By Anthony Onifade

22nd May, 2023 | 12:10pm

West Ham United must go all out to sign Habib Diarra as £20m transfer news emerges

West Ham United have sent “top” scouts to watch RC Strasbourg midfielder Habib Diarra, with their significant squad revamp set to take shape this summer.

According to The Sun’s Alan Nixon [21 May], West Ham, Wolves Aston Villa, Leeds and Leicester are all keen on signing the 19-year-old sensation, who is reportedly set on a “major” move to England.

It’s been said that a staggering nine clubs [The Sun, 21 May] ran the rule over the versatile midfielder player as Strasbourg faced off against Nice in Ligue 1 last week.

Nixon claims, [via his Patreon page, 21 May] that Strasbourg value the talented midfielder at £20m with elite sides such as Tottenham, Manchester United and Manchester City are also taking a look at the Senegalese-born star.

Strasbourg are only willing to let him depart if the price is right.

With established stars such as Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek and Manuel Lanzini potentially set to move on this summer, West Ham United will of course be scouring Europe for a marquee midfield addition.

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The Hammers board were heavily ambitious last season, acquiring the likes of Lucas Paqueta, Gianluca Scamacca and Nayef Aguerd and it will certainly be intriguing to see what kind of business West Ham United get up to this summer as they look to return to the European places in the Premier League next season.

Given the number of experienced heads in the David Moyes camp, it won’t be a surprise to see the club take another recruitment route this summer, recruiting more talented young prospects, moulding them and selling them for a significant profit in the future and Diarra certainly fits that particular profile.

The 19-year-old midfielder has undergone a stunning breakthrough season in Ligue 1 for Strasbourg, establishing himself as one of the brightest young talents in the division, and of course, being earmarked for a big move in the near future.

In 27 Ligue 1 games this season, Diarra has registered three goals and two assists playing in a number of roles for the team, whether at defensive midfield, attacking midfield and on the left flank on occasions too.

Such incredible versatility and tactical understanding are highly valued traits amongst the top sides in the Premier League, and it’s easy to see why clubs such as Manchester United, City, Tottenham and even West Ham United are interested.

And Diarra’s underlying numbers of Strasbourg are what stand him out amongst his peers and positional counterparts too.

The 19-year-old maestro ranks in the 87th percentile amongst midfielders in Europe’s top-five leagues for non-penalty goals per 90, 99th percentile for progressive carries per 90, 80th percentile for successful take-ons and also ranks in the 92nd percentile for carries into the final third and 97th percentile for carries into the penalty area [FBRef] showcasing his tremendous and unique qualities when driving his team forward in search of a goal.

West Ham United will miss those unique and gifted characteristics when Rice eventually departs the London Stadium, which means the Hammers will be incredibly smart and astute to replace him with a similar destructive and progressive profile.

Given Diarra’s wonderful versatility and stark potential and also the number of clubs reportedly interested, the Irons must ensure they move heaven and earth to secure his signature.