West Ham United are interested in a deal to bring Gaetan Laborde to the London Stadium this summer.
That’s according to a report by Italian media outlet TuttoMercatoWeb (via Sport Witness), who claim that West Ham, Newcastle United, LOSC Lille and Sevilla are all keeping a close eye on the situation of the Stade Rennais centre-forward ahead of potentially launching a late swoop for the 28-year-old over what remains of the summer transfer window.
A previous report by Foot Mercato has also claimed that, following Rennes’ signing of Paris Saint-Germain striker Arnaud Kalimuendo earlier this month, the Ligue 1 side would be open to parting with the former France U20 international in the coming days – as long as they were to receive an offer in the region of €25m (£21m).
While it is true that Michail Antonio has been a great servant to West Ham over the years, with the striker having struggled to find the back of the net in 2022 – scoring just three goals over his 21 Premier League fixtures this year – in addition to the attacker turning 33 years of age later this season, it is not difficult to understand why Moyes would be interested in a move for Laborde.
Indeed, when comparing Laborde’s returns over his 38 Ligue 1 fixtures last season to Antonio’s own metrics over his 36 Premier League appearances in 2021/22, the former betters the latter more often than not, scoring 15 goals to Antonio’s eight, registering an xG of 0.50 per 90 compared to the Jamaican’s 0.34 and hitting the target with 38.5% of his shots per 90 compared to the West Ham forward’s 32.5% shots on target.
The £16.2m-rated Frenchman who Clement Carpentier dubbed a “goal machine” also impresses in a defensive capacity, with FBref ranking the striker in the top 16% of forwards in Europe’s big five leagues and European competitions for pressures per 90, in addition to the top 23% for blocks, the top 27% for interceptions and the top 30% for aerial duels won over the last 365 days.
Furthermore, perhaps the clearest indicator as to how similar Laborde and Antonio are in terms of their style of play is that FBref lists the West Ham hitman as the 28-year-old’s sixth-most similar player.
As such, with the Rennes forward appearing to be much more deadly than Antonio in front of goal, being four years the Jamacia international’s junior and being a player very much in the same mould as the former Nottingham Forest attacker, it would indeed appear as if Laborde would be a big upgrade on the 32-year-old.