West Ham United are edging closer to their first signing of the summer, albeit one for the youth set-up…
Last week, the ever-reliable ExWHUemployee claimed that the Irons were set to sign Pierre Ekwah Elimby in the next few days. He told his Patreon page:
“Pierre Ekwah Elimby, who had been on trial at West Ham from Chelsea, is hoping to secure a move to the club in the next few days. It was claimed that he could be lured to the London Stadium, but the cost of the deal may have been a problem. It looks like the two clubs have reached an agreement and he is due to sign in the next few days.”
This has since been confirmed by Sky Sports’ transfer centre (via The Sun), who claimed that the Hammers had reached an agreement with Chelsea over a deal for the 19-year-old.
Ekwah is a highly-rated youngster in the Blues’ youth ranks, so this move will be considered quite the coup for West Ham – one that could draw some similarities to that of Declan Rice later down the line.
The versatile French defender has been capped 13 times at U16 level and can play either centre-back or in holding midfield, a bit like the Hammers’ star man himself.
Rice joined Chelsea’s academy aged just seven but was released only seven years later at 14, and The Athletic have since revealed why they gave up on his potential.
One reason was that he was thought to be not strong enough, another was interestingly his versatility, with one source claiming “one week he was left-back, the next he was at right wing.” And finally, the arrival of Joshua Colley from abroad put his place at risk.
The 22-year-old has since gone onto prove them wrong in abundance as he’s not only emerged as a reliable captain in the absence of Mark Noble, but a potential £70m signing amid interest from many of the Irons’ Premier League rivals.
It took him just a year to receive his first professional deal at the club and the Hammers will surely be hoping that Ekwah can follow suit.
Moyes has even reportedly taken a keen eye on the 6 foot 2 prospect’s performances during a trial, which will only bode well for his chances of replicating Rice in the near future.
Given that West Ham could be involved in a 50-plus game season next term, there’s every chance he becomes involved if he continues to impress the Scotsman.
If so, then the club’s hierarchy may have repeated their Rice masterstroke.