West Ham set to battle Aston Villa for former Arsenal midfielder who wants Premier League return

Date published: Sunday 29th January 2023 6:49 - Harry Watkinson

AS Monaco v Olympique de Marseille - Stade Louis II, Monaco - November 13, 2022 Olympique de Marseille's Matteo Guendouzi during the warm up before the match

West Ham have reportedly joined Aston Villa in pursuit of Marseille midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, who wants to leave the French club before the window closes.

David Moyes allegedly sees the former Arsenal man as someone who could bolster their options in the middle of the park, after his team have struggled for consistency this season.

It is believed that Aston Villa will continue to pursue Guendouzi, so this is a deal that could go right down to the wire.

That is according to French outlet L’Equipe, who claim that West Ham are pushing hard to sign the centre midfielder amid interest from Unai Emery’s side.

The Hammers are definitely in need of reinforcements in that area, given that star man Declan Rice is being heavily linked with a move away from the club at the end of the season. 

Guendouzi could also have a big impact on West Ham’s current campaign. As mentioned, Moyes’ team have struggled to find consistent form this season, winning just five of their 20 opening league games.

As a result, the London side currently find themselves just one point outside the relegation zone, so any quality additions they make could be key to their future in the Premier League.

They have already brought in Brazilian defender Luizao and former Villa centre-forward Danny Ings, which at the time looked like good business.

However, Ings picked up an injury on his debut and is now expected to be out of action for several weeks. Therefore, some more new faces definitely wouldn’t go amiss at the London stadium.

At the age of 23, Guendouzi has already racked up just under 250 appearances in his career and has time on his side to continue developing.

The midfielder has been particularly impressive since leaving the Gunners on a permanent deal last summer, having spent the previous campaigns on loan with Marseille and Hertha Berlin.

Guendouzi has made 81 appearances in total for the French side, contributing nine goals and 18 assists, helping him to reclaim a spot in the Didier Deschamps France squad, making one appearance against Morocco in the World Cup.

Transfermarkt value the former Arsenal man at £25m, but with both Villa and the Hammers leaving Marseille so little time to find a replacement, it is believed that an even higher offer would be required for them to sell.

Villa have done some smart business this January, with Emery bringing in Real Betis left-back Alex Moreno, along with promising centre-forward Jhon Duran. 

The Midlands club have been in good form since the Spanish coach’s arrival, winning five of their seven league matches with their new boss in charge.

Indeed, Emery is already acquainted with Guendouzi after their time at Arsenal together, so that may give Villa a slight advantage in negotiations.

Nevertheless, money talks in football. So it will ultimately come down to which club stumps up the biggest offer for Guendouzi. That is, if Marseille are willing to sell so close to end of the window.

READ MORE: Newcastle agree deal to sign highly-rated West Ham youngster as Howe plans for future domination

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