West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

West Ham join race for Chelsea, Arsenal target to replace discarded star Gerrard wants in Saudi Arabia

Cengiz Under and Elye Wahi

Cengiz Under battling with Elye Wahi in a match between Marseille and Montpellier

West Ham have emerged as contenders for the signing of Elye Wahi from Montpellier after one of their own forwards became a target in Saudi Arabia, according to reports.

Wahi has already been linked with Chelsea and Arsenal, but now West Ham are on the scene too. In recent months, he has established himself as one of the most promising strikers in Ligue 1.

Therefore, according to 90min, West Ham would be interested in signing Wahi. How much they may pay for him remains unclear, but it might be a move that appeals to him.

After all, Chelsea’s plan would be to loan him to Strasbourg immediately after acquiring him. Strasbourg finished below Montpellier in the 2022-23 Ligue 1 table, so it isn’t too hard to work out why Wahi wouldn’t be keen on that move.

In contrast, West Ham may have a more timely plan for Wahi. The report adds that their existing frontman, Michail Antonio, will be made available for transfer this summer.

Antonio is West Ham’s record scorer in the Premier League era, but is in the final year of his contract. Therefore, if a suitable offer comes in, West Ham will accept it.

The next destination for Antonio could be Saudi Arabia. According to the report, Steven Gerrard wants to add him to his Al Ettifaq squad.

Al Ettifaq have already been working on the addition of Jordan Henderson from Liverpool. Antonio could become the next big name on their radar from the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Gianluca Scamacca continues to be linked with a return to Roma, where he previously played in the youth ranks. If West Ham lose him as well, it would heighten their need for another striker.

How do Wahi and Antonio compare?

If they manage to win the race for Wahi – who is also of interest to Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Wolves, Lazio and Union Berlin, according to the report – then West Ham will be hoping he can become a natural successor to Antonio.

Last season, Wahi scored 0.7 times per 90 minutes in Ligue 1, whereas Antonio scored at a rate of just 0.2 times per 90 minutes.

Wahi averaged 2.2 shots per 90 minutes, of which 1.4 were on target. In comparison, Antonio averaged 1.9 shots and 0.6 on target.

However, one way in which Antonio outperformed Wahi was in the frequency of aerial duels he won (2.4 compared to 0.7). Therefore, West Ham may have to adapt their style of play to accommodate Wahi.

In terms of his ability in front of goal, though, he could be an exciting prospect for them to work with. The same could have been said about Scamacca this time last year, though, and that didn’t necessarily work out.

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