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West Ham could land their own Rashford in Nicolo Zaniolo

West Ham United‘s underwhelming campaign has fallen into dangerously murky territory, with the slide in stability and performance seeing them plummet into the dreaded relegation zone in the Premier League.

Having clinched European qualification across the past two seasons under David Moyes and reached the Europa League semi-finals last year, losing to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt – optimism was at the brim when the campaign commenced, with a spendthrift summer transfer window only bolstering hopes that previous successes could be emulated, if not surpassed.

Languishing in 18th place in the league with a paltry 15 points, the Irons are in dire need of some respite. According to Voce Giallorossa, that could come in the form of AS Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo, with the report stating that West Ham are among the interested parties for the forward.

The Hammers will face stiff competition from London rivals Tottenham Hotspur for the player’s signature, with other reports stating that Antonio Conte‘s outfit currently lead the race to clinch the 23-year-old.

This season, Zaniolo has scored two goals and supplied three assists from 15 starting appearances, failing to live up to the heights of last season when he returned eight goals and nine assists.

Quite simply, the 23-year-old would be a “frightening” – as lauded by CBS Sports reporter Ben Jacobs – force in West Ham’s team, capable of lifting them away from near the bottom of the Premier League table and back towards a loftier position, navigating a course back towards success.

Zaniolo could emulate the feats of Manchester United‘s in-form talisman Marcus Rashford, who has scored in all seven matches since the resumption of club football following the World Cup in Qatar – where he also netted three times for England – taking his total for the Red Devils this season to 16 goals and six assists across 26 appearances.

With FBref ranking the English phenomenon among the most comparable players to Zaniolo, West Ham fans could be buzzing with cautious optimism over the feasibility of a transfer, which would represent a monumental coup for a club desperately seeking to assert themselves again after a woeful season so far.

Indeed, the Italian ranks within the top 5% of attacking midfielders/wingers in Europe’s top five leagues for total shots, and in the top 13% for progressive passes received. While Rashford ranks considerably lower across both of those metrics, he does perch within the top 7% of positional peers for rate of non-penalty goals, primarily thanks to his recent purple patch.

If the £79k-p/w Zaniolo can rediscover his goalscoring touch, he could nicely supplement the natural instinct, physicality and electric bursts of pace to emulate Man United’s endeared talent.

Moyes will have the proposition of Europa Conference League football as a carrot to try and lure Zaniolo to the London Stadium. It’s a competition that the 11-cap Italian knows well, having won it with Roma last season, scoring the solitary goal in the final against Feyenoord.

Should the West Ham manager prove successful in a bid for the 23-year-old, the Irons might just have a new star in their ranks, capable of leading the charge towards the upper end of the Premier League table once more.