It is seemingly the worst kept secret in football that West Ham United are in pursuit of a new centre-forward addition, having as yet failed to replace £45m flop Sebastian Haller following his departure for Ajax in January 2021.
The Hammers had reportedly been eyeing a move for Benfica’s 22-year-old hotshot Darwin Nunez in January, although failed with what would have been a club-record bid on deadline day, leaving them scrambling once again this summer to acquire a suitable alternative to Michail Antonio.
According to recent reports, David Moyes may well have found his man, with respected insider Claret and Hugh naming Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah among a list of possible striking targets ahead of this summer. Reports from Football Insider last month also suggested that the Irons were in the chase for the forward.
The player himself revealed that he may wait until the end of the campaign before making a decision as to where he will be plying his trade next term, although respected journalist Charles Watts has admitted that he thinks it unlikely that the forward will remain in north London beyond the summer.
That decision could be to West Ham’s gain, with Moyes and co offering an attractive destination, with Champions League qualification still a possibility should they run out winners in the Europa League.
A move for a new forward addition is seemingly a necessity for GSB in the upcoming window, with the club simply unable to rely on Michail Antonio as the sole, senior centre-forward for another campaign.
The Jamaica international has scored eight Premier League goals this season, although six of those came during the first nine top-flight outings, with the former Nottingham Forest man now on a dry spell stretching back to New Year’s Day.
Nketiah’s goal return has been poor in itself, with just two league goals so far this season, although he has only been afforded a consistent run in the side in recent weeks, notably bagging a brace in the vital 4-2 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
His display in the recent win over the Hammers particularly caught the eye, with pundit Graeme Souness insisting he was the “best player on the pitch” and that he has provided Arteta’s men with “a new dimension” such is his quality in leading the line.
The £9m-rated gem had been resigned to domestic cup duty prior to his recent return to league action, although has showcased his unerring quality in front of goal in those competitions, notably bagging five goals in just five games in the Carabao Cup this season.
There is undoubtedly a great deal of potential there for a player once dubbed “extraordinary” by his current boss, with Moyes and co having the chance to take a gamble on that exciting talent without having to spend a penny, with the youngster available on a free transfer.
Despite largely being renowned for his finishing, he also puts in the hard yards too, ranking in the top 1% for tackles made and the top 10% for pressures among players in his position in Europe’s top five leagues, as well as in the top 11% for interceptions made.
Although Antonio has featured more regularly this season, his defensive stats are far inferior, with it time now that those at the London Stadium turn their attentions towards the younger man across the city.