Friday, September 18, 2020

The Championship starlets topping West Ham’s summer wishlist

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Managing to eventually extend on their Premier League status with time to spare this summer, West Ham are a side almost looking to rebuild after what was a disappointing campaign in East London.

With David Moyes expected to embark on a squad overhaul at the London Stadium this summer, the likes of January arrivals Jarrod Bowen and Tomáš Souček certainly made an immediate impact for the Hammers either side of the enforced break.

While there might remain a string of questions surrounding Declan Rice’s future, West Ham are expected to be heading in a more youthful and vibrant direction over the coming months.

Linked with a host of the Championship’s brightest starlets this summer, who are the second-tier talismans who could be on their way to East London before the 2020/2021 campaign quickly gets underway?

Eberechi Eze – QPR

With whispers coming out of the London Stadium that the Hammers are seeking to follow the Red Bull model this summer and focus their attention on the country’s most promising stars, it is no secret that Eberechi Eze is held in high regard by many at West Ham.

Enjoying what has been a stunning breakout campaign with QPR this season and gaining a long list of admirers from the Premier League, the 22-year-old is rumored to be David Moyes’ number one target over the coming months.

With the Evening Standard reporting that QPR values their prized asset at £20million, it has also been reported that the former Manchester United boss is even willing to lose Felipe Anderson in an attempt to raise some funds.

Ending this year’s Championship campaign with 14 strikes, Eze has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most promising young playmakers across the country.

While Crystal Palace are another London outfit that have made their intentions clear to both Eze and QPR, the Hammers certainly have a bargaining chip that could swing the balance in their favour.

Enjoying his own eye-catching campaign in West London following a successful loan spell from West Ham, the Hoops are keen to make Jordan Hugill’s move a permanent one and Moyes is happy to use him in a potential player plus cash deal.

Ryan Manning – QPR

Once again closely keeping their attention on Loftus Road this summer, Eze isn’t the only QPR star who West Ham are reportedly keen on bringing to East London over the coming months.

While he might have started his career as a midfielder, Ryan Manning has impressed many with his transition to full-back and his performances in the Championship have seen him catch Moyes’ eye.

With a reputation for his attack-minded qualities, Manning made 41 appearances for Rangers this past season, bagging seven assists and five goals.

Entering the final year of his contract with QPR, The Guardian are reporting that West Ham are extremely confident of wrapping up a deal for the full-back sooner rather that later.

With Moyes making it clear that he is desperate to add defensive reinforcements to what is a leaky Hammers’ defence, the Scottish boss was also seen in West London during Rangers’ 4-3 win against Millwall a fortnight ago.

Already making a string of appearances for Ireland at youth level and it appearing it is only a matter of time before he receives a first senior cap, Manning certainly fits the criteria that Moyes is looking to bring in this summer.

Antonee Robinson – Wigan

While Wigan might still be fighting in a battle to have their 12-point deduction removed and extend on their Championship status this summer, it appears that a number of their brightest stars are attracting interest from elsewhere.

Most notable is 22-year-old left-back, Antonee Robinson.

With the likes of Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku expected to be given the option to move to new pastures, West Ham have remained heavily linked with a move for the young American defender.

Watching a £10million move to Italian giants AC Milan fall through at the last minute, Robinson has enjoyed a stellar campaign with the Latics and his eye-catching release clause has certainly attracted Moyes’ interest.

Watching on at the Valley as Wigan faced off against Charlton last month, the Hammers’ boss reportedly sees him as a long-term option as they look to rebuild this summer.

Playing a vital part in a Wigan side that managed to record an outstanding 10 clean sheets in their final 13 Championship appearances last season, the East London outfit have also been put on a red alert due to a recently discovered clause in Robinson’s contract.

Now available to leave the DW for just £1.5million this summer following Wigan’s pending relegation to League One, there is no doubt that the 22-year-old would be an impressive swoop for Moyes and West Ham.

Ollie Watkins & Said Benrahma – Brentford

Ahead of Tuesday’s West London derby to determine who will secure that final lucrative spot in the Premier League for next season, Moyes will certainly be keeping a close eye on proceedings at Wembley.

With Brentford and local rivals Fulham facing off in the Championship’s Play-off Final, West Ham have remained heavily linked with two of the Bees’ most sort-after assets.

Forming a stellar partnership and both playing a vital role in what has been an outstanding campaign for Thomas Frank’s youngsters across London, Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma are rumored to be topping West Ham’s summer wishlist.

With the deadly duo raking up a staggering 43 goals between them for Brentford this season, Moyes has remained a longtime admirer of both.

With it still remaining unclear whether club-record signing Sebastien Haller will be part of the Scot’s plans for next year, the Hammers were previously linked with Watkins prior to the lockdown and have kept a watchful eye on him over the past month.

Finding the net against Swansea last week, Watkins only finished behind Aleksandar Mitrovic in the race for the Championship Golden Boot.

Elsewhere, really bursting onto the scene in what has been a standout campaign for Said Benrahma, it is no surprise that the Algerian has gained a long list of admirers from across the Premer League.

Shortlisted for the Championship Player of the Year award, an accolade that was scooped up by his attacking partner, The Mirror are reporting that West Ham are one of a number of sides desperate to secure his signature this summer.

However, it is believed that the likes of Chelsea, Leeds, Aston Villa and Tottenham have all shown their interests in Benrahma.

With the pair just both 24 and the ideal fit for what Moyes is trying to create at the London Stadium, there is no doubt that one, or both, of Brentford’s attacking stars would offer them a huge boost.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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