West Ham United will soon need to find a long-term successor to Mark Noble.
The long-serving Irons skipper will retire at the end of next season, drawing the curtain down on a phenomenal 18-year career in East London, where he has racked up over 520 appearances for his boyhood club.
At the age of 34, the midfielder has found game time hard to come by in recent months, starting only eight Premier League matches during the 2020/21 season but it’s believed his influence off the pitch is just as important as on it.
Even if he’s not featuring on the pitch, he’s going to be a very hard man to replace this time next year.
And it seems like David Moyes is already planning ahead as the Hammers have been linked to several central midfielders this transfer window, including another Czech sensation in Alex Kral.
But could the Scot have the perfect heir already at the club?
According to The Athletic’s Roshane Thomas, promising academy starlet Conor Coventry ‘will be looked at’ during pre-season and whilst it’s likely he is shipped out on loan to get valuable game time, he could well return at just the right time to succeed the retiring Irons legend.
The 22-year-old dynamo has been highlighted as a player with big potential by the Daily Mail’s secret scout in the past, claiming that he is ‘forceful in the tackle with a good range of passing’ and that he isn’t afraid to get forward either.
This very much draws some similarities to Noble in his prime.
Thomas has waxed lyrical about Coventry before, too. He described him as an “exciting talent” to The Athletic’s ‘U Irons’ podcast back in October.
“Obviously, when I was at the Southend v West Ham Under-23 game, David Moyes was there – and obviously Conor Coventry scored in that match, so he’s definitely someone Moyes is aware of and I think this is one of the reasons why they allowed Josh Cullen to leave.
“They’re looking at it like, ‘hey, we’ve got someone like Josh Cullen, younger, perhaps much better in terms of career prospects. So, we’re putting all our focus on him right now.'”
Furthermore, well-known fan page West Ham Central dubbed him the “next best thing” from the academy system to the Irish Post, adding that he has “excellent composure and leadership” and is “a real old head on young shoulders.”
All of which provide further positive signs as to why he may be able to fill the void left behind by Noble next year.
One more loan spell, then it could be time to promote Coventry into the first-team full-time.
AND in other news, ExWHUemployee drops crushing transfer claim that’ll leave fans truly gutted…