Hertha Berlin star Niklas Stark open to West Ham move
Hertha Berlin defender Niklas Stark is interested in moving to West Ham after first round of talks were staged, according to German journalist Florian Plettenberg.
Writing via his personal Twitter profile on Friday morning [19/11/21], the Sport1 reporter claims the 26-year-old German centre-back could move to the London Stadium next year.
Plettenberg wrote: “News Niklas Stark: West Ham is highly interested. First talks have taken place. West Ham need to replace Ogbonna. [David] Moyes wants him. Player is also interested but he also feels comfortable at Hertha BSC. The club wants to make the deal in winter. He is a free agent 2022.”
Big shoes to fill
Stark is a two-time German international, his most recent cap coming last year, and he has made over 100 Bundesliga appearances in his career.
However, he would likely be replacing 33-year-old Angelo Ogbonna at centre-back after the Italian’s recent anterior cruciate ligament injury.
The Hertha defender can certainly match Ogbonna for size – both stand at 6ft3in – but the Irons ace has proven himself as one of the most dependable members of Moyes’ first-team squad.
Stark wouldn’t necessarily be able to bring the same level of leadership, but he would come with a glowing reputation as “one of the best” centre-backs in the Bundesliga [FC Cologne manager Steffen Baumgart, Twitter].
Given his contract expires in the summer of 2022, the Irons could land him on a cut-price deal in January as they look to cover for the expected long absence of Ogbonna.
However, he also “feels comfortable” at Hertha, so Moyes may have to use his powers of persuasion to tempt him to move to East London.