West Ham identify £26m Serie A star as their ideal Soucek successor, but January deal will be difficult

Harry Watkinson
West Ham linked Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli
West Ham linked Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli

West Ham are reportedly considering an ambitious move for Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli as David Moyes eyes a replacement for Tomas Socuek.

Socuek has been one of the Hammer’s most important players in the Moyes era. He has made 167 appearances under the manager overall, scoring 26 goals and making nine assists in the process.

Soucek is still only 28, but reports from Italy suggest that West Ham are keen to bring in a new midfielder to replace him.

The Czech Republic international’s contract with the Hammers is set to expire at the end of the season, but they do have the option to extend it by another year.

Nevertheless, Moyes could opt to sell him sooner rather than later to ensure that West Ham get a decent fee for his services.

Now, according to Tutto Juve, West Ham have ‘taken notice’ of Locatelli’s good performances this season and are interested in signing him. He has previously been linked with Arsenal and Brighton.

Locatelli signed for Juventus from Sassuolo in 2021 on a two-year loan with an option to buy, before the switch was made permanent for €30m (approx. £26.1m) in July this year.

READ MORE: Big Weekend: Manchester United v Manchester City, Liverpool’s left-back, Iraola, West Ham

The 25-year-old is undoubtedly one of Juve’s best players. He has made 101 appearances for the Serie A side to date, scoring four goals and making eight assists in the process, and his form has earned him a regular spot in the Italy national team.

With that in mind, he could be exactly the kind of player West Ham need to take them to the next level, and could fit in well with other new signings like Mohammed Kudus and James Ward-Prowse.

It’s worth noting, however, that Locatelli’s agent said in a recent interview that the midfielder is happy in Turin.

“The possibility of leaving [during the summer window] was never concrete. Manuel has always wanted to stay at Juventus and has never considered other destinations.”

He also discussed the idea of Locatelli signing a new contract with Juventus. His current deal is set to expire in June 2026

“There is the will of both parties to continue together. Then with due time we’ll try to get this [contract extension] done.”

It will therefore require a big offer from West Ham for Juventus to even consider selling Locatelli, so it will be interesting to see if they test the Italian side’s resolve in the January window.

DON’T MISS: Moyes insists he had ‘leeway’ to make changes in defence of team selection after rare European loss