David Moyes is barking up the wrong tree in West Ham United’s rumoured chase of FC Barcelona’s £13million forward Martin Braithwaite.
According to Sport, the Irons are beginning to show a renewed interest in a potential deal for Braithwaite to move to the London Stadium in January, having failed to get a transfer over the line in the summer market.
West Ham had looked to negotiate a deal with Barcelona chiefs earlier in the year, but ultimately walked away from the table after being informed the Catalan colossus were looking to recoup the full €18m (£16m) they had spent to sign Braithwaite from Leganes.
Braithwaite joined Barcelona as an emergency addition in February following a long-term injury to Ousmane Dembele, with the French winger ruled out for six-months, but has only offered one goal in 16 appearances across all competitions since.
Nevertheless, West Ham – along with Premier League rivals West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United – have requested further information on Braithwaite’s Camp Nou future ahead of the mid-season window, as his La Liga side are once again open to a deal providing the 29-year-old gives his ok to any move.
Barcelona would even accept lower sums for the striker come the New Year amid their desperate bid to raise funds, with offers worth €15m (around £13m) now considered enough.
But the striker’s desire to remain a Barcelona player could thwart any efforts, as Braithwaite is not believed to have any interest in leaving Catalunya as he is happy at the club despite being awarded all 37-minutes of his game time from the bench thus far this term.
The honour of working alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Ansu Fati is an experience Braithwaite will not pass up on lightly, as the Denmark international feels there is no other side in the world where he can develop as much.
West Ham’s interest in signing Braithwaite is a perplexing situation, as the east London outfit would be barking up entirely the wrong tree by renewing efforts to sign the 45-cap striker.
Braithwaite has never once boasted a lethal eye for the back of the net with any side of his career, with a goal every 6.4 games with Denmark, one in 16 for Barcelona, one every 3.6 matches for Leganes and one every 4.4 appearances with Middlesbrough before moving to Spain.
Former Boro boss Tony Pulis also launched a scathing attack on Braithwaite following his time at the Riverside Stadium, having disrespected the Championship side by ditching them just 36-hours after stating his intentions to help the club secure promotion.
“The biggest disappointment for me is he’s the highest-paid player I’ve ever worked with in the Championship,” Pulis said, via quotes by Gazette Live. “Steve Gibson bent over backward to give that lad everything he wanted to bring him to this club.
“To show the disrespect he’s shown to this club by saying he’s not coming back, to Steve Gibson, who’s made him a multi-millionaire, let’s make no bones about it, the wages and what he’s earning are astonishing.
“For him to show Steve Gibson that disrespect, and the supporters and his fellow players, it’s just amazing. I’ve dealt with players all my life; some can make your hair curl – not mine. But for him to come out and say that, it just puts him up there as such an ungrateful person.
“For a person who said twice he didn’t want to go, he wanted to stay and help the club get promoted, then within 36-hours when he knew the club from Spain was in for him, then he wanted to go.”
Braithwaite does not appear to have changed much in the 20-months to have passed since Pulis’ remarks, given he’s happy on the bench at Barcelona soaking up the presence of Messi. While his woeful output – never scoring more than 10 in a season since 2016/17 – raises serious questions as to why West Ham would consider him a worthy addition.