West Ham Opinion: Why the Hammers should go for Joel Veltman
According to a report from the Daily Mail, West Ham are interested in signing Joel Veltman as the Ajax defender is considering leaving the club this summer.
The Dutchman, 27, has racked up more than 200 appearances for Ajax, serving either as a centre back or right-back for the Eredivisie giants. He even has 19 caps for the Netherlands but lost his place at the right-back slot to Noussair Mazraoui after enduring a serious injury against VVV-Venlo in April last year.
Veltman has one year left on his deal and he will be a free agent next summer. Ajax might look to sell him this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension, with the defender strongly considering a move to the Premier League.
West Ham have improved their attack and they will have to do the same with their defence if they want to break into the top six next season.
They need more quality and depth in defence and signing a versatile defender would do a world of good for Manuel Pellegrini. With that in mind, Veltman would be a good fit at the London Stadium.
The Dutchman has been an incredibly consistent performer for Ajax over the last few years, and he could be just the man to help take West Ham to another level in terms of defensive solidity.
He is a right-back by trade, but he can also operate in central defence. Currently, the Hammers have Ryan Fredericks and Pablo Zabaleta as options at right-back following the sale of Sam Byram to Norwich City.
Veltman would provide competition to Fredericks and Zabaleta, whilst also offering cover for Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid. With Zabaleta having entered the twilight of his career, signing Veltman would make sense as West Ham won’t get a better player than the 27-year-old to push Fredericks.
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A tough-tackling, robust and ball-playing defender, the Netherlands international could quickly adapt to the demands of the Premier League. He is also a natural leader and his leadership skills plus experience will come handy for a West Ham team that has lacked leaders in recent years.
Veltman won’t cost a fortune because of his contract situation at Ajax and West Ham should look to make the most of this opportunity and sign him on a bargain.