West Ham Opinion: Hammers should beat Spurs to sign Okay Yokuslu from Celta Vigo
The same report claims that the Premier League sides have scouted the 25-year-old defensive midfielder over the course of the season and they are impressed with the player’s progress.
Yokuslu completed a move to La Liga outfit Celta Vigo from Turkish Super Lig club Trabzonspor last summer for a fee of €8 million and the 25-year-old has adjusted brilliantly to the Spanish top-flight, earning rave reviews for a team that has found themselves in a relegation dogfight for large chunks of the campaign.
The Turk’s tough-tackling nature has earned him plenty of plaudits and he has been able to establish himself as a first-team regular in his debut season in Spanish football. Yokusklu has made a total of 29 appearances for Celta Vigo in the La Liga this season, scoring twice.
A youth product of Turkish second-division club Altay, Yokuslu spent six seasons in the lower leagues, playing for his boyhood club and Kayserispor before earning a move to Super Lig giants Trabzonspor in the summer of 2015.
He was an instant hit at Trabzonspor in his very first season and went on to score 10 goals from 106 appearances for the club before La Liga club Celta Vigo snapped him up last summer. And the Turk’s stock has been on the rise ever since, catching the eye with his consistently impressive performances for the lower mid-table club in Spain.
Yokuslu earned 69 caps for Turkey from U-15 to U-21 levels before finally making his senior international debut for his nation in 2015. The 25-year-old has a total of 11 senior caps under his belt till date.
Essentially a defensive midfielder by trade, Yokuslu is noted for his strength, tenacity, high levels of stamina and tough-tackling nature. He is someone who holds things together in the midfield with his uncompromised work rate and wonderful range of passing. He is a tough customer in the middle of the park and is always ready to stick his foot out to break up the play and win possession back for his team.
The 25-year-old averages 2.1 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 1.7 clearances per game, figures which are a clear testament to his ball-winning abilities. However, he tends to get a bit too rough at times and ends up getting himself into the referee’s books, having picked up 10 yellow cards in the La Liga this term.
Yokuslu’s game is not only based on his high work-rate and tough-tackling nature though, with his good technical abilities, composure in possession and impressive range of passing making him an wonderful all-around defensive midfielder. The Turk averages 46 passes per game at a pass accuracy rate of 86, including 2.7 long balls.
To put things into perspective, Okay Yokuslu has proven his worth in the La Liga and he would be a wonderful signing for both the Premier League sides in question but West Ham could bag a massive coup if they manage to beat their London rivals to his signature. The Hammers are in dire need of bringing in reinforcements in central midfield and the Turk certainly fits the bill.
West Ham need to get underwhelming and ageing stars like Carlos Sanchez and Pedro Obiang off their books to accommodate fresh faces. Declan Rice’s stellar performances in his first full season have attracted plenty of interest from the bigger club and West Ham might find it difficult to hold on to him this summer.
Even if Rice stays put, the Hammers should look to add more depth to their options in that particular area given that Mark Noble is no longer capable of playing week-in-week-out. Jack Wilshere has had plenty of injury issues and even if he is fit, he would probably play in a box-to-box attacking role rather than a defensive midfield role.
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Yokuslu is already a full international for Turkey and has excelled in the Spanish top-flight, so West Ham have every reason to look at him as a viable option in the summer transfer window. His market value is likely to have rocketed higher than before, following his heroics in the La Liga but the East Londoners do have the financial muscle to pull this off.