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Kelechi Iheanacho: The striker West Ham should buy in the summer

Possibly forced out of Man City, the Nigerian would be the shrewdest of signings

Manchester City FC v Celtic FC - UEFA Champions League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

With their Simone Zaza experiment fail, the Andre Ayew tale far from being finished and the constant injury woes for Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho, the questions about what striker West Ham United should bring in next have long been in play since the middle of the season.

Nostalgic clamoring for Jermaine Defoe began this experiment, as the former Hammers-developed prodigy seemed like he would be the only reason Sunderland stayed in the Premier League with his goals barrage in the middle of the campaign. Attention quickly then went to Scott Hogan, as the then Brentford City goal scorer appeared as if he were mere inches away from coming to the London Stadium, only for the current version of Aston Villa better suited for his level.

As of late, massive desires and “might as well take your chance” yearnings for Bundesliga star Anthony Modeste have bubbled for our Bubbles’ club supporters. And after scoring the title clinching goal for champions Chelsea on Friday, Michy Batshuayi re-entered West Ham fans’ hearts after the club were in contention for the Belgian talent following his tremendous season at Marseille last May.

But for all of those talented names listed above, who have been rumored to be the striker Slaven Bilic (or whoever is manager) should get in the summer, not one of them is the ideal man that West Ham should secure (and no, it isn’t the often injured Daniel Sturridge either).

Instead, the out and out forward that would be the perfect signing for the Hammers is none other than Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho. Hands down, no arguments, without a single doubt.

As rumors swirl with Pablo Zabaleta taking his great but aging talents south to the capital for West Ham, it is his much younger Nigerian teammate who is the one they should be after.

Pep Guardiola, in his continued persistence to not favor some talented players he didn’t bring in, has virtually pushed Iheanacho almost out the door to a decision: whether to stay with the club he thought he would become a world class star with or to exit. Thinking that he was the possible replacement and prime backup to Sergio Aguero at City in the Guardiola era, the 20-year-old was thrown a curveball by his new superstar manager when the Spaniard purchased the services of the slightly younger Olympic champion Gabriel Jesus last August. Although the Brazilian wunderkind would come in the January transfer window, giving Iheanacho a full first half of the season to impress Guardiola, the Imo native knew his future with City was in perilous condition for the first time.

That still didn’t stop Iheanacho from continuing to impress in City colors. In the five times he has started in 14 Premier League appearances this season, the clinical finisher has found the back of the net four times. Showing that he isn’t a one dimension forward only capable of scoring goals and not creating for others, Iheanacho also has three assists in those outings. Add on two goals in the Champions League and one tally in the FA Cup, and it is an impressive seven goal season in limited action for this starlet.

But with Guardiola hell bent on Gabriel Jesus being City’s focal point for the future and seemingly in favor of keeping the volatile Aguero in the squad for now, Iheanacho is cognizant that he may have to leave the club that developed him into a coveted talent.

With proven durability thus far in his fledgling career when given the chance to play, Iheanacho is the young, but seasoned striker that West Ham require ASAP. The club simply has to get younger, and if you aren’t going to give Ashley Fletcher or Domingos Quina the full burden of being the main striker next season (and no rational person would), then getting someone with pedigree to show that he can do that job, while not being geriatric and/or injury riddled, is pertinent.

Plus a notable club like the Hammers, in the city of all cities in England, is something that can easily entice Iheanacho to show how wrong Guardiola potentially could be for letting him possibly depart. Still, at least City aren’t completely daft to Iheanacho’s quality, and have appeared to place an Ayew like price tag on him. That could prevent the Hammers from making back to back record signings, but that price for a potential long-time superstar like Iheanacho is a bargain in this day and age of insane transfers.

Jermaine Defoe is simply just too old. And Scott Hogan is simply not good enough to fill this role. Anthony Modeste seems as if he is too big for West Ham, while Daniel Sturridge would bring in the same issues that Carroll and Sakho already provide us.

Instead, Kelechi Iheanacho is the striker that West Ham fans should want, and the striker West Ham’s board really need.