We are now into silly season and the Hammers are being linked with every striker on the planet. However, as the Irons look to bolster their squad to add depth and improve upon the 11th place finish this year, they should look east to the Eredivisie for talent. This has worked for arch rival Spurs, who signed Christen Eriksen from Ajax and helped jump-start their push to second place. With that in mind, below are three players (plus a bonus!) who could help West Ham next season. Before we begin, let’s set some ground rules. First, no Ajax players, as all the top clubs (i.e. those playing in the Champions League and maybe Arsenal) will push up the prices. Second, they have to be under 25. Finally, they have to have played for their national side (if born outside the Eurozone), in order to ease work permit issues. With that in mind, let’s get started:
Name: Alireza Jahanbakhsh
Club: AZ Alkmaar
Details: This young man has already started attracting the interest of other Premier League sides and for good reason as this past season he scored 10 goals while adding 9 assists. His pace and control down the wing can be seen in the highlights below. The forward/wing has also already made his senior debut for the Iranian National team, playing for the side in the 2014 World Cup. His ability to score a create is something that the side have wanted for a while, and his youth is only a bonus.
Name: Mimoun Mahi
Club: FC Groningen
Details: This young left wing was born in The Netherlands but represents Morocco at the international level. With 17 goals and 4 assists in 32 appearances, his strength and desire to take players on would be an asset down the left next year for the Irons (I am imagine the overlap play with Cresswell or Masuaku). This would be one of those under-the-radar type deals like Edimilson Fernandes that could have a lasting impact on the club.
Name: Milot Rashica
Position: Attacking mid/right wing
Details: Another right wing, Rashica is an assist machine, dishing out 14 dimes (with 4 goals) over 39 appearances. WIth 5 caps for Kosovo, he is a bright prospect who is strong on the ball and quick to cut inside. While not as quick as some of the above prospects, his strength would be a nice addition to the club.
Name: Enes Unal
Club: FC Twente (on loan from Manchester City)
Position: Center forward
Details: With rumors of West Ham looking to sign another young Man City striker, Kelechi Iheanacho, the club should maybe look to add yet another young talent to the deal, Enes Unal who has been on loan for the season at FC Twente. There are rumors he is set to sign a permanent deal with Villarreal, but the Hammers could swoop in to offer both first team football, and a chance to beat Man City twice a year. Unal had 17 goals this last season, with some calling him the greatest Turkish talent ever. Standing at 185m, and weighing 75kg, he is a bit slight and it not Andy Carroll sized, but that has not stopped him from doing things like this:
A signing like this would be a win-win: bringing in a young talent with an already distinguished scoring record, the Hammers would inject youth and talent up top, hopefully ending the search for a 20-goal-a-year striker for years to come.
Are there any other young players from leagues outside of the big five the Hammers should be looking at? Leave your comments below.