Outstanding Spain display shows why West Ham reportedly want Ilya Kutepov

Manchester City's Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini (R) is watched by Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (L) as he arrives ahead of the English Premier League football match...

Premier League side West Ham United reportedly want to sign Russia's World Cup defender Ilya Kutepov from Spartak Moscow this summer.

Russia's defender Ilja Kutepov celebrates their victory at the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Spain and Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on...

In a World Cup where defending has seemingly been interpreted as optional, Ilya Kutepov’s impenetrable display against Spain was a joy to behold.

The 24-year-old Spartak Moscow defender blocked, tackled and cleared everything in his path as the host nation Russia produced arguably the biggest shock so far at their own World Cup – knocking out Spain on penalties.

Spain's forward Iago Aspas (L) vies with Russia's defender Ilja Kutepov during the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Spain and Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium in...

Over 120 minutes of backs against the wall, rearguard resilience, Spain managed to score just once past Igor Akinfeev, and that was an own goal from Sergej Ignashevich. While Kutepov was far from the only Russian player to raise his game against La Roja, he was perhaps the unsung star of the show.

It is this kind of performance which explains why West Ham United are interested, according to Tuttomercatoweb, in a centre-back understood to be valued around the £10.5 million mark.


Ilya Kutepov of Russia celebrates after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.

The Hammers had the worst defensive record in the Premier League last season, conceding 68 times despite the pragmatic approach adopted by David Moyes. Too often, West Ham capitulated and appeared to simply give up and accept their fate.

So the dogged, combative Kutepov could be exactly the sort of signing who would add some much needed spirit to their back line.

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