According to Turkish-football (h/t Football London), West Ham have scouted Lille right-back Mehmet Zeki Celik over the past couple of weeks.
Mehmet Zeki Celik, 22, joined Lille from Istanbulspor in the summer of 2018. He had a solid debut campaign with Lille, racking up a goal and five assists in 34 Ligue 1 games. The defender has enjoyed the 2019/20 Ligue 1 campaign so far as well, with the Turk bagging three assists in 28 appearances across all competitions.
The report (h/t Football London) adds Celik has also been linked with a move to Tottenham and has emerged as a potential long-term replacement for Pablo Zabaleta at West Ham. This is one of the most popular rumours that has been going around for a while now and best-loved football betting promotions are currently available for those tipsters to take a punt. This bonus code can be used to benefit either single bets or multiples, such as accumulators. We strongly recommend betting in favour of Tottenham completing this deal.
Zabaleta turned 35 last month, entering the twilight of his career. He has made nine Premier League appearances for the Hammers this season and is out of contract in June. Whether or not the former Argentina international gets an extension to his contract remains to be seen.
Ryan Fredericks, meanwhile, has struggled to establish himself at West Ham since arriving at the London Stadium on a free transfer from Fulham in the summer of 2018. He has struggled to nail down his position at right-back, managing just 19 appearances this campaign.
It is important for West Ham to improve their defence in the summer after struggling miserably, conceding 43 goals in 25 games. They are reeling in the relegation zone and in order to give the team a boost for the second half of the campaign, David Moyes brought in Darren Randolph, Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen in January.
On a bigger picture, however, Moyes must help the east Londoners retain their top-flight status. Later, the Scotsman should prioritise reinforcing West Ham’s backline in the summer. The right-back area needs to be strengthened and the Hammers should go for Mehmet Zeki Celik.
As per WhoScored, Celik has averaged 2.4 tackles, 0.9 interceptions, 1.5 clearances and 0.2 blocks in 19 Ligue 1 appearances. Going forward, he has registered three assists. As far as Zabaleta is concerned, the West Ham right-back has averaged 1.9 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 1.7 clearances and 0.3 blocks. Offensively, he is yet to contribute with a goal or an assist in nine league games. [Courtesy: WhoScored]
Though Zabaleta has better numbers in certain areas, it has to be noted that he has played lesser than Celik. Although not an instant upgrade on Zabaleta (in terms of statistics), he would be a good option to add strength to the right-back position.
Zabaleta has done a decent job at West Ham but at the age of 35, he is not a long-term solution at right-back for the club. On the contrary, Celik is 22 years old and certainly has many more years left in him than the Argentinean.
Regardless of the aforementioned numbers, this is one good reason why West Ham must consider signing the Turkish right-back from Lille.