Why West Ham should go all out to sign Taulant Xhaka in January
Back in December 2016, a report from Sun had claimed that West Ham were interested in signing FC Basel midfielder Taulant Xhaka, but no deal materialised during the 2017 January transfer window.
Taulant Xhaka, 28, began his career at FC Basel after breaking through the Under-21s side in 2010 and has been a regular in the first-team since the 2013-14 season.
The Albanian international has played mostly as a midfielder for the Swiss side but can operate as a central defender and has also played at full-back. Considering his consistent performances for Basel over the last few years, West Ham should consider reigniting their interest in Xhaka.
West Ham were quite active during the summer transfer window as they made some exciting signings. In Sebastien Haller, Pablo Fornals and Albian Ajeti, the Hammers brought in some very good attack-minded players. However, they still are short in the central midfield department.
Mark Noble is ageing and the likes of Jack Wilshere and Carlos Sanchez cannot be relied upon because of their injury problems. That leaves Declan Rice as the only central midfielder. Hence, it makes sense for West Ham to reinforce their midfield in January in a bid to strengthen their top-six hopes.
In that regard, Taulant Xhaka would be a good fit at the London Stadium. He is a fine midfield player who prefers to play in defensive midfield but is capable of operating as a box-to-box midfielder. The Albanian international is a technically-gifted, hardworking and tenacious player with a good range of passing.
The 28-year-old is a leader in the middle of the park and is a good organiser of his team. A robust tackler, Xhaka picks up bookings for his aggression and bad temper, similar to his younger brother Granit. He can read the game, make vital interceptions and have a pop at goal from distance if space is provided.
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All in all, Xhaka is good enough to make a mark in the Premier League. He has good European experience and can certainly be a good addition to the West Ham squad.
Thus, West Ham shouldn’t hesitate in signing Xhaka from Basel during the January transfer window.