West Ham in the race for international defender

Vitality Mykolenko Dynamo trainnig

West Ham’s summer will, unfortunately, more than likely revolve around Declan Rice.

The midfielder has become highly sought-after and a move to Chelsea could be on the cards.

That’s if everything goes to plan on the buying side.

For the Hammers, they won’t want to lose Rice, but after finishing 16th last season, they may be forced to relinquish a player who has now become a regular member of Gareth Southgate’s England side. 

Ultimately, the Irons will pay the price for a shoddy couple of years where they’ve failed to live up to expectations.

However, selling Rice could at least bag them a hefty fee in order to replenish their tiring squad.

Moves for players like John Stones and Brahim Diaz have been touted, while Matty Cash is also an option at £15m. 

Declan Rice challenges Jack Grealish

However, one of their latest targets could address their left-back issues.

Sky Sports Italia claimed earlier this week that West Ham are one of the sides in the chase for Ukrainian full-back Vitaliy Mykolenko.

The Dynamo Kiev defender is just 21 years of age and has caught the eye of Inter Milan and Napoli as well. 

The youngster has a contract in Kiev until 2023 so any deal isn’t likely to come too cheap.

According to Transfermarkt, Mykolenko is valued at around £8.10m, but in today’s market, it wouldn’t be a great surprise if he departed for more.

West Ham are thought to be further behind in the race with the player already receiving proposals from Italy. 


GIVEMESPORT’S Matt Dawson says…

Mykolenko has been capped just eight times by his national side but he is a rising star of Ukrainian football and is quickly emerging as one of the most impressive full-backs in his age group. 

In 2019/20, the defender contributed to 11 goals, seven of which were assists.

Now, the Ukrainian top-flight falls below the Premier League in terms of quality, but the regularity with which he strides forward is incredibly eye-catching.

For context, he created more goals this season than any other West Ham player. Pablo Fornals and Robert Snodgrass were the Irons’ top creators in that regard, picking out a teammate for a goal on five occasions each.

Mykolenko Dynamo Kiev

More importantly, though, is that he could solve the issues that are plaguing David Moyes’ team on the left-hand side of defence.

Aaron Cresswell played 31 times last season but didn’t look overly convincing, earning a WhoScored average match rating of 6.62 last season. Arthur Masuaku was even worse as Mykolenko topped the pair of them for aerial duels and interceptions in the Europa League. 

Furthermore, he already knows Andriy Yarmolenko well from their time together at international level.

In fact, they have a terrific understanding. The duo combined for a goal against Portugal this season as Mykolenko swung a ball in which was prodded home by the winger.

That certainly bodes well.

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