West Ham United are reportedly in the race to sign Nantes forward Ludovic Blas in the summer, with the 24-year-old valued at around €20m (£16.8m).
According to Football Transfers, the Hammers have joined the race to sign the striker alongside Premier League rivals Newcastle United, who were linked with the Frenchman in January. Watford were also interested in securing the attacker’s services in the recent transfer window but nothing major materialised.
Blas still has two years left on his contract with the Ligue 1 outfit, but a fee of around £16.8m could be enough to lure the 24-year-old away from his homeland.
It’s no secret that the Hammers are light when it comes to options in the attacking department, and it is certainly an area that David Moyes will need to prioritise in the summer, especially if the east London club qualify for Europe once again.
Nantes are enjoying a strong 2021/22 so far, currently seventh in Ligue 1, and Blas’ presence has been a major contribution to that placing.
Moyes’ side have lacked creativity at times this term, with the likes of Manuel Lanzini, Pablo Fornals, Said Benrahma and Nikola Vlasic all blowing hot and cold throughout the season so far.
Arguably the only player in that department who has been consistent throughout the campaign is Jarrod Bowen, who has scored 12 goals and registered 11 assists in 39 appearances.
The prospect of having a French playmaker will certainly trigger Hammers fans to cast their minds back to Dimitri Payet’s spell in the capital and his magical 2015/16 campaign, when he scored nine goals and supplied 12 assists in the Premier League.
There has been plenty of attention surrounding the £16k-per-week Blas, with team-mate and former Liverpool midfielder Pedro Chirivella comparing the 24-year-oldto former Anfield colleagues Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Speaking to French magazine So Foot, the Spaniard said: “When it comes to pure talent, I rate Ludovic Blas above all the others. I played with [Philippe] Coutinho, Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, I know what they are capable of.
“And when I see what ‘Ludo’ is doing in training or in games, he has nothing to envy them when it comes to talent. He’s incredible, spectacular, and his future looks bright. We are often lined up together in the middle, we see football the same way, and it is a pleasure to grow alongside him.”
It is imperative that West Ham add to their squad in the summer, particularly in attack, and the signing of Blas would certainly offer an alternative in the final third. That could be particularly crucial if the Hammers are to juggle four competitions once again in 2022/23.