West Ham transfers: Hammers tracking Premier League midfielder

Fulham midfielder and West Ham target Mario Lemina preparing for a game

The Guardian have revealed that West Ham are interested in signing Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina in the upcoming transfer window.

What's the latest news on Mario Lemina?

Lemina has spent the 2020/21 season on loan at Fulham, and is set to return to St Mary's at the end of the campaign.

However, it has been reported that he will not feature in Ralph Hasenhuttl's plans next year, and will be available for just £7m. West Ham are believed to be tracking the midfielder, and Newcastle are also keen on the 27-year-old.

How has Lemina performed at Fulham this season?

The Gabon international has featured in 25 league games for Scott Parker's side, registering a goal and an assist. His solitary goal was a memorable one, as it helped secure Fulham a rare win at Anfield back in March.

Playing at the heart of Fulham's midfield, Lemina has completed 44 tackles this term, as per WhoScored. Only Vladimir Coufal (68), Tomas Soucek (65) and Declan Rice (55) have managed more for the Hammers.

Has Lemina had success elsewhere?

Indeed he has.

Lemina spent two seasons at Juventus between 2015 and 2017 as the Bianconeri continued their dominance of Italian football.

During his time in Turin, Lemina won two league titles and two Coppa Italia trophies, whilst the side also made the Champions League final in his final season, only to lose 4-1 to Real Madrid in Cardiff.

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Would Lemina fix a growing problem for David Moyes?

He certainly could.

For much of this season, manager David Moyes has been able to rely on the combination of Rice and Soucek in central midfield. It is a partnership that has worked wonders, with Soucek not missing a game, and Rice starting each of the side's first 29 matches.

However, Rice has missed the last four games with a knee injury, and it has highlighted how stretched the Irons currently are in this area of the pitch. Moyes has had to play Mark Noble more regularly, who has been a fantastic servant for the club but turns 34 next month, and his best days seem to be behind him.

Rice has been linked with a move away this summer, and Noble has announced that he will retire in 2022, meaning that Moyes' midfield resources could become even more depleted unless they sign some players.

It's a growing problem in east London, but this is where Lemina comes in. He has gained valuable Premier League experience in recent years, and has previously played in the Champions League, a competition that West Ham could feature in next year if they finish the season strongly.

For just £7m he would be a bargain signing, providing back-up to Rice and Soucek. He could have a vital role to play if West Ham do secure European football for 2021/22, as he would give Moyes another option in midfield in what promises to be a packed schedule for the club, while in the long run he provides an insurance policy for Noble's retirement and if Rice does depart.

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