As the hunt for a new striker drags on, the list of clubs sniffing around one of West Ham’s striker targets continues to grow. Crystal Palace, scrambling after the sudden resignation of Sam Allardyce, have found a new manager in Frank de Boer and look to back him with a marquee signing, Kelechi Iheanacho. Crystal Palace splashed the cash last summer, spending £32m on Christian Benteke and may dip into their coffers again to bring in the talented Nigerian. This is the second side to show interest in Iheanacho, with Leicester City also interested. Had Allardyce not resigned, who knows if Palace would be looking to sign the striker.
Losing out on Iheanacho would not necessarily be the end of the world provided the Board brings in another striker to fill his would-be role, but the greater concern here is that (a) West Ham cannot, or will not, spend the necessary funds for a prospect of Iheanacho’s caliber, or (b) East London is not a prefered destination for players.
Like it or not, we are a mid-table side. Leicester, even though they are a year removed from winning the title, are a mid-table side, same with Palace. It is one thing to lose out to the likes of Chelsea (like with Michy Batshuayi last summer), but it is entirely another thing to lose out to rival clubs of similar caliber. With other sides making moves early in the transfer window, Irons fans have to wonder if we are in for another summer of gut-punches, constantly being linked with talent only to see them sign elsewhere. Iheanacho provides a great litmus test, given the final terms. If the resulting deal is within the realm of reality and Iheanacho signs somewhere else, it would be a rather damning assessment of the club’s ambitions. If we are able to clinch his signature, it would be a bold statement, not just to the fans, but to the rest of the league.