This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Premier League side West Ham United have identified AFC Bournemouth centre-back Lloyd Kelly as a target to pursue during the January transfer window, according to The Telegraph.
The 23-year-old has been a regular starter for the Cherries this term, taking over the skipper duties from Steve Cook in the latter’s absence and forming a formidable partnership at the heart of defence with Gary Cahill earlier in the season.
They were responsible for conceding just once in their opening eight away league games of this season, with Kelly’s absence coinciding with a downturn in their defensive record, something the former England youth international will want to put right as they look to secure automatic promotion to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
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However, the centre-back may already be provided with a route back to the top flight even without getting promoted with the Cherries, with West Ham reportedly joining Newcastle United in the race for his signature.
The Hammers are also understood to be interested in Queens Park Rangers’ Rob Dickie and Middlesbrough’s Dael Fry as two other options to replace long-term absentee Angelo Ogbonna next month, with David Moyes seemingly scanning the EFL to mitigate the effects of the Italian’s injury.
Focusing more on Bournemouth’s Kelly, we asked three of our writers at Football League World if he would be a good signing for the East Midlands side – and whether he’s a much-needed addition at the London Stadium.
This would be a great signing and considering the Hammers are competing in both the Premier League and the Europa League, Kelly would be a great addition to the squad.
The left-sided centre-back is versatile, quick and very composed on the ball, an accomplished modern defender who is destined to play in the Premier League again.
I am a big fan of Kelly, he has been nurtured well by Bournemouth and was an impressive England youth international.
With the best days of Craig Dawson and Angelo Ogbonna behind them, Kelly would definitely be a smart signing for West Ham, it would be a blow to the Cherries’ promotion push but you cannot begrudge the 23-year-old the opportunity to play in Europe.
West Ham have recruited very well from the EFL in recent years with the likes of Aaron Cresswell, Michail Antonio, Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma all representing excellent business, bringing in Kelly would be a continuation of that.
This would be an excellent signing by the Hammers.
West Ham seem to be in somewhat of an injury crisis when it comes to their centre-backs, but that is not why a move for Kelly would be a good one.
The 23-year-old is an excellent footballer from a technical perspective, and he is a calm and composed figure when bringing the ball out from the back and progressing the play.
His distribution also matches his ability on the ball, and he can help start attacks with his precise and crisp passing.
He also has the physical abilities that are required to succeed as a centre-back, whilst his intelligence and reading of the game is already at top-tier level.
Kelly also captains his side, displaying his leadership at an early age – another string to his bow.
I think it would be a great signing for the Hammers as they are in need of a younger left-sided centre-back.
Kelly is arguably already ready to step up to Premier League level and would certainly have a choice to make if the Irons came calling.
However, Bournemouth would demand a lot of money for him because of the length of time that he has on his contract.
I don’t think the Cherries would let him leave midway through the season either, so this could be tough for West Ham.
I can’t see Kelly moving on anytime soon.