Why West Ham should reignite their interest in Joel Veltman in January
However, a move to East London failed to materialize for the 27-year-old because Ajax weren’t ready to let him leave after losing several of their key players this summer, despite Veltman making his intentions of playing abroad very clear. (h/t Dutch outlet NOS cited by Football London)
The versatile Dutchman, who is capable of playing at both right-back and centre-back, has been at his boyhood club for his entire career thus far, registering a total of 10 goals and 15 assists in 225 appearances across all competitions.
Veltman endured an injury-stricken campaign the last term but he returned to fitness towards the latter stages and played a key role in the club’s march to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, while also being involved in their Eredivisie triumph.
Meanwhile, West Ham have made an encouraging start to their Premier League campaign after a heavy 5-0 defeat at the hands of Man City on opening day.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side currently find themselves 8th in the standings after five games, with victories over Watford and Norwich City sandwiched by draws against Brighton and Aston Villa.
The Hammers have plenty of positives to take from how things have panned out for them in the opening stages of the season, with Sebastien Haller’s instant impact in the Premier League arguably one of the key talking points.
However, it has been quite apparent from their performances that they still have some issues to sort out at the back.
The centre-back pairing of Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna has done a fair job but the Hammers need to be aware of the fact that the latter is already 31 and they would need to bring in a younger replacement in the near future.
Furthermore, West Ham need more quality in both their full-back departments, with left-backs Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku already letting the team down on a number of occasions, while Ryan Fredericks has only been an average performer down the right.
And, with Pablo Zabaleta set to depart at the end of the season, the Hammers need to turn their attention to fresh faces in the market.
With that in mind, it would make perfect sense for West Ham to go back in the market for Joel Veltman in January and the Dutchman’s versatility to play in multiple roles across the backline could offer Pellegrini valuable cover in more than one area of the pitch.
The 20-cap Dutch international has got loads of experience at the highest level and while cutting the mustard in the Eredivisie and the Premier League are two completely different things, one would back Veltman to adapt pretty seamlessly to English football, given his well-rounded attributes as a defender.
As well as that, the Dutchman is expected to come well within West Ham’s budget and the Hammers surely won’t mind paying an affordable fee for a proven top-class defender who is very much in his prime at the ripe age of 27.
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A seasoned campaigner in the Eredivisie, as well as in Europe, Veltman certainly has the CV to be a quality addition to West Ham’s backline and reigniting interest in the 27-year-old could hand a massive boost to the club in their pursuit of European football next term.