International tournaments have a way of attracting attention to players that otherwise might go unnoticed. For example, DeAndre Yedlin, currently of Newcastle, would likely have not gotten the attention of Tottenham Hotspur scouts only playing for the Seattle Sounders, but after his fine showing at the 2014 World Cup, Yedlin was sold to Spurs in the summer of 2014, with the club saying that his perfomance at the World Cup a key reason he was bought by Spurs.
One of the stories of the AFCON 2017 tournament was the run that Ghana made at the tournament. West Ham United fans will be familiar with André Ayew’s goal scoring for Ghana, and most would be familiar with his brother Jordan Ayew, who plays for Swansea City after being transferred from Aston Villa in the January transfer window, but beyond that, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to assume that most of the team could sit next to the average West Ham on the bus and not be recognized.
One of the players for the Black Stars that impressed many observers was Atlético Madrid’s Thomas Partey. Despite not starting any of the Spanish club’s games this season, and only appearing in four games as a sub, Partey played the full 90 minutes in two of Ghana’s group matches and started the quarterfinals, semi-finals, and third place game.
At only 23 years old, Partey is the type of player that higher profile clubs would usually like to hold on to. Atlético Madrid has already sent Partey out on loan twice, to Mallorca in 2013-14 and Almería in 2014-15. The state of the finances at Atlético Madrid, however, seems to necessitate selling of players, even exciting unproven young ones.
West Ham is rumored to be interested in the midfielder, and could move for him this summer. Partey is rumored to have a 20 million pound release clause in his contract, but at this point that price seems a bit steep for a player that has yet to start for Atlético this season. However, with Spanish newspaper AS claiming at least three Premier League teams, Watford FC and Middlesbrough along with West Ham, allegedly interested in the young Ghanaian, a bidding war could erupt.
That large of transfer sum would be a steep price to pay for another central midfielder, with Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang, and Cheikhou Kouyaté all in the running for playing time in the middle of the pitch for West Ham. Of course, applying logic to the transfer policy of West Ham is often a fool’s game, with the club refusing to address the right back situation for yet another transfer window, despite Sam Byram’s lack of fitness, and deciding that the current striker core is good enough for the rest of the season, despite the lack of experience behind the oft-injured Andy Carroll.