West Ham United are reportedly in the race to sign Zdravko Kuzmanovic from Inter Milan, for a fee of around £5 million.
The 25-year-old only joined Inter Milan from Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart in January, but they are set to cash in on him after just six months at the club.
Operating primarily in a defensive midfield role, he is certainly more of a ball-playing midfielder than a hard-hitter like Mohamed Diame or Kevin Nolan. While at 6ft 2in, he certainly adds some presence to the midfield, as well as being very useful in the air.
The Hammers finished 17th last season in the pass success table, completing a meagre 74.2% of their passes, which highlights the need for a midfielder like Kuzmanovic, who with a success rate of 89.2% last season, was a full 5% higher than any West Ham player.
That rate was taken from both his spells at Stuttgart and Inter Milan, and was in fact a staggering 91.1% in his 13 matches in Serie A. That is something which would certainly help Allardyce's team, and go someway to improving their 43.7% average possession per game from last season.
The Serbian would work wonderfully with new target man Andy Carroll, attempting nearly six long balls a game is far higher than anyone in the Hammers line-up, Noble topped that board with just 3.8, and while he completed just 62% of those, Kuzmanovic managed 80%, something that would compliment Allardyce's direct style fantastically.
What the Inter man can do with the ball is not replicated without it though, with just 29 tackles in 28 appearances last year, he falls well short of Diame and Noble, who between them rack up that many tackles on average every four games.
Whether they can afford to sacrifice a ball-winner for a ball-player will be unknown until the London side complete the signing of the midfielder, if they opt to.
Despite the fact West Ham rank 2nd in aerial duels won last season, that total was mostly down to Andy Carroll, 9.3 per match, and Kuzmanovic's 1.7 aerial winners per match in Serie A is far higher than Diame (0.7), Nolan (0.5), and Noble (0.2), another sign the Serbian can help the Upton Park side become more assured in the middle of the park.
It is clear that the former Stuttgart man would add something much varied to what is already available in the Hammers' midfield, and £5 million for a 25 year old, is surely a steal.
Stats taken from Whoscored.com
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