West Ham United may rue David Moyes’ decision not to submit a bid for Blackburn Rovers striker Adam Armstrong in January after Michail Antonio produced a tired display at Fulham.
According to The Sun, Moyes had weighed up an £8m offer for Armstrong in the mid-season market after selling Sebastien Haller to AFC Ajax, but chose against pursuing a deal for the 23-year-old at the time.
The Hammers boss has now instructed the east London outfit’s team of scouts to continue monitoring Armstrong’s performances at Ewood Park, to assess whether or not the former England U21 international is worth the in excess of £10m his Championship side reportedly want.
Other Premier League sides are also now showing signs of interest in the Newcastle United reject, with Everton and Fulham both said to be carrying out checks on Armstrong.
Rovers are expected to part with Armstrong at the end of the season should they fail to secure promotion into the Premier League. Tony Mowbray’s side are currently six points outside of the Play-Off positions but have a game in hand over sixth-placed Bournemouth.
Ivan Toney is the only player to have scored more often in the Championship this season than Armstrong, with the Brentford star – also said to be a target for West Ham – netting 22 goals to the Rovers striker’s 17.
Armstrong, who Sky Sports pundit David Prutton lauds for “pulling up trees”, was unable to add to his tally as Blackburn lost 1-0 away to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, but his overall performance at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium was everything Antonio was unable to show at Fulham.
Antonio looked tired at Craven Cottage and ultimately let Moyes down having failed to offer any offensive threat, with the 30-year-old taking no shots, offering no key passes, making no successful dribbles, offering no crosses and losing four of five ground duels in 74 minutes, per SofaScore.
Meanwhile, despite not scoring thanks to an exceptional block from Rob Dickie, Armstrong never let his confidence dip as he proved to be a relentless menace for Mark Warburton’s outfit.
The 23-year-old attacked the left-hand side of the field against Dickie, Geoff Cameron, Dominic Ball and Todd Kane and by the end of the 90 minutes, he had taken six shots with three of them being on target, per SofaScore.
He also offered two key passes but failed to see either turned home, made five successful dribbles from five attempts at charging possession up the field, won five of his six ground duels and delivered two accurate crosses from three deliveries.
One of Armstrong’s key passes also created a clear-cut chance for Blackburn to score through Harvey Elliott, but the 17-year-old Liverpool loanee missed the mark with his effort.
Trying to contain Armstrong and his teammates on QRR’s right-side additionally saw Dickie lose three of his five ground duels, Cameron one of three and Ball a whopping six of seven.
Moyes clearly had second thoughts about Armstrong’s ability to make the step up to the Premier League in the winter transfer window, but West Ham may now be left to rue that decision with them having no real alternative option for when Antonio is off the pace like he was at Fulham.