A few weeks left in the transfer window, and West Ham United have been linked with pretty much every top striker so far. Once again, this summer is reminiscent of summers past. The question is what happens to young guys like Ashley Fletcher and Toni Martinez if and/or when the club actually lands one of these top strikers?
Fletcher got the start in the club’s first preseason match earlier in the week, but with Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho still not fit, it seemed as if Slaven Bilic had no other option. There’s no doubt that Fletcher has astounding ability, and at just 21 years old, all he needs is time to unleash that ability. The best thing for this lad is for him to be getting Premier League minutes — that means more than coming on during garbage time in a 3-0 loss. Fletcher needs to experience playing in the Premier League to improve. Unless he’s loaned to another Premier League team, the only thing that is going to help this youngster get his game to an elite level is getting time in with the first team. He doesn’t have to be starting, but that wouldn’t hurt.
Fletcher has actually had some first team chances. The same cannot be said for Toni Martinez, who at 20 years old is looking to be the striker of the future at the London Stadium. Key words here are “the future.”
After news breaking of left forward Keita Baldé and Javier Hernandez yesterday, it looks as if the Hammers are serious about signing some top players. With this in mind, one wonders what will happen to the Spanish wonderkid that is Martinez. Fletcher will surely get some first team chances this season (lest he goes out on loan), even with the possible additions of Hernandez and Arnautovic who are both seasoned veterans.
Martinez will likely be going out on loan once again this season, which is fine for a 20-year-old, but let us hope that the youngster goes to a Championship team this time around, as he’s proven that he can do well down in League One. Some folks aren’t exactly sold on Martinez yet; he scores in buckets, but he also misses his fair share of shots. A loan to a solid Championship club could see that make:miss ratio go way up.
We look forward to seeing what West Ham gets out of these two young players in the future. Until then, we’re excited to see what Chicharito can do for the claret and blue next season — assuming that the deal happens.