Why West Ham should make a move for Genk right-back Joakim Maehle
According to the Guardian, West Ham have submitted a bid for a right-back believed to be Salzburg’s Rasmus Kristensen.
The Hammers manager David Moyes, who replaced Manuel Pellegrini last month, wants to target young players. Moyes’ defensive problems have intensified with Ryan Fredericks’ recent hamstring injury, leaving Pablo Zabaleta as the only option at right-back.
The report adds that West Ham have earmarked Genk’s Joakim Maehle as an alternative to Rasmus Kristensen.
Joakim Maehle, 22, has enjoyed a solid campaign with Genk in the Belgian top-flight. He has racked up four assists in 20 league appearances for Genk this season, while the right-back also performed well in the six Champions League games.
Speaking about West Ham’s options at right-back, Ryan Fredericks has really disappointed since joining from Fulham on a free transfer in the summer of 2018.
With Fredericks sidelined with a hamstring injury, Pablo Zabaleta has become Moyes’ undisputed starter at right-back. Zabaleta turned 35 earlier this month and his contract at West Ham expires in the summer. If the east Londoners don’t hand him an extension, he’ll leave the club on a free transfer.
Thus, there’s a clear need for the Hammers to reinforce the right-back position and interest in Joakim Maehle does make sense. Maehle has averaged 3.3 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, 1.7 clearances and 0.7 blocks in the Champions League this season. He has registered 0.8 key passes and 2.2 dribbles per match. [Courtesy: WhoScored]
As far as Zabaleta is concerned, he has averaged 1.9 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 1.7 clearances and 0.3 blocks in the Premier League. The Argentinean has registered 0.3 key passes and 0.2 dribbles per match. [Courtesy: WhoScored]
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Barring the interception stat, Maehle trumps Zabaleta in every other area concerned. All in all, the stats prove that Maehle would be a straight upgrade over the ageing Argentinean at West Ham.
Zabaleta has done a decent job this season but he is not a long-term solution at right-back for West Ham. He is 35 and is out of contract at the end of the current season.
Maehle, on the other hand, is a promising right-back and at 22 years old, could be a long-term solution to West Ham’s right-back problem. Thus, it would be wise to land the Dane from Genk before the transfer window slams shut.