David Moyes could sign West Ham United’s next Jermain Defoe with a late January swoop for FC Girondins de Bordeaux striker Josh Maja amid rumoured negotiations with his Ligue 1 side.
According to L’Equipe, via GFFN, the Hammers have reached out to Bordeaux chiefs to sound out the possibility of Maja leaving the Matmut Atlantique in the final days of the winter market.
The 22-year-old has fallen out of favour under Jean Louis Gasset with Hwang Ui Jo now seen as the Girondins’ undoubted first-choice, sparking a keen awareness to his situation at West Ham and West Bromwich Albion as Moyes and Sam Allardyce strive to bolster their options.
West Ham’s interest in Maja’s situation has also previously been touted by talkSPORT, who claimed the London Stadium natives turned their attention to the Sunderland product after seeing a £27m bid for Sevilla star Youssef En-Nesyri turned down.
Maja is noted to be a much cheaper option and may be keen to explore a return to England by reuniting with Moyes, after the Scot gifted the £6m-rated striker his Black Cats debut in an EFL Cup tie with Queens Park Rangers in 2016.
His cameo appearance in the 2-1 win proved to be his only outing under Moyes for the Stadium of Light natives, while going on to score 17 goals in 48 further first-team appearances before sealing a £1.5m move to Bordeaux in January 2019.
Moyes urging the GSB ownership to do whatever it takes to sign Maja in the final days of the January transfer window, amid his search for a Sebastien Haller replacement, could see the former Manchester United boss secure the Irons their next Defoe.
Defoe is known to be a big admirer of Maja following his time playing with the 5 ft 11 striker at Sunderland, and often offered the £13,000-per-week forward advice in training to help the Black Cats product improve his finishing and ability to deceive goalkeepers.
Defoe further backed Maja to be the future of the Stadium of Light natives beside fellow up-and-comer Joel Asoro, now owned by Swansea City, as Maja was proving to be rare breed for his ability to make an impact despite not being blessed with blistering speed.
“Josh is a quick thinker and if you’re that fast upstairs you don’t need anything else,” Defoe told SAFC.com. “When he trained with the first-team, he showed such great awareness – he knew when to pass it, had a great touch – and although he’s not got electric pace, he’s two steps ahead of everyone, which means he’s got an immediate advantage.
“Just look at [Andrea] Pirlo, has anyone ever seen him sprint? No, but he doesn’t lose the ball. The gift Josh has is rare and if he builds on it, the sky’s the limit.”
So far, Maja has been met with a ceiling to his potential at Bordeaux, scoring 11 goals in 48 games across all competitions since joining, but his untapped skill could see the one-time Nigeria international prove to be West Ham’s next Defoe.
The England icon joined West Ham in his youth, but the 5 ft 7 marksman’s tender age did not stop Defoe from scoring 10 goals in his first full Premier League season and going on to make 102 appearances for the east London outfit.
No doubt his words of wisdom helped Maja to develop, and a homecoming to the capital for the former Fulham, Crystal Palace and Manchester City trainee could provide West Ham with just what they are looking for in the January transfer window.
AND in other news, West Ham are working on a deal to sign a £13.5m-rated striker on loan…