David Moyes should look to discover his Mark Noble heir by unleashing West Ham United product Keenan Appiah-Forson next season.
Noble has committed to extending his time in claret and blue into an 18th and final term by recently signing a new one-year deal, that will see the curtain fall on his Irons career in the summer of 2022.
Mr West Ham’s farewell tour will provide Moyes with a piece of welcome depth in the engine room as the veteran is presently his only back-up to Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek, who have played every minute of regular time in the Premier League this season.
West Ham could look to bolster their numbers in the centre of the pitch with a revived approach for Matias Vecino in the summer, after reports surfaced in Italy last week that Inter Milan are looking to sell the former Irons target for between €8-10m (£7-8.5m).
Yet Moyes could look to save David Sullivan and the Irons board a few million pounds that can go toward the arrival of Sebastien Haller’s replacement, simply by unleashing Appiah-Forson and seeing what the 19-year-old has in his locker.
Many people at the Hammers academy expect the Englishman to go on and achieve big things at the London Stadium, with forward Kai Corbett one of several prospects to praise Appiah-Forson in the Academy Spotlight segment of West Ham’s matchday programme.
“He does so much work, the team wouldn’t be the same without him,” Corbett noted, via quotes by The Athletic, ahead of West Ham’s 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur last month.
Jamal Baptiste, Dan Chesters and Bernardo Rosa are also noted to believe Appiah-Forson deserves much more recognition than he currently receives, while Terry Westley – West Ham’s Academy Manager between 2014-19 – has likened him to Chelsea star N’Golo Kante.
“I left when he was still a scholar, but I’ll never forget how committed Keenan was,” Westley told The Athletic. “He always listened and wanted to improve. I can tell he’s really enjoying himself and that’s what warmed the staff to him. You could always rely on him to do well.
“Keenan’s small but he’s such a tough boy. He’s similar to N’Golo Kante in terms of his work ethic because he’s so difficult to mark. Keenan has a lot of potential and it’s great that young players are getting an opportunity at West Ham under David Moyes. Keenan could be next.”
But while Westley suggests Appiah-Forson “could” be next, the talented teen should be next and given the chance to learn first-hand from Noble, Rice and Soucek while proving his potential to Moyes as the next chapter comes into focus at West Ham.
He is an established regular in Dmitri Halajko’s Under 23s with 12 appearances and three goals in the Premier League 2 this season from the deep-lying midfield role, and has already enjoyed his first taste of senior football.
Appiah-Forson was given an example of first-team action as West Ham beat Newport County in the EFL Trophy back in September 2019, and has gone on to feature in three further cup ties – including beating Portsmouth away to the League One side last November.
The next step for Appiah-Forson is either a loan move away to enjoy consistent first-team minutes or to make the step up to Moyes’ ranks, which should soon be on offer.
AND in other news, a West Ham winter target is set to be available for £17m this summer…