Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri excelled at a potentially ideal time for West Ham United by hitting a hat-trick against Cadiz CF on Saturday, only to then deal the Irons a huge blow.
Reports by the Daily Star earlier in the week suggested that Hammers were preparing a new offer worth up to £32m, including add-ons, with the hope of signing the 23-year-old forward this month, after seeing a £27m bid knocked back earlier in the January transfer window.
Yet Sevilla, who signed the Morocco international for just €20m (£18m), are said to be relaxed as they demand no less than €40m (£35.5m) outright to release the man who fired them up to third in the La Liga table with a Man of the Match showing in Saturday’s 3-0 win.
En-Nesyri’s hat-trick at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium was his second in the space of only two weeks, after firing home thrice in a 3-2 win at home to Real Sociedad. He now has 12 goals in 19 games, more than any other player in the Spanish top-flight.
It was not only his goals that saw En-Nesyri stand out against Cadiz this weekend, as he dictated the flow of Sevilla’s attacking gameplan to warrant a match-high 10 out of 10 rating from WhoScored.
It was his best match rating of the season so far, having offered a game-high five shots – three more than anyone else – of which four were directed on target. He also provided two key balls from 14 accurate passes, which SofaScore deemed to have created two big chances for Sevilla to find the back of Jeremias Ledesma’s net as they awarded him a 9.8/10 rating.
En-Nesyri has now created five clear-cut chances for Sevilla to score in La Liga fixtures this term but remains without an assist, despite offering four times his average key passes a game (0.5). No forward in La Liga has created a higher number of chances where there is a reasonable expectation of a teammate scoring without a shot being converted.
He also moved his successful dribbles a match average to 0.4 after successfully driving play forward with the ball at his feet on two of his six attempts against Cadiz – only four attackers across Spain’s top-flight offer two or more successful dribbles a game. One of those four attackers is Sevilla winger Suso, who attempted (8) dribbles against Cadiz.
En-Nesyri also contested more offensive aerial duels (3) than any of his teammates on Saturday, while attempting one defensive aerial contest further saw the €50,000-per-week (£44.5k-p/w) marksman match his season average of two or more duels won a game with a 51% success rate.
En-Nesyri even confirmed after the match that he had been suffering with sight issues after the foul he drew late in the first-half that led to his second goal.
But for as good a performance as En-Nesyri produced, maybe at a high enough level for West Ham to match Sevilla’s demands for a winter sale, he went on to perhaps deal a huge blow to the Irons’ hope of securing a transfer this month.
“Nothing has changed, all this comes with work and concentration. Now we are going for more, for now, I’m staying at Sevilla, I’m going nowhere,” he told Movistar+, via quotes by Estadio Deportivo. “I want to finish the year here. It’s a great club and I want to be here.”
En-Nesyri’s declaration will likely be seen as a huge blow at West Ham as the club searches for a new striker to replace Sebastien Haller.
After all, the Moroccan’s match-winning performance against Cadiz saw En-Nesyri offer more shots (2.2, Michail Antonio) and key passes (1.5, Aaron Cresswell) than any Irons player offers per game in the Premier League, of those to have featured on more than five occasions, per WhoScored.
Moyes should be looking to do all he can to convince En-Nesyri to have a swift change of heart before the window slams shut, as well as urging West Ham co-owner and Chairman David Sullivan to present the extra millions needed for a transfer, as he looks to be player who could be a very useful addition to the Hammers.