David Sullivan must not sanction a summer swoop for West Ham United to sign Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah, despite the reported intentions of head coach David Moyes.
According to the Daily Star, Nketiah is one of three homegrown forwards that Moyes is considering as he strives to add competition at the London Stadium for Michail Antonio.
Chelsea’s top-scorer Tammy Abraham and Brentford sensation Ivan Toney are also on the Irons’ radar after they opted against bringing in a striker during the recent winter window once a deal for Sevilla star Youssef En-Nesyri fell through.
It was claimed by The Athletic that West Ham saw a €25m (£22.5m) plus €5m (£4.5m) in add-ons offer rejected by En-Nesyri’s La Liga outfit, who were holding out for at least an initial €40m (£34.5m) on the forward signed for just €20m (£18m) 12-months before.
Moyes now hopes to land a hungry, young and homegrown option to offer Antonio some competition, after the 30-year-old was left as United’s sole recognised senior centre-forward when the club sold Sebastien Haller to AFC Ajax for £20m in January.
Former Gunners forward Kevin Campbell believes the north London side will look to make around the fee West Ham sold Haller for, should the academy graduate leave the Emirates Stadium.
“[Mikel] Arteta has to chop and change that squad. There are a couple of tough decisions coming up,” he told Football Insider. “If you can get £20m for Nketiah, that could be put to good use somewhere else in the squad. There is more of a need in other positions.”
West Ham were said to have tracked Nketiah’s situation at the Emirates during the winter transfer market as they weighed up potential Haller replacements, but were blocked in efforts to land the England U21 international by Arteta.
The Spanish coach has since frozen the forward out of the first-team picture entirely, with Nketiah failing to feature in a single Premier League squad since the mid-season window shut.
He was also an unused substitute during each leg of the Gunners’ Europa League Last 32 ties with SL Benfica last month, a competition in which Nketiah had started all six Group Stage fixtures and scored three goals.
Premier League strikes have not been as forthcoming for the London-born frontman, who has netted just once in 2020/21 with a goal against West Ham during the Irons’ 2-1 loss on matchday two back in September.
Nketiah’s fall from Arteta’s plans, despite him being able to name nine substitutes has not been surprising, really, with the 21-year-old only directing six of his 22 shots in the top-flight all term on target before he was frozen out.
That level of output would be unlikely to challenge Antonio – who has scored seven goals from 21 on-target shots out of 41 attempts – and thus Sullivan must block Moyes from pursuing Nketiah at the end of the season.