Why Duje Caleta-Car would be an excellent signing for West Ham
According to Sky Sports, West Ham have tabled a £20million bid for highly-rated Marseille centre-back Duje Caleta-Car, with David Moyes keen to bolster his defensive unit.
The 24-year-old enjoyed an impressive campaign in France last term under the stewardship of former Chelsea and Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas, thus prompting the Hammers to pursue an interest in the Croatian international.
Duje Caleta-Car started his professional career with Sibenik in the Croatian second-tier and had brief stints at Pasching and Liefering in the lower divisions in Austria before rising to prominence with Red Bull Salzburg.
The 24-year-old went on to win the Austrian Bundesliga title in each of his four seasons at Salzburg while also playing every minute of the club’s fairytale march to the semi-final of the 2017-18 UEFA Europa League. Caleta-Car made a total of 130 appearances across all competitions, registering 4 goals and 6 assists in the process.
Caleta-Car followed up his strong performances in the Europa League with a successful campaign at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia where Croatia finished as runners-up to France. The towering centre-back was snapped up by Marseille in the summer of 2018 and has since registered 57 appearances in all competitions for the Ligue 1 heavyweights.
Caleta-Car would hand a significant boost to West Ham’s backline
West Ham conceded as many as 62 goals en route to their 16th-place finish in the Premier League last season. This was the fourth-worst defensive record in the entire division.
The Hammers have continued to struggle at the back this term as well, conceding four goals in their first two league fixtures against Newcastle and Arsenal before registering two much-needed clean sheets against Wolves and Leicester in the following weeks.
However, West Ham’s most-recent 4-1 debacle against Everton in the last-16 of the EFL Cup was a timely reminder of their frailties and inconsistencies at the back.
The Hammers recently grabbed the headlines with the capture of Czech international right-back Vladimir Coufal from Slavia Prague, but lack of depth and quality in central defence could very well put David Moyes’ side in another unwanted relegation dogfight this time around.
Angelo Ogbonna is nearing the latter stages of his career at 32 while Fabian Balbuena has struggled to inspire much confidence with his displays in the Premier League. Winston Reid, meanwhile, hasn’t been in the first-team mix for ages and is currently out on loan in the United States.
To put things into perspective, West Ham ideally need to invest in a young and hungry centre-back to stabilise their ailing backline and Duje Caleta-Car ticks the box as a quality prospect who could sort out the club’s defensive conundrum for several years to come.
The 24-year-old has established himself as one of the best young centre-backs in Ligue 1 during his stint at Marseille while his previous heroics at Salzburg in the Europa League are also a testament to the Croatian’s quality and potential. Add to that his towering 6ft 4in frame and Caleta-Car seems to have all the raw materials to make a big impression in the Premier League.
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Suffice to say, West Ham completing a move for Duje Caleta-Car would add some much-needed depth and quality to their porous and vulnerable backline. The Croatian international looks destined for a bright future.
Though the Guardian reports that Duje Caleta-Car has turned down the offer to move to West Ham, the Hammers should push hard to convince him to make a move as he would be a useful signing for David Moyes.