West Ham United are reportedly eyeing another lower-league diamond amid interest in Fleetwood Town winger Paddy Lane.
According to The Mirror (June 27, pg. 51, via West Ham Zone), the Hammers are said to have ‘sent scouts’ to watch the 21-year-old play for the League One club last season, albeit with both Hearts and Cardiff City also said to be interested.
The report suggests that the youngster – who is already a full Northern Ireland international – is valued at around £1m, having enjoyed a breakthrough campaign for his current side last term.
Having risen through the ranks at non-league Hyde United before being plucked by Fleetwood last summer, the emerging prospect could well follow a similar career trajectory to current Irons star Jarrod Bowen.
The 25-year-old also started his career lower down the footballing pyramid at Hereford United before flourishing in the second tier at Hull City, eventually netting 54 goals and providing 14 assists in 131 games for the Tigers in all competitions.
That form sparked the attention of David Moyes and co, who forked out a relatively sizeable £20m to prise him from the Championship in January 2020. That deal has since proven to be a masterstroke, as the fleet-footed forward has gone on to become an integral figure at the London Stadium.
Now reportedly worth somewhere in the region of £75m, amid interest from fellow Premier League side Liverpool, the £80k-per-week forward has netted 26 goals and registered 21 assists in 102 games across all fronts for West Ham so far, notably chipping in with 12 goals and ten assists in the top flight alone last term.
That form has not only attracted interest from the Premier League’s elite; it has also seen him earn a long-overdue international call-up for England’s recent UEFA Nations League games, with the £37.8m-rated star having an outside bet of earning a place in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad in the winter.
As Bowen continues to rise, the fears of losing him will no doubt increase. However, the Irons could well find his heir apparent in Lane, with the fellow left-footer – who has been dubbed “terrific” by David Dunn – seemingly possessing the talent to follow in the 25-year-old’s footsteps.
Who knows, should GSB manage to secure what would be a bargain deal this summer, they could have another £75m-valued talent on their hands in a few years’ time.