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Why West Ham must keep this star despite reported interest

West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate (centre)

West Ham United midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate is being targeted by a number of Premier League and Serie A sides, according to his agent Saffet Balkan.

The 27-year-old has been with the club since 2014 but interest in his services is said to have increased following a successful World Cup qualifying campaign with Senegal.

Despite noting that as of yet there are no concrete offers on the table, his representative did state that the player would ‘consider his options’ and refused to commit his long-term future to the Hammers.

“We have received a lot of interest,” Balkan told Turkish Football.

“Interest spiked after Senegal qualified for the World Cup [on Tuesday]. Several clubs and agents want to hold talks.

“The Italian and Premier League scouts have been very impressed.

“Kouyate is very happy in England, he’s settled into life.

“There are no offers on the table at this stage, we will hold talks and consider our options.”

With West Ham struggling near the foot of the Premier League table, it is little surprise to see one of their prize assets being touted to other clubs.

However, the Irons are reportedly holding out for €30 million for Kouyate and this is said to be putting off potential suitors, including some from the Turkish Super Lig.

Whilst there is an argument to be made for cashing in on the holding man, West Ham should be doing everything in their power to ensure that their big names stay put to help them out of their current predicament.

Kouyate is the type of player that new manager David Moyes likes to build his teams around; tall, strong and athletic with the legs to get up and down the park.

The former Anderlecht star has been a regular fixture in the starting XI since Sam Allardyce bought him in back in June 2014, keeping his place despite Slaven Bilic taking over as manager a year later.

There is no reason to think that he will not be at the forefront of Moyes’ plans to guide the team out of the relegation zone in the coming months.

Versatility is a key strength of Kouyate’s and it will be crucial at a time when the Hammers are short on quality down the spine of the team.

His ability to play in the heart of the defence may come in handy sooner rather than later, particularly given that Jose Fonte is currently ruled out until the new year with injury.

However, it is in central midfield that Kouyate can thrive and with captain Mark Noble looking past his best in recent weeks, the Senegalese has the opportunity to stamp his authority on that area of the pitch.

He also showed in his first two seasons at the club that he has the potential to chip in with goals, scoring nine in his first 62 league appearances, a reasonable record for a primarily defensive minded midfielder.

Moreover, Kouyate has almost four years remaining on his current contract and as such there is no rush to move him on.

He still has plenty to offer at the London Stadium and despite the apparent clamour for his signature, he is a player that West Ham at present can ill afford to lose.

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