Sought-after Montpellier forward Elye Wahi has reportedly picked West Ham United as his next destination despite being courted by Premier League colossi Chelsea.
According to Foot Mercato, the 20-year-old feels he would have better chances of landing regular first-team football at the London Stadium following Gianluca Scamacca’s transfer to Atalanta.
Earlier reports from Football Today detailed Wahi’s doubts about joining forces with Mauricio Pochettino’s side caused by a legitimate fear he won’t be the Argentine’s first option in the front third.
Lukaku Blocks Chelsea Market
Pochettino has brought Nicolas Jackson from Villarreal as a potential long-term solution to Chelsea’s goalscoring problems, but he’s still open to signing another forward.
However, the arrival of another striker largely depends on the fate of unsettled superstar Romelu Lukaku, whose reluctance to continue his career in Saudi Arabia has caused mayhem at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea cannot get rid of the Belgian’s massive salary soon enough. Yet a lack of European suitors following a breakdown in the player’s relationship with Inter Milan has hindered their effort to release their outcast.
With the former Manchester United flop frozen out of the squad, Albanian youngster Armando Broja, whom Chelsea refused to sell to AC Milan, remains the only back-up option for Jackson.
On that basis, the Blues remain in the market for a new frontman, but they cannot do anything before removing Lukaku from their payroll.
West Ham in Pole Position
Despite selling Declan Rice to Arsenal and dispatching Scamacca back to Serie A, West Ham’s incoming market has barely moved from square one, even though the new Premier League season is already underway.
Their unrelenting pursuit of long-serving Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse has finally paid dividends as the club announced the midfielder’s signing in a £30 million deal on Sunday.
Manager David Moyes is desperate to add to his attacking department after being reduced to Michail Antonio and Danny Ings as the only centre-forward options.
The Hammers are reportedly ready to launch a €35m bid for Wahi, who went from strength to strength last tem despite Montpellier’s season-long struggle in the Ligue 1 lower reaches.
Given the inflated market prices in the current transfer market, Wahi’s price tag looks like a bargain fee. As Michel Der Zakarian’s primary source of goals, the prodigious forward netted 19 times in 33 league appearances in 2022/23, helping La Paillade to a 12th-place finish.
West Ham’s interest in Montpellier’s homegrown starlet is hardly a surprise, as Moyes must address the scoring woes that saw the London side net only 42 Premier League goals last term.
Among the sides to have secured top-flight survival, only six clubs lamented a worse attacking output than the reigning Europa Conference League champions.
What’s Next After Wahi?
Wahi’s potential arrival would plug the hole in attack, but West Ham must solve another pressing issue.
Harry Maguire’s proposed move from Manchester United looked like a done deal before the England international cast doubt on the operation.
West Ham and Man Utd have agreed a transfer fee for the 30-year-old’s switch to the capital after Erik ten Hag stripped the Englishman of the club’s captaincy and deemed him surplus to requirements.
Moyes hoped to come to Maguire’s aid and hand him an unexpected opportunity to rescue his career in the Premier League.
The centre-back’s underwhelming stint at Old Trafford is finished, and with Euro 2024 coming up next summer, the out-of-favour Red Devils star needs to find a new home to bolster his chances of making the cut.
But despite being warned by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate about his declining international prospects, the ex-Leicester City defender hesitates to accept West Ham’s proposal.