Premier League outfit West Ham United are prepared to trigger the €9m option they have on Paris St-Germain shot-stopper Alphonse Areola to take him to the London Stadium on a permanent basis, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.
The 29-year-old spent much of the 2021/22 campaign behind Lukasz Fabianski in the pecking order under David Moyes, making 18 appearances in all competitions for the Hammers but appearing just once in the Premier League.
However, he did play a considerable part in their Europa League run to the semi-final before their defeat against Frankfurt at the start of May, though his future remained unclear at that point.
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Despite having a £6m offer rejected last summer, West Bromwich Albion shot-stopper Sam Johnstone continued to be linked with a move to the English capital with the 29-year-old available as a free agent as things stand.
Fellow England international Nick Pope was also reported to be on the Hammers’ radar, though they now look set to address their goalkeeping department internally with loanee Areola’s permanent option set to be triggered according to Romano.
The journalist also revealed that the Premier League side will contact the Frenchman’s agents this week as they look to seal this deal quickly – dealing a blow to Fulham who were reportedly interested in a reunion with the shot-stopper.
Considering he was already accustomed to life at Craven Cottage because of his time with the club during the 2020/21 campaign, this would have been a good addition and considering the price West Ham look set to recruit him for, he is perhaps one of the cheaper candidates to take over from Marek Rodak.
Also already used to life in London because of these spells with the Cottagers and the Hammers, it may not have been a difficult task for the former to lure him back. With Marco Silva also able to offer him more first-team football than Moyes, they may have even won the race for his signature if the two were in similar positions to recruit him.
In an intelligent move from the Hammers, they have given themselves the advantage of having a permanent option on his deal, though Silva’s side should be keeping one eye on this situation in case talks break down.
Ideally though, the Cottagers need a shot-stopper in as soon as possible to allow him to get a full pre-season of football under his belt at the Cottage, enabling him to settle in and perhaps hit the ground running right from the start of 2022/23.
That could be crucial in helping to keep them afloat in the top flight beyond next term – because they could be near the bottom again and will need goalkeeping mistakes to be kept to a minimum if they are to finish above the drop zone.