Why West Ham should take a punt on Darius Olaru to bolster their midfield
The 22-year-old, who currently plies his trade with Steaua Bucharest in his homeland, is widely regarded as one of best rising talents across the country. As per the report, the Romanian giants are willing to cash in on Olaru for a fee in the region of €10m. (Sport.ro h/t MSN)
Olaru started his professional career with Gaz Metan Medias in the Romanian second-tier during the 2015-16 season. He scored twice in 12 appearances in his debut campaign to help the club secure promotion to the top-flight. (h/t Transfermarkt)
The highly-rated central midfielder went on to play three-and-a-half seasons for Gaz Metan Medias in the Liga I. He was snapped up by domestic heavyweights FCSB in January 2019 after amassing 10 goals and 16 assists in 114 appearances for his boyhood club. (h/t Transfermarkt)
Darius has continued to enhance his reputation as a good all-round midfielder since his move to the Romanian capital. The left-footed ace has caught the eye as a regular starter, contributing with 7 goals and 5 assists in 30 appearances. He also played a key role in FCSB’s Romanian Cup triumph last season.
The 22-year-old is yet to represent Romania at the senior international level but has earned 13 caps for the U-21 side.
Good long-term investment?
The departure of Sebastian Haller earlier in the month has made the recruitment of a new centre-forward an immediate priority for West Ham in the January window. Having said that, however, the Hammers also have pressing concerns in terms of squad depth in other areas. Hence, they should explore other avenues as well heading into a hectic second half of the season.
Central midfield is a department that definitely requires some investment. Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek have been quite brilliant over the course of an impressive first half of the campaign for David Moyes’ side. But to rely on the same pairing to deliver the goods for a full 38-game season in the PL looks like a massive gamble, to be honest.
Long-serving skipper Mark Noble has been relegated to just a token back-up in the middle, meaning Moyes doesn’t have any quality alternatives beyond Rice and Soucek. West Ham have parted ways with the likes of Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere and Pedro Obiang in recent windows without bringing in adequate replacements.
Putting things into context, Darius Olaru might not be a household name but he ticks several boxes to come through the door at West Ham as a quality young player with plenty of room for development. The 22-year-old has already made close to 150 appearances in Romania since making his debut in 2015, earning rave reviews for his performances.
Olaru is essentially a central midfielder by trade but is also capable of slotting into a more advanced No.10 role and out wide on the flanks. Considering his versatility, West Ham should look to shape him into an ideal long-term successor for Noble, who is out of contract next summer.
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While the difference in quality between the Romanian top-flight and the Premier League is quite massive, West Ham have enough reason to be confident of Olaru’s potential. The Hammers have had a lot of success in cherry-picking talents from the lesser leagues in Europe in recent windows.
Vladimir Coufal and Tomas Soucek have established himself as mainstays under Moyes after joining the ranks from Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic. Olaru looks like a player with obvious potential and would definitely be worth a low-cost gamble for West Ham as they look to add more depth to their midfield.