The £21m wonderkid winger that could be on his way to West Ham this summer

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
West Ham have been linked with a bid for a gifted young Brazilian winger - but is he ready for the Premier League?

West Ham United’s continued attempts to sign Wesley Gassova, a 19-year-old winger from Brazil whose flair and dancing feet have made him a fan favourite at Corinthians, don’t seem to be reaching a conclusion imminently – but their persistence suggests this a deal more likely than not to get done eventually. But should they get a deal over the line, what kind of player would they be getting?

West Ham have been linked with Wesley repeatedly over recent months by a broad variety of news outlets, with Caught Offside recently claiming the only sticking point was the price – Corinthians want a fee of at least €25m (£21.3m), apparently, while West Ham don’t want to go higher than €15m (£12.8m).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There may be some competition for his signature, with claims of interest from Fulham as well as Spain and Italy, but West Ham have been on this hunt for months now, and seem like the genuine front-runners. Assuming they eventually get their man, they will get a prospect with plenty of talent but who will need the right coaching to get to the next level.

Wesley is a dynamic right-footed left-winger who made his senior debut in 2022 and has established himself as a regular in Corinthians’ side over the last year or so with increasingly impressive results – he’s scored three and set up one more in his last six games in Série A and the Copa Sudamericana, with strikes including a luscious lob against Argentinos Juniors and a sublime goal against Fluminense which saw him run 40 yards before sitting two defenders down and finishing coolly after getting himself clean through.

His agility and close control stand out immediately – he has the knack of keeping the ball glued to his instep as he runs and his fast feet and low centre of gravity mean he can change direction and disorientate defenders with speed and ease. In full flow, he’s a lovely player to watch.

He also seems to be developing good instincts in front of goal and while he looks to create chances more often than he tries to take the shot on himself, he seems to take aim from sensible positions and has scored a handful of extremely fine goals cutting back inside to the corner of the penalty area. The early signs suggest that he could become a very productive attacking player as well an enjoyable one.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He does still need to work on his decision making with the ball at his feet - not that that doesn’t apply to most young wingers, but he has a bad habit of looking to extend dribbles instead of trying to offload to another player, and he rarely seems satisfied with beating just one man. Often he tries to shimmy his way past two or three, looking for a killer play, and the result is too many runs which end with the ball back in the opponent’s possession.

It doesn’t help that he lacks truly express pace – he’s shifty and has a good burst of acceleration, but he doesn’t have the straight-line speed to put top-class full-backs on toast. You get the impression, however, that somebody needs to tell him.

There are some elements of Manchester United’s Alejandro Garnacho in his game, despite the substantial physical and stylistic differences. Like the Argentine, he’s direct, confident and always looking to break the lines and find ways to generate chances for himself and others, but he also needs to learn when to check back and lay the ball off rather than going for another mazy run. Wesley’s development will be determined to no small extent by how teachable he is and who does the teaching.

It’s worth noting that while he does take on too much, too often, Wesley has the skills to pull big plays off and he gets up the field and past defenders as a matter of routine, creating space and attacking opportunities for his team – but he does cost his team possession a little too often, and isn’t very effective at winning it back. The hope is that the volume of chances he generates (around 5.6 shots for himself and others per game at the moment, which is slightly higher than Jarrod Bowen managed this season) outweighs the ones he offers up by biting off more than he can chew.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Wesley is a gifted young player in the earliest phase of his career, and West Ham fans shouldn’t expect a finished product. A left winger is a must for this summer, but if the young Brazilian was the only player signed for that role it would likely be a mistake – he will frustrate as often as he delights and dazzles at the moment, and it would likely be best for his development if he was introduced gradually into Premier League football, especially when he would be a teenager moving overseas for the first time.

If they can negotiate a middle ground on the transfer fee with Corinthians, they’ll get a player who’s a bundle of fun and capable of magical moments – but also a player who isn’t ready to carry the weight of a team’s attack on his shoulders just yet. Let’s hope that wherever he ends up, he’s looked after the right way.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.