West Ham United has begun the 2022-23 Premier League season in catastrophic fashion under popular manager David Moyes after the Hammers have lost three on the spin to open the new campaign.
Once again expected to be in the top-seven conversation this year after placing seventh in 2021-22 and sixth in 2020-21, Moyes’ men have failed to open their Premier League account on the scoreboard, being blanked in all three outings against Manchester City (H), Nottingham Forest (A), and Brighton (H).
As such West Ham is in dire need of additive attacking quality both in terms of creativity as well as a threat in front of goal and has targeted Belgian international midfielder Hans Vanaken to that end.
But according to transfer insider Fabrizio Romano, the soon-to-be 30-year-old will not easily be prized out the Venice of the North after Jupiler Pro League giants Club Brugge have rebuffed their opening bid of €11m (~£9m) to secure the forward-thinking midfielder.
Vanaken, who is contracted to Blauw-Zwart through 2025, is one of the standout performers for the Belgian outfit since his arrival from KSC Lokeren in the summer of 2015 and has been a mammoth presence at the Jan Breydel Stadium in each of his seven seasons in the historic city.
All told, including the current 2022-23 campaign, Vanaken has bagged 102 goals in 345 appearances across all competitions, while hitting double-digit goal totals in each of his seven seasons while being deployed predominately in the 10 role but also as an attacking 8.
The Neerpelt native can also chip in from a creative standpoint as well, contributing 73 assists which puts him at an overall direct goals contribution per 90min at 0.51, which on the surface would go a long way to alleviating the current attacking concerns that persist at West Ham in the early doors of the current Premier League season.
Despite the positives, Brugge is unlikely to want to let Vanaken walk this summer after already losing Belgian starlet Charles de Ketelaere to Italian giants AC Milan, as well as Stanley Nsoki and Loïs Openda to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Racing Club de Lens respectively.
After sales totals hit €55m, Brugge sit with a net spend of +€33m this summer after purchasing Bjorn Meijer, Casper Nielsen, Ferran Jutglà, Joel Ordóñez, and Dedryck Boyata, and is hardly under pressure to sell one of their prized possessions despite reports that Vanaken wants the club to not stand in the way of a move to West Ham before the window closes.
With the Belgian international keen on testing himself in the Premier League, it will likely take an improved bid from the Hammers in order to get their man, but with the club having already spent over £100m this summer, they may try to talk Brugge down as much as possible as the conclusion of the summer window draws near.