David Moyes made some excellent signings in the summer transfer window for West Ham United, bringing in the likes of Gianluca Scamacca, Nayef Aguerd and Lucas Paqueta to form a wonderful spine to the team.
The signing of Flynn Downes appears to have largely gone under the radar, but Moyes may have a real diamond on his hands in the 23-year-old.
With Irons stalwart Mark Noble having retired last season following an 18-year spell in the first team, West Ham may just have unearthed his ideal heir.
Downes plays in the same position as the former club captain, while he is also a lifelong Hammers fan and has all the attributes which could make him the perfect midfield replacement, although the former Swansea man might just go one better than the 35-year-old by winning a senior England cap.
Former West Ham academy graduate and England international Joe Cole praised Downes on BT Sport following his performance against FCSB, saying he has been an “outstanding” find for West Ham, and Moyes has done the correct thing by easing him into first-team action this season.
The Englishman has started four matches in the Europa Conference League, averaging a rating of 6.98/10 from SofaScore, and he has impressed in the club’s engine room.
A 92% pass success rate and an average of 58.2 touches per match would suggest that he isn’t fazed at this level, while he has added some excellent defensive protection to the West Ham side in Europe.
Downes has made three tackles and one interception and won possession back 1.6 times per match, while also displaying his strength in one-on-one situations by winning 64% of his duels in the competition.
Journalist Josh Bunting has said that Downes “adds another dimension” for the Hammers, and with these numbers from the Conference League playing a part in Moyes’ side winning the group with six wins out of six, the praise is certainly justified.
The next step will be to transition these performances on the continent into regular appearances in the Irons’ starting XI in the Premier League.
Only then can the 23-year-old claim to be the heir apparent to Noble, but so far, the early signs are looking hugely positive.