West Ham United boast a proud history of developing exciting young prospects into first-team stars, with the Academy of Football’s alumni boasting names such as Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Glen Johnson, Mark Noble and current central midfield sensation Declan Rice.
However, while all of these aforementioned players made their breakthrough into senior football while still at West Ham, the club recently lost the services of a talent who looks as if he could be on course to join this list of illustrious names in the not-too-distant future, all before he had a proper chance to impress in the first-team – Sonny Perkins.
Indeed, despite highly impressing in the Hammers’ youth setup – scoring 21 goals and registering five assists over 55 appearances for the Irons’ U18 and U21 sides – the 18-year-old rejected the club’s offer of a professional contract this summer, instead deciding upon a move to Leeds United on a free transfer.
And, considering the remarkable numbers the centre-forward is already putting up for the Whites, the West Ham board’s decision to not offer the teenager a “first-team wage” in order to keep him at the London Stadium is already looking to be something of a shocker for David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady.
Indeed, over his five Premier League 2 appearances so far this season, the £1.08m-rated forward has already scored six goals – bagging at least once in every game he has played for Leeds – with these returns seeing the teenager who Leeds Live journalist Will Jackson dubbed “red hot” win the league’s Player of the Month award in August.
However, it has not only been at club level the striker has been catching the eye, as Perkins also bagged five goals in three outings for England’s U19s in the recent international break – including a first-half hat-trick against Georgia – taking his total to 11 goals in eight games this season – registering a goal contribution every 71 minutes of football played since leaving West Ham.
As such, it is clear to see that, in losing the 18-year-old who ExWHUemployee dubbed the “next Declan Rice” and James Marschment said could become a “£30m player“, West Ham have kissed goodbye to an exceptionally talented player – an outcome that could prove to be one of GSB’s biggest shockers of their reign in east London.