By Dan Carter

20th Nov, 2023 | 12:42pm

West Ham United want to seal January transfer for Roma star Bryan Cristante

West Ham United and Aston Villa have joined Tottenham in the race for Roma midfielder Bryan Cristante, according to TV Play.

The Italian outlet reported on Sunday (19 November) that the Hammers are interested in signing the Italian midfielder, with Roma likely to consider any offers within the region of £26.3million during the January transfer window.

Aston Villa are believed to hold the advantage in the race given their director Monchi signed Cristante when he was in charge at Roma, which could see a switch to Villa Park become more likely rather than a move to the London Stadium or Tottenham.

Jose Mourinho is reportedly following the interest with a “little apprehension”, but appreciates that an offer of around £26.3 million would be too hard for the club to reject.

More midfield reinforcement

The majority of West Ham’s summer transfer business was with the intention of replacing Declan Rice at the heart of the Irons’ midfield, with the likes of Edson Alvarez and James Ward-Prowse arriving in East London and hitting the ground running in the Premier League.

Alongside the players already present in David Moyes’ squad such as Tomas Soucek and Lucas Paqueta, the Hammers have one of the better midfielders in the Premier League outside of the big six so it is surprising to see them linked with another midfielder.

Cristante is an incredibly talented footballer and has been exceptional for Roma in recent years and you don’t make 37 appearances for Italy without being a talented footballer. But it feels unlikely that the Irons would be particularly eager to spend another £26 million in a position in which they already have plenty of depth.

There are much more important areas of the pitch in which West Ham need to strengthen in the coming transfer windows, with a lack of options both upfront and at the heart of the defence.

If the Hammers are going to spend big again in 2024, you would imagine they would recruit in those areas rather than another midfielder.

In other West Ham news, Gareth Southgate has shared an update on Jarrod Bowen’s fitness during the international break