By Will Butcher
West Ham have been knocked back in their bid to sign St. Etienne right-back Kevin Malcuit after putting a surprise offer in for an undisclosed amount, according to a report.
French publication Le 10 Sport claim that the 25-year-old was the subject of an unexpected offer from the east London side, which was firmly rejected by Les Verts.
It remains to be seen if the Hammers will re-enter the market for the Ligue 1 ace, who is highly rated in France after a number of sparkling performances on the right side of defence this term.
Also able to play at left-back or higher up the pitch as a right winger, Malcuit has provided four assists during his 22 league and cup appearances this season.
Malcuit has also played an integral part in his side’s efforts to keep eight clean sheets during St. Etienne’s wonderful season, which currently sees Les Verts sit in a lofty fifth position.
The Hammers have identified right-back as a problem area. This season, manager Slaven Bilic has been forced to play Michail Antonio and Havard Nordtveit out of position.
Sam Byram’s return from injury has improved the situation, but Alvaro Arbeloa’s inability to impress Bilic since his summer move means a new right-back is needed.
Football Insider verdict:
With former Leeds defender Byram prone to injury and Arbeloa likely to leave the London Stadium in the summer with his contract set to expire in less than six months’ time, Malcuit could be a crucial signing. His ability to get forward and add an attacking outlet on the right side of defence has seen him shine in Ligue 1, but he is also able to sit in and remain rigid in a four-man defence. However, manager Bilic has seen some of his summer signings from overseas struggle to adapt in the Premier League, including the likes of Gokhan Tore, Jonathan Calleri and Simone Zaza. Should they risk another overseas flop?
In other West Ham transfer news, David Gold has delivered this Twitter dig at Dimitri Payet.