West Ham United are thought to be exploring a move for Lille’s Jonathan Bamba before Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
That’s according to the Express, who claim that the Irons view the 25-year-old as a potential alternative to Jesse Lingard but he should be considered regardless of whether last season’s loan sensation returns to the London Stadium.
As Football FanCast have already explained this week, the 5 foot 9 dynamo would be a mouthwatering prospect alongside free-scoring Hammers talisman, Michail Antonio.
And that’s largely due to his creative exploits from both the flank and through the middle.
Breaking the Lines journalist Zach Lowry waxed lyrical about these attributes back in February this year, just as Lille were starting to mount a serious charge on the Ligue 1 title, which they eventually won over big-spending Paris Saint-Germain.
“Jonathan Bamba has established himself as the creative leader of this Lille team this season,” he tweeted. “He was the ‘fourth wheel’ from the 2018/19 side with Nicolas Pépé, Jonathan Ikoné and Rafael Leão, but he’s cemented himself as their talisman — everything runs through him in attack.”
Indeed, the former France U21 international, who is currently valued at £22.5m by Transfermarkt, played a crucial role under Christophe Galtier last season – as per Transfermarkt, he provided six goals and 11 assists in 38 league appearances, managing a direct contribution every 176 minutes.
This sort of presence should draw plenty of similarities to that of Dimitri Payet, the last true player to regularly have supporters on the edge of their seats in east London.
In 48 appearances for West Ham, the technically-gifted Payet delivered 11 goals and 18 assists, and perhaps it could’ve been so much more. Even after his exit, no West Ham player could match his chances created since the 2015 season, which speaks volumes.
He is arguably the Irons’ greatest-ever playmaker in the modern era and on the above evidence, Bamba could certainly follow in his footsteps if signed. That is why the arrival of Lingard should not matter, because the Lille star can play wide, too – just like Payet, who has played more times at left-wing than any other role.
Described as ‘lightning-quick,’ the 25-year-old could well have the attributes to eclipse his fellow countryman’s exploits at the Hammers.
David Moyes must look to sanction a swoop for Bamba before next week. He would be one exciting addition to the side that’s currently sat top of the Premier League table.