By Danny Wright
Sunderland have slapped a £20million price tag on the head of West Ham target Didier Ndong, according to a report.
The Mirror claimed in their live transfer blog on Friday [12:02am] that manager Simon Grayson has bumped up the valuation of Ndong, 23, after his impressive season in the Premier League last term despite Sunderland’s relegation.
It is understood that the Hammers are interested in the 18-times Gabon international as they look to add a midfield enforcer to their squad.
Grayson, 47, took charge at the Stadium of Light earlier this summer and has already come to terms with how important Ndong is to his squad.
“You want to keep your better players. He has cost £13.6m. He has performed well so far. If he leaves it is only for the correct value,” said the Sunderland manager, as quoted by the Mirror.
“There is a lot of speclation. It won’t be until Thursday when everyone has a clear idea. ”
“He is a good player hence the value we paid for him. He is a key player for us. Young, enthusiastic, but when you are talented other people can be interested in you.”
He added that he would reinvest the funds into the squad if Ndong is sold.
“Every club is vulnerable. Liverpool with Countinho, Southampton with van Dijk for example.
“I’d like to think we’d be stronger by Friday next week, but I can’t guarantee that.”
Ndong made 35 appearances across all competitions for Sunderland last season as they finished bottom of the Premier League standings, however his appearances certainly caught the eye of West Ham boss Slaven Bilic.
Mohamed Bouhafsi, of French news outlet RMC Sport, claimed on his personal Twitter account on Wednesday that the Hammers have made an offer for Ndong and are in ongoing talks to try and sign him.
Football Insider Verdict
Ndong would be a good addition to the West Ham squad, but £20million for a Championship player is extortionate. The Hammers only have to look at their London rivals Tottenham on why you shouldn’t pay over the odds for a relegated player after Moussa Sissoko’s dreadful season there following his £30million move from Newcastle. If West Ham can get Sunderland down to accepting something around £15million that would be a decent move. They need extra cover to play in front of their defence and Ndong can offer that in abundance. He is a much cheaper option than Willian Carvalho, but that widely reported deal doesn’t seem to be heading anywhere.
In other West Ham news, one of England’s top managers has declared his interest in this Irons forward.