West Ham United reportedly tried and failed to bring Fornals to the Premier League from La Liga crisis club Villarreal.

Pablo Fornals rejected a move to West Ham United in the January transfer window – and now he finds himself embroiled in a relegation battle.

According to AS, West Ham were keen to bring the fleet-footed Spaniard to the London Stadium and would have triggered his £26 million release clause – a fee which would have made Fornals one of the most expensive players in the club’s history.

The midfielder had no interest in leaving Villarreal for a club stuck in the middle of the Premier League, however. It seemed that he had his eyes set on a so-called ‘bigger’ club – perhaps one playing Champions League football or fighting for domestic titles.

But West Ham fans could now be forgiven for feeling a little smug. Fornals ended up staying at Villarreal during the January window, seemingly after failing to get a better offer, and is now in genuine danger of being relegated from the Spanish first division.

Villarreal, who have made a habit of fighting for the top four in the last five years or so, are 19th in the table and four points from safety. They have won three games out of a possible 23 this season and re-hired Javi Calleja recently – seven weeks after they sacked him.

Fornals has been a bright light in a dark season for the Yellow Submarine and would surely jump ship if Villarreal do indeed go down. But relegation would do nothing for his reputation. The Premier League’s mid-table might seem a little more tempting now.

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