West Ham United enjoyed a pretty successful transfer window, signing no fewer than four new first-team players, but they were arguably just one addition away from it being a perfect ten out of ten all round.
For the next few months, at the very least, manager David Moyes will only have one senior centre-forward at his disposal after one seemingly eluded him throughout the summer.
It’s certainly a risky game to play as an injury to Michail Antonio will leave the Scotsman with a massive selection nightmare. And that does seem likely considering the 31-year-old’s injury history. He hasn’t started more than 24 league matches in any of the previous four seasons.
Whilst last season’s top goalscorer has started the campaign like a house on fire, bagging four goals and providing three assists to top the Premier League individual charts, the prospect of him ever facing time out without a back-up is an alarming concern.
In fact, it’s an issue he has been faced with since January 2021, when club-record signing Sebastien Haller’s time at the London Stadium came to a premature end following his move to Eredivisie giants Ajax.
Ultimately, Moyes is going to have to find a temporary solution in the eventuality that the worst does happen. Yes, the likes of Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma could step up out of position, likewise with forgotten man Andriy Yarmolenko but there are also reasons against making such decisions.
With the first duo, you’d be taking away a key player from an important, familiar and successful role, whilst the Ukraine forward is hardly up to the standards, having started just one league game in 2020/21.
Perhaps the 58-year-old coach can dip into the club’s promising youth academy to find the next Declan Rice or Ben Johnson to breakthrough into first-team stardom.
With Ademipo Odubeko out on loan at Championship outfit Huddersfield Town, the door could open for summer youth signing Thierry Nevers, who is already making an impression at Rush Green.
The 19-year-old attacker has already found the net in back-to-back matches for the U23s in the Premier League 2, including a strike against the very impressive Arsenal academy.
That adds to his nine goals in 25 appearances for the Reading youth side in the very same competition last year.
‘Quick, skilful and possessing a razor-sharp eye for goal’ is how West Ham’s official website described the teenager upon his arrival.
Academy manager Ricky Martin also added: “Thierry is someone that we’ve been following for the last couple of seasons. He’s put in some very impressive performances, and we’re really excited to introduce him to the U23s squad. We hope he will have a very successful career at the Hammers.”
Nevers could well be in line for a chance in the first-team, even if Antonio remains fit, as rotation will be key across the Premier League, Europa League and the domestic cup competitions too.
The Athletic’s Roshane Thomas has already claimed that the young gem has “been on fire for the U23s” and that he “could feature in one of the cup games if he keeps up his form.”
Moyes could well find a temporary and short-term solution to West Ham’s alarming striker situation by unleashing Nevers whenever he’s needed.