West Ham identify Nathan Ake as January transfer target

Toby Cudworth
Ake joined Manchester City in August 2020
Ake joined Manchester City in August 2020 / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

West Ham are interested in signing Manchester City centre-back Nathan Ake, with the club seeking cover for the injured Angelo Ogbonna, who is expected to miss the rest of the season.

The Hammers were dealt a major blow when Ogbonna suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the 3-2 win over Liverpool at the start of November and have failed to win any of the three Premier League games they have played since.

90min learned in November that West Ham had recognised the need to find additional cover for Kurt Zouma, Craig Dawson and Issa Diop, owing to the club's hectic fixture schedule and continued involvement in the Europa League, and Ake is now understood to be their primary target.

The 26-year-old has been unable to command regular football at City following his £41m move from Bournemouth last summer, and was restricted to just 10 Premier League appearances during his first season at the club.

Ake has featured in five Premier League games this time around, and started in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Wednesday. However, the Dutchman remains behind Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte in Pep Guardiola's pecking order, while he also faces competition for a place from regular England starter John Stones.

West Ham are likely to pursue a loan deal until the end of the season that includes an obligation to buy - though the club are financially stable enough to land Ake on a permanent deal - and they may look to utilise the relationship head of recruitment Rob Newman has with City after his 13-year spell at the club.

City are not particularly keen on strengthening a club they now consider to be a positional rival in the Premier League, but they may allow Ake to depart if West Ham incentivise the deal and indicate a willingness to discuss a future transfer for Declan Rice - who the Premier League champions are keen on landing next summer.

Ake is not the only defender West Ham are looking at, with David Moyes' scouting team also taking a look at some of the Championship's hottest properties. The Hammers have bought well from the division over the past couple of years - namely bringing in Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma - and Rob Dickie, Dael Fry and Lloyd Kelly are among those who have been watched.

David Moyes
David Moyes needs to fill out his squad with further depth / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

However, young English talent tends to come at a premium price, and QPR, Middlesbrough and Bournemouth - the respective clubs that trio play for - are likely to demand significant fees.

Elsewhere, West Ham remain keen on signing young forward Adam Hlozek from Sparta Prague, also on a loan deal with an obligation to buy.

The teenager is ready to move on and test himself on a bigger stage, and the recent 27% investment into the club from Daniel Kretinsky - who is Sparta's president - may help conclude a deal amid mounting European interest.

For more from Toby Cudworth, follow him on Twitter!