MK Dons manager Russell Martin has delivered West Ham United a boost in the Premier League club’s hope of signing defender Matthew Sorinola this summer.
That’s according to the MK Citizen, who quote Martin as confirming that the 20-year-old is yet to agree on a new contract at Stadium MK despite having an offer in place.
Sorinola is due to become a free agent at the end of the season and Martin is refusing to let the uncertainty continue for much longer, after receiving no offers during the recent winter transfer market.
West Ham were credited with an interest in the London-born full-back by TEAMtalk in December, who claimed that a host of top and second-tier clubs were chasing the Dons starlet after Sorinola broke into the first-team and made a big impression.
The defender trained with Fulham in his youth but made the step up to senior football at MK Dons following a loan spell in non-league last year, and had the Irons, Newcastle, West Bromwich Albion, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Brentford, Bournemouth and Middlesbrough all checking in.
Martin believes Sorinola’s advisors may have bent his ear during the January window to hold off on signing a new contract at Stadium MK, and he is now urging the full-back to decide where he wishes to play his football, with three months remaining on his current contract.
“The situation with him hasn’t changed,” the Dons boss said. “He got offered a contract a long time ago, one which we consider fair and fits in with the structure of our club and for a young player, but he hasn’t signed it. There has been no real discussion from his end.
“He has a decision to make at some point, but I cannot let it rumble on to the end of the season – that’s not ideal for anyone. I love Matty. We extended his contract when we first took over, we showed some commitment to him, we put a lot of work into him, he responded brilliantly.
“But the situation has not affected him a bit – not his mentality or his attitude – but it impacts on how you feel about the club moving forward. We want people here who really want to be here long-term and who are desperate to show that commitment.”
It remains to be seen if Sorinola puts pen to paper on a new contract with MK Dons, but David Moyes should be urging West Ham to test the defender’s resolve with the offer of a move to a Premier League side.
The Hammers have been in the market for a new, young full-back for the past year with reports of interest in Ryan Manning and Jonjoe Kenny last summer. Brentford’s Rico Henry, Rangers’ Calvin Bassey, Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko and Chelsea’s Emerson Palmieri have also been touted for a move to the London Stadium in more recent months.
Opting for Sorinola – who Martin has previously described as “excellent” – would offer Moyes a player he can mould into his own talent in east London, as a future replacement for Aaron Cresswell plus competition for Arthur Masuaku and natural right-back Ben Johnson.
Sorinola would also be a free signing and has shown promise in League One despite only playing three times for MK Dons before the 2020/21 season, having featured 29 times across all competitions this term including starting 12 of 20 third-tier appearances.
Among his League One outings, the full-back has averaged 4.2 ground duels won per game and with a 57% success rate, plus 1.3 successful tackles and 0.3 accurate crosses (10%), per SofaScore.
If he did sign as a developmental prospect, Moyes would most need to see Sorinola improve his deliveries with Cresswell currently offering 1.7 (27%) per game, along with 1.1 tackles and 1.7 ground duels won (60%) on average in the Premier League.
So, while he may be untested above the third-tier, a free deal for Sorinola could prove enticing for Moyes to add youth and promise to West Ham’s defensive ranks.
AND in other news, West Ham are monitoring an “outstanding” £18.5m titan praised by Jurgen Klopp…