The golden £25m transfer opportunity West Ham simply cannot afford to miss
The Hammers could be granted a second chance at signing PSG striker Hugo Ekitike.
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Hugo? More like Hu-gone in January, amirite?! No? Nothing? Not even a flicker? Fair enough, it’s been a long old week.
Those of you with even the most casual of interests in West Ham United’s fortunes will be acutely aware that the Hammers have piled headlong into the new Premier League campaign with a notable lack of strength and/or depth at the point of their attack. Those of you without even the most casual of interests in West Ham United’s fortunes, I am genuinely quite intrigued as to how you have stumbled across this sorry excuse for an article. Now that you’re here though, I’d like to talk to you about Hugo Ekitike.
In an attempt to bolster their striking options in the latter stages of the transfer window, the Hammers made a number of efforts to lure the precocious Frenchman away from his current club, Paris Saint-Germain. To that end, the Ligue 1 giants were quite content to let him leave, but were eager for him to join Eintracht Frankfurt as part of a deal to bring Randal Kolo Muani to Parc des Princes.
Needless to say, Ekitike, wooed by the prospect of playing in the Premier League, dug his heels in and snubbed a move to Germany hoping to instead force through a transfer to this dreary, fractured isle - much to the chagrin of PSG. Indeed, so frustrated by his stubborness were the French giants that they have reportedly since decided it would perhaps be best for all parties if he simply packed his suitaces and did one by the time the winter transfer window comes around. Hence the abysmal intro.
Now, naturally, this could spell wonderful news for West Ham. It might have been even better had PSG reached their conclusion at any point before, say, 11pm on Friday, September 1st, but nevertheless, the probability of a key summer target suddenly becoming available for a mid-season switch surely can’t be a bad thing.
You see, at the time of writing, David Moyes’ out-and-out centre forward options amount to Michail Antonio, Danny Ings, and and however many own goals their various oppositions are willing to ship over the course of a campaign. The Irons have started the season at a blistering pace, but you would fancy that if they are to sustain their dizzying form for any meaningful length of time, they will have to seek further reinforcements in January. And not only would Ekitike be an extra body up front, but he would be a worthy addition too.
Judging him on the basis of his stint with PSG feels a touch unjust, in truth. Last term he amassed a relatively modest four goals and four assists across all competitions, but of his 32 outings, just 14 were starts. This season, chances have been harder to come by; thus far he has clocked up just eight minues of first team action.
Looking further back into the annals of his fledgling career, however, it is clear to see that he is in possession of a considerable talent that just needs to be handed the proper opportunity to shine. During a breakout campaign for boyhood club Stade de Reims in 2021/22, the 21-year-old scored 11 goals and assisted five more in just 27 appearances to capture the attention of Europe’s elite. So good was he, in fact, that PSG were compelled to pay around £24.5 million for his services almost immediately.
But Ekitike offers more than just goals; he is a superbly adept carrier of the ball, and is capable of operating out wide as well as through the centre; he holds play up well, and likes to bring those around him into the game with short, smart passes - something that would no doubt benefit the plethora of buzzing wingers and attack-minded midfielders that the Hammers already boast; he contributes defensively too, and his towering physique makes him an asset at set-pieces in both penalty areas. In short, Ekitike is a well-rounded, modern striker who has proven that he can do the basics well, and a whole lot more besides.
You would suspect, given their need for a centre forward and Ekitike’s obvious potential, that West Ham might have been tempted to revisit a deal for the player in January regardless of this latest update on his status in Paris. The fact that he may be permitted to waltz out of the French capital entirely uncontested, however, might just prove to be all the motivation they need to definitely firm up their prolonged interest.