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West Ham eye Jesse Lingard alternative in Todd Cantwell

West Ham United are flying high in the Premier League.

As the final international break of 2021 draws to a close, the Irons sit third in the standings, tied on points with defending champions Manchester City and ahead of teams like Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.

It’s been one phenomenal change in fortunes under David Moyes after the Scotsman saved them from relegation with one game to spare nearly 18 months ago.

The Hammers have also advanced into the knockout stages of the Europa League, the very competition they qualified for last campaign with a sixth-placed finish.

United outcast Jesse Lingard played an influential role in helping Moyes and the east Londoners achieve their lofty ambitions, having scored nine goals and provided five assists in 16 appearances after joining on loan in January.

He has since been linked with a return to the London Stadium as he struggles to find game time under Ole Gunner Solskjaer.

Would you like Todd Cantwell at West Ham?

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YES!

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However, the England international was also mooted with a permanent reunion during the summer but failed to sign. Moyes opted to sign Nikola Vlasic in a near-£26m deal from CSKA Moscow instead.

The Croatian has struggled in the limited game time he’s received, so it’s hardly a surprise to see Lingard back in the conversation.

And this time, the Irons boss is planning for all eventualities again, with one inside source claiming that Norwich City’s Todd Cantwell is an alternative option, per Claret and Hugh.

At just 23, the young £19.8m-rated dynamo, who is capped at England U21 level, could be a very viable and interesting candidate, especially as he is able to play anywhere across the frontline – just like Lingard.

His contract is set to expire in the summer, meaning head of recruitment Rob Newman could easily land the club an absolute bargain, if not sign him for nothing ahead of next season.

Similar to Jack Grealish and Dele Alli is how Graham Ruthven of The Sportsman once described the Canaries star, whilst his former youth coach Gary Cockaday described him as “special” and having a “god-given” ability to The Athletic.

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Can you name all 10 ex-Hammers? First up... He assisted the first goal at the London Stadium but made only 8 appearances for the Irons, who is he?

Injury has limited him to only three appearances in the Premier League this term but last season, during their title-winning run, the 23-year-old was Daniel Farke’s third-best player, as per WhoScored ratings (7.13).

Not only was Cantwell a creative and goalscoring threat in attack, managing six goals and six assists, on top of an average of two shots, 1.6 key passes and 1.6 dribbles per game, but he also contributed defensively with an average of 1.3 tackles per game, too.

There should be no doubts that he can elevate that game into the Premier League, especially considering Moyes’ impact on both Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma and unlike the Irons duo, Cantwell already has 42 appearances – and counting – in the top-flight.

Vlasic is yet to contribute anything to the Hammers’ season and after an unsuccessful spell at Everton in the past, question marks will continue to linger over his ability in the big time.

Instead, Moyes and Newman could find their true Lingard successor in Cantwell.

AND in other news, Newman could sign “another Jermain Defoe” at West Ham with “prolific” £10.8m-rated gem…

Article title: West Ham eye Jesse Lingard alternative in Todd Cantwell

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