The Hammers have been linked with several centre-backs in recent weeks as manager David Moyes looks to bolster his depleted backline this winter.
What is the latest news involving Szalai?
According to Sky Sports, Szalai is the latest player to have caught the eye of the capital club following a string of impressive performances, although they’re set to face stiff competition for his signature.
It’s believed that fellow Premier League outfit Newcastle United and Serie A giants AC Milan are also interested in securing the highly-rated 23-year-old’s services.
The report claims that Fenerbahce are set to demand £16.7 million (€20m) for their prized asset’s services, with his current contract not set to expire until the summer of 2025.
Szalai only moved to the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in January 2021 from Cypriot side Apollon Limassol but he has made a big impression during his short time at the club.
What has O’Rourke said about Szalai?
Despite West Ham’s apparent interest in the 6 foot 3 beast, O’Rourke is skeptical over their ability financial ability to prise the defender away from Turkey.
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The journalist believes Fenerbahce’s asking price could prove to be a stumbling block in any attempt to bring Szalai to east London.
He told GiveMeSport: “I can’t see West Ham signing him now because Fenerbahce will be looking for a big fee for him. So, I think that probably puts him out of West Ham’s reach.”
Do West Ham need a new centre-back?
West Ham’s troubles at centre-back this season have been well documented.
Angelo Ogbonna has been ruled out of action for the remainder of the season after picking up an ACL injury, while summer signing Kurt Zouma has been sidelined since 4 December due to a serious hamstring problem.
That has left Moyes with just Issa Diop and Craig Dawson to call upon at the heart of defence in recent weeks, leaving the Scotsman short of options.
The Hammers’ participation in the Europa League last-16 and the FA Cup means they will surely need to bring in an extra body for cover this month, but it now seems unlikely that Szalai will be the player to answer their calls.