Premier League transfers: West Ham set to baulk at James Tarkowski's price-tag - The Verdict

James Tarkowski

According to reports from Football Insider, West Ham will baulk at Burnley’s £35m price-tag for James Tarkowski when the January transfer window opens.

The England international was the subject of several bids from the Hammers during the summer, and the east Londoners are still keen on acquiring his services.

However, that £35m fee will be too dear for the Irons, largely because Tarkowski’s contract is due to expire in 18 months. They reportedly view the valuation as overinflated, although that in itself signifies the 27-year-old’s importance at Turf Moor.

Tarkowski has been a near ever-present in a side that has finished between 15th and 7th over the last three seasons, with much of Burnley’s success under Sean Dyche dependent on their defensive resilience.

But Burnley are now second-bottom and the time feels right for Tarkowski to move on, while West Ham’s desperation for more bodies at the back saw them sign Watford’s Craig Dawson on loan in a late summer deal.

So, if Tarkowski is a long-term West Ham target, should the Irons simply pay what Burnley want to get the deal done in January? GIVEMESPORT writers Matt Dawson, Jack Saville and Christy Malyan attempt to answer that question below…

James Tarkowski 2019/20

Jack Saville

“West Ham are clearly in need of a new central defender but even in their current situation they'd be foolish to meet Burnley's £35m demands. Tarwkowski is a brilliant and criminally underrated centre-half but the Hammers stand to benefit from playing the long game here.

“Tarkowski has already made it clear that he will not be extending his current deal, which expires in June 2022, so he is bound to be available at a more attractive price when the 2021 summer window swings round.

“During his time at Turf Moor, the England international has showcased his credentials as a leader as well as a complete, modern day centre-back, and he could well fill Mark Noble's leadership void if the club eventually succumb to Burnley's demands.

“Either way, David Gold and Sullivan must show patience in their pursuit.”

Matt Dawson

“What can £35m get you in the modern market? Well, it would appear Shkodran Mustafi or Tarkowski. Only last summer it was thought that the Burnley centre-back would cost somewhere in the region of £40m, so his value has already fallen somewhat.

“West Ham have barely spent a valuable penny on their defence in recent years. Instead, they have thrown the kitchen sink at attacking signings - Jarrod Bowen, Andriy Yarmolenko, Felipe Anderson and Sebastien Haller are the cases in point.

“The Hammers had one of the worst defensive records in the top-flight last term and while it has improved this season when compared to the rest of the league, they still lack that elite presence at the back to hold the defence together.

“Tarkowski would be an excellent signing, even at the price tag mentioned.”

James Tarkowski

Christy Malyan

“Personally, I’m struggling to see what the problem is here.

“I couldn’t think of a current Premier League centre-half more well-suited to the style of football David Moyes employs, getting his Irons side to sit back in a 5-4-1 formation before hitting teams on the counter.

“Tarkowski’s been following that game-plan for the last few years at Turf Moor, soaking up pressure from the opposition to allow the likes of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes to opportunistically snatch results at the other end.

“Last season, Tarkowski averaged more aerials won, tackles, interceptions and clearances per match than Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena, so he’s clearly an upgrade on what the Irons already have. 

“And while £35m is a far bit of cash for a centre-back whose contract is winding down, it’s not a fee outside of market norms either - Manchester United paid more than double for Harry Maguire, while Liverpool and Man City have spent big on Ruben Dias and Virgil van Dijk in recent years.

“Tarkowski isn’t in the same bracket as those players, but he’s an incredibly solid centre-half who knows the Premier League inside out. His value should be dictated as much by what he would give to West Ham as economic forces, and in that sense I think he’s worth every penny of what Burnley are asking for.”

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