Why West Ham should go back in the market for Aissa Mandi in January
The Hammers had a bid turned down by Real Betis for the 28-year-old Algerian international last year, as per HITC (h/t Express), and there is a possibility that Manuel Pellegrini could possibly go back in the market to secure the services of the defender during the mid-season trading period.
Mandi was instrumental in Algeria’s triumphant Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Egypt earlier in the summer.
A youth exponent of French club Reims, Aissa Mandi accumulated a total of 169 appearances for his boyhood club in all competitions over the course of seven seasons. With 14 goals in the process, he earned a move to the La Liga with Real Betis in 2016.
The 51-cap Algerian international might not be one of the household names in Europe but he has established himself as one of the mainstays at the back for Real Betis over the past three seasons, registering a total of 120 appearances for the Spanish outfit.
Mandi has started 9 out of Betis’ first 12 La Liga fixtures this term and while the team has shipped 21 goals so far, the 28-year-old has more than held his own amidst the lacklustre performances of his counterparts at the back.
Meanwhile, West Ham have gone completely gone off the boil, following a promising start to the campaign that saw them register victories over the likes of Norwich City, Watford and Man United.
Manuel Pellegrini needs to find a way to stop the rut if the Hammers are to stay in contention for a European spot this term.
Having scored just 14 and conceded 17 in the process so far, it is pretty evident that West Ham still have plenty of issues to sort out at both ends of the pitch.
While the likes of Felipe Anderson, Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko have struggled to provide that creative spark on a regular basis, the ones at the back haven’t done a great job either.
Angelo Ogbonna has arguably been the pick of the centre-backs so far, with Issa Diop yet to hit the lofty standards that he had set for himself in the previous campaign. Fabian Balbuena still needs to improve a lot if he is to play regularly in the Premier League.
To that end, West Ham reigniting interest in Aissa Mandi could go a long way towards adding a lot more steel and depth to their central defence. The 28-year-old is in his prime and his wealth of experience would be useful.
With the Algerian’s contract at Real Betis set to expire in 2021, the Hammers should fancy their chances of negotiating a suitable fee with the La Liga club.
As per whoscored, Aissa Mandi has averaged 57 passes per game at an accuracy rate of 90.3, including 3.6 long balls, 1 tackle, 1.7 interceptions and 2.7 aerial duels per game in the La Liga this term, figures which speak volumes of his attributes as a modern-day ball-playing centre-half.
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That said, West Ham going back in the market for Aissa Mandi could possibly go a long way towards sorting out their defensive issues under Pellegrini.