Why West Ham should go all out to sign Okay Yokuslu from Celta Vigo
Back in May, Turkish Football had claimed that West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur were interested in signing Celta Vigo midfielder Okay Yokuslu.
The Turkey international, 25, joined Celta Vigo for €8m in the summer of 2018 from Trabzonspor and settled in quickly to the Spanish top-flight establishing himself as a first-team star. He managed two goals in 32 appearances, helping Celta avoid relegation from La Liga.
Okay Yokuslu has endured an injury-hit 2019/20 campaign, managing only six appearances in the La Liga so far. Nonetheless, West Ham should reignite their interest in the 25-year-old midfielder when the transfer window reopens.
According to the Independent, West Ham have made signing a first-choice defensive midfielder their main priority in the New Year, as Manuel Pellegrini wants more protection for his side’s back-four.
They have underperformed this season and currently sit in 15th place in the Premier League table. The Hammers have managed just two wins in 12 games, with their last victory coming at Southampton over the weekend.
It’s clear the West Ham squad needs improvements if they are to stay away from the relegation zone. And prioritizing a defensive midfielder next month makes complete sense, as it has been an area where they haven’t been strong enough this season.
Declan Rice has been a consistent performer for the east Londoners, nailing down his place in Pellegrini’s starting XI.
However, Rice has lacked a reliable partner beside him in the middle of the park. Plus, West Ham also needs a long-term replacement for Mark Noble, who has shown signs of ageing this term.
To put things into perspective, Okay Yokuslu would be a smart addition to the Hammers’ midfield ranks. Yokuslu excels in breaking up play with his tackling and can also make crucial interceptions for his team.
The 25-year-old has impressive technical and dribbling abilities. He has already made quite an impression with his passing and ball distribution, which coupled with his 6ft 3in figure, makes him an intimidating presence in the middle of the park.
As per WhoScored.com, the Turkey international has made an average of 1.7 interceptions, 1.5 tackles, 2.8 clearances and 0.2 blocks, whilst registering a decent 81.1% pass success rate this season.
In the video below, one could get a glimpse of Yokuslu’s style of play and the qualities he’ll bring to West Ham if a move goes through.
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Yokuslu has performed admirably well in the La Liga since arriving from the Super Lig. The 25-year-old has the required qualities to make an instant impact in the Premier League, whilst solving one of West Ham’s biggest problems.