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West Ham working on deal to sign defender Nayef Aguerd from Rennes

By Jacob Steinberg
Nayef Aguerd stretches to win the ball from Kelechi Iheanacho during Rennes’ Europa Conference League game at home to Leicester.
Nayef Aguerd stretches to win the ball from Kelechi Iheanacho during Rennes’ Europa Conference League game at home to Leicester. Photograph: Stéphane Mahé/Reuters

West Ham are working on a deal to sign the Rennes defender Nayef Aguerd. David Moyes wants to add a left-sided centre-back and has identified Aguerd as a key target.

West Ham made a move for the Morocco international last summer but were unable to prise him away from Rennes. They have remained interested in the 26-year-old, who has been a solid performer in Ligue 1 this season, and are expected to make a stronger push. An offer in the region of £20m could be enough to convince Rennes to sell.

Moyes would like to strengthen his defence despite having four senior centre-backs. Injuries have hurt West Ham this season. Angelo Ogbonna has been out since November with a serious knee injury and Kurt Zouma has had two spells on the sidelines. Craig Dawson was West Ham’s only fit centre-back when they lost to Chelsea last month, with Issa Diop ruled out with an ankle injury.

It is likely that West Ham, who reached the Europa League semi-finals, will need to shift one centre-back to make space for Aguerd. Diop, who has had an inconsistent campaign, could be sold for the right price.

West Ham have looked at several centre-backs in recent months. They admire Lille’s Sven Botman but are aware that the Netherlands international is likely to be targeted by some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Moyes has also looked at Nottingham Forest’s Joe Worrall and has continued to monitor James Tarkowski, who is set to leave Burnley on a free.

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However other clubs are further down the line with Tarkowski. The centre-back is 29 and West Ham’s preference is to sign a younger player. Aguerd, who is left-footed and has slotted in at left-back at times, could fit the bill.

West Ham are also searching for additions in midfield. Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips and Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse are names on Moyes’s list. West Ham made an unsuccessful attempt to sign Phillips in January but the England international could be available if Leeds go down.

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Dive Deeper:
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