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Timothy Castagne would be a wonderful signing for West Ham next summer

According to Italian source Tuttosport, AC Milan are interested in signing Atalanta right-back Timothy Castagne next summer. The 23-year-old Belgian was heavily linked with a move to Celtic in the January transfer window but a move failed to materialize.

Milan’s Serie A rivals Lazio and Fiorentina are also keeping tabs on the right-back but any potential suitor would have to stump up a substantial amount of money to land the Belgian, with Atalanta quoting a price tag close to €25 million to part ways with their prized asset. (h/t Tuttosport)

A youth product of Belgian club Genk, Castagne made 99 appearances for his boyhood club across all competitions before making a move to Atalanta in 2017. He was highly-rated from his time back in Belgium and Castagne has taken significant steps towards fulfilling his potential since his move to the Serie A. The 23-year-old has accumulated 4 goals and 6 assists from 47 appearances for Atalanta across all competitions.

Castagne has caught the eye with his consistently impressive performances in the Serie A and his fine form has been rewarded with a senior international call-up, which has seen his stocks rocket sky-high in the transfer market.

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Standing at 6ft.3 inches with a lean and thin frame, Castagne has a good build for a defender even though he is not particularly known for his physicality. While he is essentially a right-back by trade, he has also been used on the other side of the pitch, at the heart of the defence as a quarter back and also as a winger or a wing-back on either side. Hence, versatility to play in multiple positions across the backline and midfield is one of his greatest assets.

More of an old-school full-back rather than a modern-day offensive-minded one, the Belgian is known for his technical ability, discipline, passing and game-reading as a defender, whilst also providing an attacking outlet down the flanks with his work-rate, crossing and ball retention. Castagne adopts a very measured approach to the game, a reason why he doesn’t accumulate too many goals and assists.

To put things into perspective, West Ham should make a move for the Belgian international next summer in a bid to solve their right-back problems. There hasn’t been any official confirmation about Pablo Zabaleta’s future at the club and the veteran might hang up his boots at the end of the season. Man United’s Antonio Valencia has been shortlisted as a potential replacement but the 33-year-old can hardly be a long-term solution.

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Zabaleta’s retirement at the end of the season would leave Manuel Pellegrini with Ryan Fredericks as the solitary option at right-back. Hence, it is a no-brainer that the Hammers need to invest to bring in a fresh player in that area next summer, and Castagne, with his versatility and talent, would make an ideal long-term replacement for Zabaleta. That said, they should not be put off by the Belgian’s price tag and go all out to sign him ahead of the upcoming season.

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