West Ham United have been linked with many players this window, and yet have only seen two deals completed as of yet.
However, with the recent confirmation that Craig Dawson will depart from the London Stadium, a huge vacancy has opened up in their back three that must be filled.
The 32-year-old was poised to leave east London in the summer but saw a deadline day switch to Wolverhampton Wanderers halted due to an injury crisis at the back.
Do West Ham need to replace Dawson?
Summer signing Nayef Aguerd had been ruled out for the foreseeable future, and Kurt Zouma would later require knee surgery. Therefore, he stayed.
However, now that both have returned, manager David Moyes will be looking for the perfect centre-back to partner the Moroccan who truly showcased his talents at the recent World Cup.
The 26-year-old recorded three clearances and one tackle per game as they reached the semi-finals, but it was his 87% pass accuracy that truly shone.
His ability on the ball was unparalleled, and he was instrumental in their wicked transition that resulted in so many famous results.
With a similar system employed by his domestic outfit, he could benefit from the return of a purely solid centre-back to afford him the platform to showcase his talents.
That could certainly be Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykola Matviyenko, who was linked to the Irons despite engaging in talks with Brighton and Hove Albion. The Ukrainian outfit are reportedly demanding a fee of around €25m (£22m).
For blocks and clearances, there are few across Europe who can compete with his statistics. When compared to other centre-backs across the continent, for both of these metrics he ranks in the top 1%.
However, he does pair this with a fine attempt to play football. As such, he also sits in the top 7% for passes attempted.
Oleksandr Ryabokon, a football legend throughout Ukraine, was full of praise for the 26-year-old. He described him as “a stable and reliable player,” before continuing:
“In my opinion, reliability is the most important quality for a central defender. He can play as a centre-back and a left full-back. He is a smart player, he reads the game well, and he is an accurate passer.”
This was further supplemented by journalist Andrew Todos, who predicts a bright future for Matviyenko: “In my opinion, he can be world-class when he plays in a formation with three defenders.”
All the signs point towards this being a hugely successful deal should they manage to pull it through, now offering the returning Aguerd a partner with which the club can build into a more impressive future.
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