Transfer Focus: Batshuayi too big a risk for West Ham after debut Chelsea season

According to reports from Mirror Football, Chelsea will look to sell Michy Batshuayi permanently this summer, with West Ham mooted as potential buyers.

What’s the word?

The Hammers came close to signing the nine-cap Belgium international last summer after netting 23 times during his final season at Marseille but ultimately missed out on his services to their more illustrious London rivals. However, things haven’t worked out for Batshuayi at Stamford Bridge, failing to make a single Premier League start this term despite the patchy form of Diego Costa, and Mirror Football claim Chelsea will look to move him on permanently in the summer, with West Ham still interested in the 23-year-old.

Is he what West Ham need?

On the surface, absolutely. West Ham have been without a dependable goalscorer pretty much all season, with midfielder-come-defender-come-striker Michail Antonio topping the club’s Premier League scoring charts on a rather modest nine. Once again, the Irons have been forced to place all their eggs in the crocked basket that is Andy Carroll and although the England international has impressed when fit, his absences have cost Slaven Bilic dearly – rather tellingly, West Ham’s win rate drops to just 27% when Carroll isn’t in the starting lineup. Yet, Batshuayi’s season wallowing in the reserves does raise some rather worrying questions.

Positives and Negatives

The good news for West Ham is that Batshuayi will probably be available for less than last summer and at 23 years of age, one anonymous season doesn’t really impact what he’d give the Hammers long-term. Likewise, Batshuayi will be desperate for first-team football more than anything else and the Irons appear willing to provide it.

On the other hand, Batshuayi’s first season in the Premier League inevitably ushers concerns. More worrying than him simply struggling for form is how out of favour he’s actually been under Conte. Even during Costa’s dry spells – and even during the Spaniard’s absence against Leicester City – the Chelsea gaffer has refrained from starting the former Marseille man. That suggests his attitude is as much of a problem for the Blues boss as his talent.

At the same time, although West Ham need a striker, they need somebody proven. Ligue 1 players don’t always acclimatise well to the English top flight and we’ve seen no evidence yet to suggest Batshuayi won’t unfortunately fall into that category as well. Although Chelsea will likely sell for less, they’ll still want to cover the majority of their original investment – if West Ham can only afford to sign one £30million-odd front-man this summer, is Batshuayi really worth the risk?

 


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