up as a second striker or attacking midfielder. Pereyra has been capped for Argentina on ten occasions, including making the final cut for the Albiceleste at the 2015 Copa America. However since his initial loan-spell in Turin in 2014/15, in which he appeared on 52 occasions (the most for any Juve player that season tied with Claudio Marchisio and Leonardo Bonucci), he has found the going much tougher under Massimo Allegri since making his loan move from Udinese a permanent one, with only 13 Serie A appearances last season in an injury-stricken campaign.
Now given Juve’s signing of Miralem Pjanic for £32m frm Serie A rivals Roma, Pereyra may be deemed surplus to requirements in Turin and a move away seems highly likely. The prospect of first-team football and the lure of the Premier League may benefit the Hammers therefore in their pursuit of the midfielder, with Napoli another club interested in acquiring his services.
If Bilic were to play Pereyra in his preferred left-wing position, he may provide strong back-up for Dimitri Payet if the Hammers are able to hold onto the Frenchman, or were the Reunion-born midfielder to leave, he could be a very solid replacement. Though if Bilic persists with three up front, he may opt to deploy Pereyra on the left side of his midfield and a great partnership with Payet on the left may be likely.
Pereyra certainly has the creative spark to do a job for the Hammers having drawn comparisons to Juve’s former Italian-Argentine winger Mauro Camoranesi. Besides his versatility, Pereyra is known for his pace, dynamism and stamina. Thus not only would he provide a threat going forward, but were he to be played out wide his hard-work ethic would do well for West Ham by way of tracking back and supporting his full-back. His technical ability and vision for a pass would also add much to Bilic’s side, either in feeding balls in behind directly to the forwards, or in sending the wingers away with a good final ball. Were he to feature in a more advanced role, his pace and trickery would enable him to do a job by way of escaping defenders with his pace, and either cutting in on his stronger right-foot or providing service to a tall forward such as Andy Carroll or Enner Valencia.
He is undoubtedly more of a creator than a goalscorer, with only four Serie A goals to his name for the Old Lady, though his eight goals for former club Udinese suggest that the Argentine can chip in by getting on the scoresheet every so often. He is an opportunist in front of goal, as shown by his cool finish in the pre-season TIM Trophy tournament in 2014 against Sassuolo, pouncing on a miscued clearance by Francesco Magnanelli, but he fills the role of provider over finisher therefore Irons fans shouldn’t expect a goalscoring impact akin to that of Payet.
He has however developed into a well-rounded, adaptable midfielder during his time in Italy, and he has a winner’s mentality having won two consecutive Serie A titles in the famous black and white stripes. West Ham need a player of this mind to really push on and make themselves a consistent top eight club, and indeed contenders for Europe in future. His versatility would make him an ideal utility man to slot into other roles in midfield if the squad is thinned by injuries or suspensions, but he has all the qualities necessary to feature as a creative lynch-pin in the midfield to relieve the pressure on Mark Noble as the main pass-master, and really make that left-midfield or left-wing role his own at the Olympic Stadium.
His loan was bought out by Juventus for 14 million euros, therefore fans can expect an asking price of roughly £10m from the Turin club should Allegri sanction a move away from Italy. At 25 Pereyra would not only be an immediate asset for West Ham but his experience and age, plus the fact he is edging into his prime would also make him a great signing for the future, and he could be expected to grace the Hammers’ midfield for several years to come. In football terms he may be quite a bargain too, and an addition West Ham United would certainly be wise to make.
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