West Ham are reportedly well in the hunt for an Arsenal striker, but have learned who their main competitor in the transfer battle is.
Signing a new striker remains a priority in this transfer window for West Ham. They sold Sebastien Haller to Ajax in January but opted to wait before finding the right replacement. Ever since, rumours about who they might go for have persisted.
It won’t be easy for the Hammers to identify the ideal target. They have already been met with disappointment in their pursuit of Youssef En-Nesyri of Sevilla, for example. A loan offer for Cagliari’s Giovanni Simeone has also reportedly been rejected.
But one name that remains an option is Eddie Nketiah, who seems destined to leave Arsenal this summer. Only one year remains on his contract at the Emirates Stadium and his current club are likely to cash in.
England’s all-time record goalscorer at under-21 level, Nketiah is still waiting for a senior breakthrough. He has made 65 appearances for Arsenal’s first team so far, but has only started 11 Premier League games. What’s more, a loan spell at Leeds United when they were in the Championship did not work out too well either.
But still only 22, Nketiah has plenty of time ahead of him to realise his potential. He may get the chance to do so across London with West Ham.
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David Moyes’ side have been keen on Nketiah for a while and seem to be increasing their interest. According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, their efforts to sign him could become serious.
Speaking to the Arsenal Lounge podcast, Romano revealed that West Ham are one of the two leading contenders for Nketiah’s signature. The other is Bayer Leverkusen, who could give him the platform to succeed in the Bundesliga.
Several English youngsters have furthered their careers by moving to Germany. The ship has not yet sailed for Nketiah and he could follow that route as well.
Other options for Nketiah
But West Ham are also well placed to sign him if they decide to act upon their interest. Being able to stay in London may appeal to the former Chelsea academy player.
Alternatively, Watford have an interest in the background following their promotion to the Premier League. They are not as serious as West Ham or Leverkusen just yet, though.
It is also not impossible that Nketiah could stay at Arsenal. Romano claims there is a new contract offer on the table, but with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli all ahead of him in the pecking order – as well as Folarin Balogun committing to a long-term deal – Nketiah may snub it.
Moving to either West Ham or Bayer Leverkusen seems like the most likely scenario for Nketiah at this stage in time.