West Ham plotting a move for 25-year-old Croatian talent- the right move by Moyes?


West Ham United are monitoring Marseille defender Duje Caleta-Car

According to Italian publication Calciomercato (h/t Yorkshire Evening Post), West Ham United remain interested in pursuing a deal for Marseille ace Duje Caleta-Car. The Croatian has been one of the top dogs in Ligue 1 in recent seasons and the Hammers tried to execute a deal for him in the summer as well.

Caleta-Car developed in HNK Sibenik, a first division club in Croatia. He later moved to a couple of Bundesliga 2 clubs before RB Salzburg snapped him up in 2015. The centre-back honed his qualities and had a great last season under Marco Rose and then joined Marseille in 2018. He has now spent three seasons at the club and has become a mainstay in the backline.

Could it be time for him to make the switch to England? And would this be a good find by David Moyes?

West Ham United need quality players to keep competing for Champions League football

The defender has, so far, made 99 appearances for the French club and will hit the 100-mark soon. In the 2019/20 season, Caleta-Car helped the club secure a 2nd-place finish in the league. He was a pivotal reason for the Le Phoceens being the fifth-best defence (47) in the league last season.

Marseille's Croatian defender Duje Caleta Car (R) is on the radar of West Ham United.
Marseille’s Croatian defender Duje Caleta Car (R) is on the radar of West Ham United. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)

Thus, any club he goes to is likely to be solidified at the back. Moreover, he already plays in a back four formation, which is an advantage for West Ham. The Hammers operate in a similar setup and have been excellent in the Premier League this season and are currently 3rd on the table, ahead of Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.

However, their defence could use some work. Despite being the third-best team in the Premier League, they have the 7th best defence in the division. Kurt Zouma was an incredible signing in the summer, but they could always add to the quality in the ranks. The club released Winston Reid in the summer while Craig Dawson and Angelo Ogbonna are already into their thirties.

The East London club also tried to seal a place in the Top 4 last season but failed to do so. If Moyes hopes to keep challenging for that spot, he needs strengthening at the back. The Croatian international could do that job for him and eventually help them challenge for Champions League football at the London Stadium, if the Hammers were to sign him in the future.

A deal for Duje Caleta Car could be financially viable for West Ham United

One good thing that did come out of West Ham failing to land the player this summer was that he will only have one year left on his contract next summer. If he refuses to sign a new contract at the Ligue 1 club, the club would know that they risk losing the player on a free transfer next year. And due to this scenario, the London club could seal a deal for a cut-price fee.

Marseille's Croatian defender Duje Caleta-Car (L) will have a year left on his contract next summer.
Marseille’s Croatian defender Duje Caleta-Car (L) will have a year left on his contract next summer. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)

There is a lot to admire about the job Moyes is doing at the London Stadium but it needs to be built upon. A good squad can only take you so far, but the best clubs constantly refresh their squads. Caleta-Car is the kind of player they should be looking at, given his age and talent. The fact that he could potentially be available on a cheap fee would be a huge bonus.

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Thus, this deal certainly makes sense for the Hammers. They have already kept their foot down on deals for star man Declan Rice, indicating there is a long-term project. The Scottish boss has previously shown at Everton that he can compete amongst the big boys, and if the Clarets wish to do the same, getting in the 25-year-old through the door will only help their ambitions.