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Emi Buendia could be West Ham’s next Dimitri Payet

West Ham United are keen on Emi Buendia, according to emerging reports…

What’s the word?

The Sunday Mirror (2nd May 2021, page 72) claim that David Moyes is eyeing up a move for the Norwich City playmaker as a potential alternative to loan sensation Jesse Lingard, in case the Hammers are unable to tie him down on a permanent basis.

It’s thought that the 24-year-old attacking midfielder is on the Irons’ radar ahead of the summer transfer window, though the Canaries will put up a fight to keep him, especially as he was recently crowned not only their own, but also the Championship’s, Player of the Year.

Last month, the Daily Mail suggested that Norwich rate the Argentine at around £40m, whilst Transfermarkt currently value him at just shy of £20m.

Would Buendia be a good Lingard alternative?

Absolutely!

Absolutely!

Not a chance!

Not a chance!

Shades of Payet

It would be a gutting blow to lose out on Lingard next season but Buendia is a very worthy option in his own right.

West Ham had long lacked that creative playmaker that could sit in the hole and produce the odd spectacular moment, at least since Dimitri Payet’s exit.

The Frenchman was a genius from set plays and consistently delivered in terms of goal returns – in total, he provided 15 goals and 23 assists in 60 appearances for the club. That’s one goal contribution every one-and-a-half matches.

After his departure to Ligue 1 outfit Marseille, the Irons struggled to replace him, with the likes of Felipe Andersen, Manuel Lanzini and Pablo Fornals not even close to his quality.

Lingard has stepped up, banging in nine goals and delivering three assists in just 11 appearances, via WhoScored, but ultimately, he’s a Manchester United player until otherwise.

In Buendia, the Hammers could get their very own long-term Payet successor. He is very much cut from the same cloth as the Frenchman in terms of providing chances, unlocking defences and often finding the net.

The 5 foot 7 Argentine maestro has enjoyed an extraordinary season on Norwich’s way to the title, having registered a whopping 14 goals and 17 assists in just 38 matches.

Further figures of 3.2 key passes, 2.9 shots and 1.7 dribbles per game, via WhoScored, suggests even more so that Buendia is a similar sort of phenomenon and enigma that has the ability to completely control and transform a game.

Not even Lingard is matching these numbers, barring a 0.1 increase on attempts on goal per match.

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WHO IS THE PLAYER?

Earlier this season, the Canaries suffered a dip in form in Buendia’s absence, proving just how crucial he has been to their fortunes, and speaking to The Athletic, teammate Ben Gibson claimed: “You’ll always miss a player of that quality. He’s a very special talent.”

Max Aarons, who has also been linked with a switch to East London in recent weeks, has also heaped praise on the magician before. He told the Byline podcast (via Pink Un): “He’s tenacious and very strong. He’s got a lot of attributes.”

£40m may be a stretch when you consider that Moyes also needs a new striker but David Sullivan and co shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to sign a player who could well evolve into their next Payet.

AND in other news, West Ham handed significant blow to “phenomenal” £36m-rated top Moyes target

Article title: Emi Buendia could be West Ham’s next Dimitri Payet

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