Opinion: West Ham should move to sign 'exceptional' striker this summer, he could be available for free

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

According to the Daily Mail, West Ham sit atop the pile of clubs interested in securing the services of Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah when his contract ends in July.

Nketiah is said to be desperate for playing time while the Hammers are desperate for a backup striker.

In a season in which West Ham’s thin but talented squad has been worn down to the bone, the need for a backup for Michail Antonio has been clear for all to see.

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Antonio has looked tired and his form has suffered as a result. Players like Nikola Vlasic and Jarrod Bowen have tried to deputize at times but because it was not natural for them, the attacking chemistry suffered.

Eddie Nketiah would offer a different more subtle profile than Antonio and on a free transfer, it’s hard to see the downside for the Hammers.

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

What can Nketiah bring to West Ham?

Backup firstly, but in the long run, David Moyes will hope one of the best ‘fox in the box’ strikers currently in the Premier League.

Nketiah has a rare profile in a modern game in which the striker and winger role has started to mould into one. He has the completely natural instinct of where the goal is and where he has to be in the box to score.

He is a keen presser also. In both Arsenal’s recent win 4-2 win over Chelsea (after which Jamie Redknapp called Nketiah ‘exceptional’ on Sky Sports) and their 2-1 win over Leeds, Nketiah’s pressing ability has won him 2 goals.

Micah Richards, speaking to Sky Sports at half-time in Arsenal’s game against Leeds, was very impressed with his first goal:

“It’s just great centre-forward play. He doesn’t sprint, but he goes, ‘okay, Leeds want to play out, this is what we’re going to do’, Meslier takes a really bad touch.”

“He’s left-footed, he’s tried to bring it across onto his left foot. Nketiah just reads it.”

These are the type of goals West Ham rarely score as although Antonio is a good presser of the ball, he’s not one press all the way back to the keeper.

What’s the risk?

The only risk could be his wages. As a free agent, he will be demanding more than he would if there was a transfer fee, an unfortunate side effect of how modern football works. With his current wage at arsenal said to be around £45,000 a week currently, you would imagine he’d want an increase of at least £10,000 a week.

What outways the risk however is the potential. At 23 Nketiah is still young and a bit raw but there is obviously bags of talent there.

Even before his recent good form, he had been making a name for himself on the international scene with the England u21’s.

He is the current all-time England u21 top goalscorer with 13. The previous top scorer was Alan Shearer so if the record is anything to go by, the signing could be the bargain of the century for West Ham.

He has been tipped for greatness all the way through the Arsenal academy and has unfortunately suffered from having both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang ahead of him while in the first team at Arsenal.

If West Ham can give him the time and space to grow, there is no reason why his recent form for Arsenal couldn’t become the norm for them.

It is not often you can secure a player like this on a free transfer so if the West Ham hierarchy have the power to make this happen, they must.

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