By Anthony Onifade

26th Mar, 2023 | 2:10pm

West Ham United: Axel Disasi or Jonathan Tah? Odilon Kossounou may trump both - Three targets to solve centre-back struggle

The centre-back issue at West Ham United has been a talking point amongst the Hammers faithful for a long time and it’s an area the club will be targeting in the summer.

David Moyes has been regularly plagued by injuries to key players so far this season, ultimately affecting the East Londoners’ form and consistency in the Premier League.

All of his centre-back options: Nayef Aguerd, Kurt Zouma, Thilo Kehrer and Angelo Ogbonna have all suffered one injury or another throughout this season and the Hammers board will be desperately attempting to address that durability issue this summer.

Furthermore, veteran Ogbonna is facing an uncertain future at the London Stadium, with his contract coming to an end in June which means West Ham will need to source some long-term replacements who can potentially come in and immediately strike up a solid partnership with Aguerd who has at least established himself as a key player in East London.

Here West Ham Zone takes a look at three players sporting director Mark Noble could have his eye on heading into the off-season, providing the club secure their status in the Premier League.

Axel Disasi

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Monaco defender Axel Disasi has been linked with a move to the London Stadium in recent weeks after Noble went to scout him and represents both the perfect long-term partner for Aguerd and an ideal replacement for the ageing and departing Ogbonna.

The Daily Mail claim (21 March) the France international is available for £44million, with Manchester United also in hot pursuit.

The 24-year-old defensive giant has undergone a tremendous upward trajectory throughout his career at Monaco, enjoying a remarkable 22/23 season managing to net five goals and four assists in all competitions from centre-back so far.

A strong, towering, commanding and composed presence on the ball, the French defender is on course to continue his rapid development wherever he ends up next, and the Hammers should act on their increasing interest and attempt to bring him to East London, as he could become a leading figure for the club for a number of years.

Top clubs around Europe are hot on Disasi’s tails, which means the club may have to overachieve in the market to secure his services, but there are alternative options to look at:

Jonathan Tah

According to 90min [10 February], the Hammers want to sign the experienced Bayer Leverkusen defender Tah in the summer as a replacement for Craig Dawson.

The report claims that the 27-year-old is open to a move to the Premier League this summer amid interest from Liverpool and Newcastle also.

The German defender provides plenty of experience and know-how having played at the top level both at club level and internationally, and he’d been a superb pick-up for any Premier League club this summer.

Like Disasi, Tah is certainly built for the rigours of the Premier League, excellently capable both in the air and up against opposing attackers in his defensive actions on the ground. Tah is another fitting candidate to pair up with Aguerd.

Odilon Kossounou

The youngest of the trio and possessing the capabilities to be the best of the lot. Kossounou is a defender earmarked for greatness in the future, and there may be no better platform for him to achieve that in Premier League.

The 22-year-old, believed to be on £24k-per-week at Bayer Leverkusen according to Salary Sport, has swiftly become one of the Bundesliga’s best young centre-backs and could be set for a big move in the near future. The Sun reported on 25 February that West Ham United are exploring a £25m move for the incredibly gifted defensive rock.

German journalist Christian Falk’s Fact Files on Caught offside (Saturday 4 March), revealed that the most “concrete link” for the Ivory Coast international is with West Ham.

He wrote: “West Ham knocked for Odilon Kossounou in the winter but it was only for a loan deal, so Leverkusen said no. Now, in the summer, it could get more contracts.

“The most concrete link was West Ham United and will be West Ham, so perhaps they can find a solution for the summer. But no loan deal – they’ll have to buy him.”

Given the rangy centre-back’s exceptional potential, abilities and perfect profile at just the tender age of 22, this is a potential masterstroke deal for any Premier League side.

West Ham must ensure they are at the front of the queue for his talented services this summer.