Reported £26m target Hakan Calhanoglu could be West Ham's new Payet

Dimitri Payet of West Ham United celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the  EFL Cup Third Round match between West Ham United and Accrington Stanley at the London Stadium on...

West Ham United reportedly want to sign Hakan Calhanoglu from Serie A giants AC Milan.

Dimitri Payet of West Ham United celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the  EFL Cup Third Round match between West Ham United and Accrington Stanley at the London Stadium on...

It is almost two-and-a-half years since Dimitri Payet slithered away from West Ham United, destroying his legacy at the London Stadium by forcing through a return to France with Marseille.

But, given the opportunity, most Hammers fans would secretly love to put their animosity aside and bring Payet back to the capital. After all, the Frenchman is arguably the most naturally talented player to wear the claret and blue shirt since the days of Paulo di Canio with his trademark free-kicks still fresh in the memory.

 

That isn’t going to happen, however. But perhaps Hakan Calhanoglu could be the next best thing.

According to Fanatik, AC Milan have put the Turkey international up for sale for £26 million with West Ham battling Leicester City for his signature. And though Calhanoglu struggled to show his best form in two years in Italy, superb spells at Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen suggest he’d be an outstanding addition if he gets back to his best.

Hakan Calhanoglu of AC Milan in action during the Serie A match between AC Milan and SS Lazio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on April 13, 2019 in Milan, Italy.

Calhanoglu is perhaps best known for his outstanding set-pieces. He even fired home a famous 50 yard free-kick against Borussia Dortmund back in 2014, just one of many dead balls he fired into the top corner.

West Ham have not had a player capable of producing something out of nothing from a free-kick since the heady days of Payet. So Calhanoglu could bring a sprinkling of theatre back to the London Stadium.

Hamburg's Turkish midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu reacts after the German first division Bundesliga football match Hamburger SV vs Borussia Dortmund on February 22, 2014 in Hamburg, northern...

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