With West Ham United manager David Moyes recently revealing that Arthur Masuaku is set to see a specialist regarding a knee injury, the 58-year-old has been left with just one fit senior option in the position – Aaron Cresswell.
And, with the 32-year-old having himself picked up a number of niggling injuries in recent seasons, not least a knock to his back which saw him sidelined for all of the hectic Christmas period, it is easy to see why Moyes had targeted the signing of a left-sided defender this January.
However, with no new left-back having been signed last month, and the condition of Masuaku looking rather uncertain, now would very much appear to be the perfect time for the Scotsman to take a closer look at one of the club’s most exciting up and coming youth prospects in the shape of Emmanuel Longelo.
Having been linked with a switch to all of Wycombe Wanderers, Ipswich Town, Peterborough United and Nottingham Forest last month, the 21-year-old left-back is clearly a player who many believe has a bright future in the professional game.
Indeed, the £135k-rated defender has highly impressed for the Hammers U23 side this season, registering three assists over his 13 Premier League 2 appearances, in addition to averaging a SofaScore match rating of 7.00 in his three Papa John’s Trophy outings.
This form even led to Moyes handing the youngster his Europa League debut in the 1-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb, a game in which, despite the scoreline, Longelo once again impressed, enjoying 87 touches of the ball, completing 36 passes, attempting seven long balls and four crosses, as well as successfully completing one dribble.
The 21-year-old who Dmitri Halajko dubbed a “tremendous” talent also made a total of two tackles, one interception, three clearances and won four of his five ground duels – with these metrics seeing the left-back average a very respectable SofaScore match rating of 6.7 against the Croatian outfit.
As such, with the games coming thick and fast for West Ham in the coming weeks, it would appear an extremely wise move for Moyes to finally unleash Longelo in the Premier League.
Indeed, not only would this help to keep Cresswell injury-free in the absence of Masuaku, but it would also help further develop an extremely exciting youth prospect – something that could end up saving the club millions in pounds of transfer fees this summer.