West Ham United must deliver Eddie Nketiah to David Moyes amid rumoured interest in the Arsenal forward following the £20m sale of Sebastien Haller.
According to the Evening Standard, the Irons are tracking Nketiah’s situation at the Emirates Stadium as they begin their search for Haller’s replacement.
The Hammers are drawing up a shortlist of centre-forwards to target in the January transfer window, with AFC Bournemouth’s Joshua King and Stade Reims’ Boulaye Dia also among their possible options.
Haller completed a £20m move to AFC Ajax on Friday after West Ham accepted a loss of more than 50 per cent on the club-record £45m spent to sign the Ivory Coast international in 2019, bringing an end to the Mario Husillos flop’s torrid time in east London.
The former Eintracht Frankfurt forward only netted 14 goals in 53 games across all competitions, including just three in 16 Premier League appearances this season.
Nketiah has only found the back of the net once in 12 top-flight outings this term, of which he’s started three, while scoring three in six Europa League Group Stage ties and one in two Carabao Cup appearances including against Leicester City.
West Ham are keen to know whether or not Arsenal are open to a deal for Nketiah this month, as the 21-year-old is under contract in north London through to the summer of 2022 on a £45,000-per-week deal but is yet to agree on an extension.
Nketiah could prove to be Moyes’ dream Haller heir if West Ham are able to reach an agreement with Arsenal, who are believed to be looking at loan options in the January market as funds are limited at the Emirates.
The Gunners’ need for cash could aid West Ham in acquiring Nketiah as they may be more receptive to a permanent deal, which would see the Irons sign a forward who Mikel Arteta believes is “extraordinary” for a player of his age.
Nketiah is also England’s record-scorer at Under 21s level with 10 goals in 12 games and has captained the Young Lions on four occasions since September, while finding the back of the net in the EFL Cup, Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League since his Arsenal debut in 2017.
He has also begun to build a reputation for being a clinical poacher, with the average distance to goal for his 12 Gunners strikes coming at a mere 6.1 yards after a 13-yard effort against Dundalk last month raised the average from 5.4 yards.
His record would be ideal for the system Moyes is developing at the London Stadium as no Premier League side have attempted more efforts from within the six-yard box than West Ham so far this season, who take a division-high 14% of their shots under the shadow of the goal frame.
Arsenal, in contrast, take the 11th-most at 7%, which would suggest Nketiah could take his game to another level in claret and blue if Moyes and the Irons board decide he represents the best option to replace Haller.