West Ham United are interested in signing defender Alfie Mawson from Swansea City in the January transfer window, according to The Telegraph.
The Welsh outfit are currently rooted to the foot of the Premier League table and parted company with manager Paul Clement earlier this week.
After losing two stars in Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente over the summer, it now seems that the Swans could see another key man leave the club.
Hammers boss David Moyes is known to be in the market for a centre-back but should he be looking to bring Mawson to the London Stadium?
Yes, he’s one for the future
At 23 years of age, the Englishman still has much to learn but has shown plenty of promise in his young career to date and may well be keen on a return to London, the place of his birth.
He was one of Swansea’s better players last term as they avoided relegation from the top flight and performed well with his country’s under-21 side over the summer at the European Championships.
West Ham are in need of reinforcements in the centre of the defence, particularly given Moyes’ recent switch to a three-man backline.
Aaron Cresswell has turned in a few good displays alongside Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna, but is nominally a left-back and surely not the long-term answer his manager is searching for.
Three league clean sheets in a row have demonstrated the progress made in that department under Moyes, but he still feels that another body is needed in January.
No, he’s out of form and overpriced
It is true that Mawson has struggled to replicate the kind of form that earned him plenty of plaudits during the Swans’ great escape last season.
Many would point to a misfiring frontline as the root of their problems during the current league campaign; indeed, Swansea have netted just 10 goals in 18 matches, a woeful tally and one that must be improved upon if they are to have any chance of avoiding the drop.
However, a defensive record of 25 goals shipped in that time is not one to be proud of and Mawson has been short of consistency in his performances at the back.
Naturally, when a team is not scoring goals it puts even more pressure on the defence and that seems to have robbed him of some of the confidence he showed in the second half of 2016-17.
With that in mind, the reported asking price for his services of £25 million seems particularly extortionate.
Swansea will be keen to get the best deal possible, if only to make funds available for reinvestment, but asking for such a sum for a player with one good season under his belt and just 18 months remaining on his contract is ludicrous.
Mawson is a solid young English player who has the potential to become one of the Premier League’s better centre-halves.
However, if the fee that Swansea are demanding is indeed £25 million, then that money could be put to better use elsewhere.
That is the peril of operating during the January window; it is harder to find value because teams generally do not want their best players to leave midway through the season.
If the Swans can be negotiated down to a more reasonable price, somewhere around £15 million, for example, then it could be worth pursuing a move given Mawson’s potential resale value.
Should they stand firm, though, then he would be best left alone.