EXCLUSIVE: West Ham target two Asia Cup stars to bolster defence

Steve Kay
Steve Kay
  • Updated: 22 Jan 2024 11:14 GMT
  • 3 min read
Yukinari Sugawara
© ProShots

West Ham are actively pursuing AZ Alkmaar right-back Yukinari Sugawara and Ulsan HD player Seol Young-woo in the current January transfer window, FootballTransfers can reveal.

We understand that the club’s technical director Tim Steidten is currently scouting games at the AFC Asian Cup and recently observed Sugawara's performance in their 4-2 victory against Vietnam, sources have informed us.

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The London club sees the Asian market as a significant area for future recruitment, and Steidten believes that securing deals for players like Young-Woo and Sugawara can be achieved at a reasonable price this January.

As we have previously reported, The Hammers are also keen on Manchester United's Aaron Wan Bissaka, who is David Moyes' top choice to replace Vladimir Coufal and Ben Johnson, the latter having only six months left on his current contract at the London Stadium.

The success of these potential transfers hinges on outgoing deals due to Financial Fair Play (FFP) considerations. Players like Said Benrhama are engaged in talks with Lyon, and striker Danny Ings, who is liked by Wolves, are among those of the Irons squad potentially leaving. Additionally, we are told that Johnson has attracted interest from Leeds and Millwall, both of whom have approached West Ham for his signature.

David Moyes is hoping to push for a place in Europe
© ProShots - David Moyes is hoping to push for a place in Europe

West Ham’s fullback targets

Sugawara is 23 years old and has been at AZ since 2020, joining from Nagoya Grampus in the J1 League. FootballTransfers’ Estimated Transfer Value algorithm ranks the youngster at €7.5m.

Young-woo, meanwhile, is valued at €0.8m. The 25-year-old has enjoyed a surge in value over the past couple of seasons and it’s not thought that a deal would cost much for West Ham.

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