Why West Ham should reignite interest in Nikola Maksimovic
According to claims from Sky Sport Italia (h/t Daily Mail), West Ham had made a £14million bid for Napoli centre-back Nikola Maksimovic before the international summer deadline. Fulham were also mentioned among the potential suitors for the Serbian powerhouse, but a move to the English capital eventually failed to materialise.
However, it has now been reported that Maksimovic could be put up for sale by Napoli when the transfer window reopens in January. The 28-year-old is out of contract in 2021 and with talks over a new deal yet to reach a positive conclusion, the centre-back’s future at the Stadio San Paolo remains up in the air.
Nikola Maksimovic recorded over 100 appearances for Sevojno, Sloboda Uzice and Red Star Belgrade in his native Serbia before earning a move to Serie A outfit Torino in the summer of 2013. He established himself as a regular starter at Torino, featuring 76 times in all competitions over the course of three seasons before joining domestic rivals Napoli in 2016.
The 28-year-old hasn’t always been a regular starter at Napoli due to stiff competition for places at the back but has still managed 73 appearances in all competitions, scoring twice. Maksimovic also had a brief loan spell at Spartak Moscow during the 2017-18 campaign. A full international for Serbia since 2012, Maksimovic has accumulated 25 caps for his nation so far.
Maksimovic would be a quality addition to West Ham’s backline
West Ham’s pursuit of a new centre-back had been well-documented throughout the summer after the Hammers conceded 62 goals en route to their 16th-place finish in the Premier League last season.
The East Londoners, though, were left frustrated in their attempts to get deals over the line for some of their top targets, with David Moyes’ side eventually signing Craig Dawson on a season-long loan deal from Watford.
Notwithstanding the fact that Dawson’s arrival at the London Stadium has somewhat eased West Ham’s defensive crisis, they would be wise enough to look at the 30-year-old only as a temporary solution. Angelo Ogbonna remains a quality player but he’s not getting any younger at 32, while Fabian Balbuena has often struggled for consistency.
To that end, the Hammers should continue their pursuit of a top-quality central defender when the transfer window reopens in January. Reigniting interest in Nikola Maksimovic would definitely be a smart idea. The Serbian international has made more than 100 career appearances in the Serie A for Torino and Napoli, while also proving his worth in the Champions League.
That, coupled with his towering 6ft 4in frame means Maksimovic has the physicality to complement his experience at the highest level, which should make it easier for him to cope with the rough-and-tough nature of the English game.
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West Ham need to look for a long-term solution to end their centre-back woes and Nikola Maksimovic ticks plenty of boxes to come through the door as a marquee addition to the club’s defensive unit.
The Serbian still has several years remaining in his prime at 28. The Hammers would be well within their rights to eye a cut-price deal for the defender in January, considering his unresolved contract situation at Napoli.