West Ham got one over Chelsea in the summer by capturing the signature of young striker Frank Nouble. Nouble rejected the offer of a professional contract at Stamford Bridge and the Hammers beat off the competition of a number of clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham and Aston Villa to bring the highly rated youngster to Upton Park. Nouble is a tall, strong and pacy striker, and West Ham fans will be delighted to have one of the best young players to come through the Chelsea youth system at their club. The youngster is tipped for a big future and West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola pulled off quite a coup by signing him last summer.
Frank Nouble is an 18 year old English striker who has Nigerian family, but has already featured for the England U17s. At West Ham similarities will instantly be drawn with Carlton Cole, as Nouble is 6ft 3in and leads the line with a real presence about him. He is said to be a fearsome prospect, as along side his height he also has a good turn of pace, which has made him a real handful at youth level. He already has a reasonable scoring record as well, scoring 12 times in 20 games for Chelsea in the FA Premier Academy League last season. And by moving to West Ham, Nouble has shown that he is eager to play first-team football and doesn’t want to just sit on the bench, showing a real ambition that is admirable for such a young player.
Nouble had been on the books at Chelsea since the age of 11, but with strikers such as Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka ahead of him in the pecking order, he feared for his long-term prospects under manager Carlo Ancelotti. His decision seems to have already been justified as well, as he made his first-team debut for West Ham in the Premier League against Wolves in August. More recently he has also been capped for the England U19s, making his first appearance at that level in October. Young West Ham manager Zola has already built a reputation of not being afraid to give youngsters a go, and Nouble now has the opportunity to become part of one of the most exciting young teams in the Premiership.
The West Ham striker is now starting to enjoy a growing reputation in English football and with the Hammers having him tied down to a 5 year deal, Nouble will feature for West Ham for many years to come. The versatile forward is capable of playing on the wings, but with his attributes he should be looking to make that centre forward position at Upton Park his own, and I’m sure that Carlton Cole will be giving him plenty of advice. In years to come Chelsea may well regret the loss of Frank Nouble as the one that got away, and if West Ham nurture his talent well as I’m sure they will, then Nouble could be lighting up the Premier League sooner rather than later.