West Ham United are reportedly monitoring the progress of Bournemouth defender Lloyd Kelly and are considering a January move for the youngster.
According to 90min, West Ham United are keeping track of the talented trio of young Championship defenders Rob Dickie, Dael Fry and Lloyd Kelly as they seek defensive reinforcement following the season-ending injury to Angelo Ogbonna.
David Moyes’ side suffered a huge setback when Ogbonna sustained an ACL injury in the 3-2 win against Liverpool in November and have since failed to win any of their last three Premier League games. With the defender set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, the Irons are considering dipping into the market for another centre-half to add to the current defensive roster of Craig Dawson, Issa Diop and Kurt Zouma.
While they remain keen on signing an established Premier League defender and are plotting a move for Manchester City’s Nathan Ake and Burnley’s James Tarkowski, the scouting department may resort to the familiar avenues of the Championship, searching for the hottest up and coming talents of English football.
West Ham United have recruited well from the English second-tier in recent years, with Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma the prime examples. The Hammers are keeping a close eye on Bournemouth star Lloyd Kelly, who is among a host of Championship transfer targets for January.
The 23-year-old has been one of the standout performers for the Cherries, who have conceded the joint-fewest goals (16) so far in the second division. Kelly is understood to be an important part of the South Coast club’s aspirations to secure promotion back into the English top-flight.
Kelly progressed through the youth ranks at Bristol City, where he made a huge impression in his breakthrough campaign, garnering rumoured interest from a number of Premier League clubs. But it was Bournemouth, who moved quickly to capture the Englishman from Bristol City in the summer of 2019.
Kelly was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak and eventually disastrous 2019/20 season for Bournemouth, but recurring hamstring issues meant the youngster was restricted to just eight Premier League appearances. However, the relegation has benefited Kelly, who has developed leaps and bounds in the last couple of seasons and is now regarded as one of the best defensive talents in the Championship.
Moyes is not yet down to the bare bones, but with his side fighting on all fronts, three defenders would not be enough, especially considering their congested fixture calendar this season. Signing a young and prodigious defender like Kelly could yet be another shrewd piece of business from the east Londoners.
Having started as a left-back, Kelly is a versatile left-footed defender, skilled at making recovery runs and comfortable playing a high line. Composed on the ball, he can distribute well from the back. With both Ogbonna and Dawson into their thirties, Kelly would not only provide fresh legs but can prove to be a longer-term fix at the heart of the’ backline. What now remains to be seen is whether West Ham step up and sign the 23-year-old or move for other alternatives.