By Anthony Onifade

28th Mar, 2023 | 9:40pm

West Ham United may have found perfect upgrade on Vladimir Coufal as news on Barcelona full-back Serginio Dest emerges

West Ham United are reportedly interested in signing Barcelona full-back Sergino Dest and the American international represents an ideal upgrade on Vladimir Coufal.

According to 90Min [27 March], the Hammers are amongst a long list of potential suitors for the fleet-footed right-back with Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, Valencia, Sevilla, Union Berlin, Lyon, Crystal Palace and Wolves all also interested in his services.

Dest joined Serie A champions AC Milan on loan last summer but has made just two starts in the league and was left out of their Champions League squad for the knockout stages.

The Serie A giants are unlikely to trigger the £17.5m option they have to make the loan permanent, but Barcelona are still keen to offload to USA international defender.

And with the Hammers certainly looking to bolster their defensive ranks this summer, especially at right back, Dest represents the ideal candidate to replace veteran Coufal who is facing an uncertain future at the London Stadium.

Earlier this year, it was claimed by Sky Sports on 1 January that the Czech Republic international was growing frustrated at West Ham and was labelled as “one to watch” on a potential exit.

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Coufal is out of contract at the East Londoners in June and there have been no talks or developments of any potential new contract proposals on the table, which means the club will be scouring the market for replacements.

The Hammers could have had a ready-made replacement for the Czech alongside Ben johnson in fellow academy graduate Harrison Asby but controversially sold him off to rivals Newcastle United in January.

Coufal has endured a disappointing campaign, suffering a considerable drop off in performance levels over the last 18 months, after excelling since his move in 2020.

The right-back has certainly fallen down the pecking order at the London Stadium, with Moyes preferring both summer signing Thilo Kehrer and Johnson. And Dest, despite his struggles in Milan still represents a marquee acquisition and a huge upgrade on Coufal.

His underlying numbers for an attacking right-back tell as much and are quite impressive too.

Ranking in the 86th percentile of full-backs in Europe’s top-five leagues for progressive passes per 90, for successful take-ons per 90 and in the 81st percentile for progressive carries per 90 and in the 74th percentile for shot-creating actions [FBRef] marking him out as an influential and progressive outlet in the final third. There are figures which are considerably more than Coufal who has struggled to match the heights of his early performances at the London Stadium.

Dest certainly has much to work on defensively, but at the age of 23, he still holds much room for further development and room to grow. However, attacking-wise, he’s an impressive athlete, progressive in his actions and a marauding presence going forward. Signing him represents a very sensible move for West Ham United.