Last summer West Ham United completed a deal for young Swedish talent Sead Haksabanovic. It was a deal that largely went under the radar. The deal was worth a reported £2.7 million and the teenager signed on a five-year deal.
Undoubtedly, this was seen as a move for the future, but his first season at the club did not go exactly according to plan.
He failed to make the breakthrough to the first-team and was not overly impressive for the club’s under-23 side. Just the one assist in 14 games meant he rarely played a full 90 minutes.
But this summer has been a lifeline for the Montenegro talent. He has been a regular in pre-season, playing in a more central role for the Hammers.
It certainly appears that Manuel Pellegrini is already fonder of Haksabanovic than Slaven Bilic or David Moyes were.
So can he have a first-team shot this season?
West Ham have improved their wide options considerably this summer. With Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko and the returning Robert Snodgrass all looking to be in the driving seat in that regard.
But if Haksabanovic’s future is in the more central playmaking position, perhaps he could play a role this season. West Ham have Manuel Lanzini out injured for a large portion of the campaign.
The 19-year-old is certainly looking like having a bright future at West Ham. Whether this season is too soon for him to be a regular remains to be seen. But it certainly seems he is a star in the making.