West Ham United may have a long-term heir to Aaron Cresswell waiting in the wings, as Emmanuel Longelo could become a top talent in David Moyes’ side.
The Irons manager brought in Emerson Palmieri during the summer transfer window and the Italian has started two of the last three fixtures against Aston Villa and his former club Chelsea. However, he is yet to really impress, averaging a disappointing 6.07 rating from WhoScored for his performances so far this season.
Meanwhile, Cresswell has made 299 West Ham appearances in his career but showed his vulnerabilities towards the end of last season as he picked up red cards in important Europa League games against Lyon and eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt.
The 32-year-old could be set to play more of a bit-part role in Moyes’ side this season; and with his contract set to expire at the end of the campaign, the West Ham manager may have to consider a long-term replacement for the Englishman in his squad, as someone will be needed to compete with Emerson.
Longelo could be the ideal candidate for Moyes, having impressed in the Premier League 2 last season, contributing one goal and five assists in 18 appearances.
The 21-year-old joined Birmingham City on loan for the 2022/23 season and spoke about his key attributes upon joining the club, saying: “I have got pace and a bit of flair, I can also defend, so I have a bit of everything. I have come here to prove myself.”
The youngster will be hoping to play a key role for the Blues this season and come back to West Ham a more experienced player, in the hope that he can challenge for a starting spot with the Hammers next term.
Longelo made his full first-team debut against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League group stage, with his performance being lauded as “very impressive” by Evening Standard journalist Jack Rosser, while Nottingham Forest were said to be interested during last January’s transfer window.
If Longelo can impress at Birmingham, then he could be the ideal man for Moyes to unleash as Cresswell’s replacement should the 32-year-old leave the London Stadium at the end of his contract.