David Moyes dodged a £34million bullet this summer after West Ham United failed to sign Werder Bremen forward Milot Rashica.
According to Sky Sports, the Irons were one of several sides to have eyed a move for the Kosovo international, regarded as one of his nation’s brightest talents.
Aston Villa, Brighton and Wolverhampton Wanderers were said to be rivalling the Hammers in chasing the 28-cap sensation, who piqued the interest of Liverpool earlier in the year before the Premier League champions welcomed Takumi Minamino to Anfield.
Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig were also on the scene after Rashica struck 11 goals and penned eight assists in 34 games across all competitions last term, but no side ultimately acquired the 24-year-old, who would have loved the chance to play in the Premier League.
Werder were able to retain Rashica’s services after demanding that his €38m (£34.1m) release clause was met in full, as the Vushtrri-born forward’s former side Vitesse Arnheim, his agent and the player himself were each entitled a cut of the fee received.
It was under those terms that Werder were able to sign Rashica for just €7m (£6.2m) in 2018, acquiring an attacking gem who head coach Florian Kohfeldt believes is a unique talent.
“He is a player who can decide Bundesliga games,” Kohfeldt told Tagesspiegel, via quotes by Goal this summer. “You don’t find that very often. Milot has incredible skills: in speed, in goalscoring, in passing. Rashica would fit well in England with his pace, but also with his style of play in Spain.”
While interest was high in Rashica this summer, the attacking speedster capable of playing on either wing, through the centre and dubbed ‘The Rocket’ has struggled to hit the same heights as last season, heights which placed him as a rare standout player in a terrible team.
Rashica was Werder’s most-influential figure in the Bundesliga last term with eight goals and seven assists as they fought to stave off relegation, ultimately only retaining their top-flight status thanks to victory over Heidenheim in the Play-Off on goal difference.
This season has seen Werder fare marginally better with two wins and five draws in nine games to sit comfortably clear of a drop zone featuring sleeping giants FC Schalke 04, but Rashica has not been the one inspiring the results.
The 24-year-old is still awaiting his maiden goal of the campaign, having featured just five times after an early-season knee injury, while penning his first assist of the term in a 5-3 loss to VfL Wolfsburg on Friday night.
The Volkswagen Arena affair was only Rashica’s third league start, too, but he failed to prove himself to Kohfeldt with just nine accurate passes, one successful dribble, two duels won from seven, one shot – which was off target – and zero key balls, per SofaScore.
Rashica would have had to perform far above those levels had West Ham spent £34m on his services this summer, and he is making their decision to favour Said Benrahma look like a very lucky escape.