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West Ham offered Eddie Nketiah transfer hope after Arsenal agree new Folarin Balogun contract

·3-min read
<p>Eddie Nketiah has struggled for first-team football at Arsenal</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

Eddie Nketiah has struggled for first-team football at Arsenal

(AFP via Getty Images)

West Ham have been given hope a deal could be done for Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah this summer after fellow forward Folarin Balogun signed a new contract with the Gunners.

After selling Sebastien Haller to Ajax in January, and with fitness constantly a worry for Michail Antonio, the Hammers want to sign a new striker this summer and Nketiah is one of the targets on their shortlist, along with Sevilla's Youssef En-Nesyri.

West Ham saw a bid for En-Nesyri rejected in January but are understood to be ready to move again for the 23-year-old.

Closer to home, West Ham have been tracking Nketiah since January and were open to possibly signing him then, but Arsenal refused to listen to offers.

West Ham now hope that stance may have softened, however, after Arsenal persuaded Balogun to sign a new deal.

The 19-year-old’s contract was due to expire in the summer and it was feared he would leave, with Bayer Leverkusen one of several Bundesliga sides keen on signing him.

Arsenal, however, have convinced Balogun to sign a new contract, which is believed to be for four years, and all that is left is for the club to officially announce the agreement.

Balogun staying leaves Nketiah, who is two years older, in a difficult place as both players are competing for the same spot in Mikel Arteta's Arsenal squad, while the Gunners are also rivalling Leicester for Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard.

Arsenal have long-standing interest in the 23-year-old, who has moved agents in the last year and is expected to leave Scotland this summer.

Nketiah will have one year left to run on his contract come the end of the season and both he and Arsenal face a decision over his future, with the striker voicing his frustration over a lack of football while away with England’s Under-21s last month.

Speaking with England recently, Nketiah said: “It’s been a difficult last month or so. I haven’t played as much as I would have liked.

Folarin Balogun has reached an agreement over a new Gunners contractGetty Images
Folarin Balogun has reached an agreement over a new Gunners contractGetty Images

“I have been working hard and being dedicated, which adds to the frustration, but I have a great opportunity in front of me.”

West Ham boss David Moyes is a fan of Nketiah, who is the record goalscorer for England at U21 level, and sees the young forward as someone who fits his energetic style of play.

It is thought Nketiah would suit the atmosphere and make-up of the squad Moyes has assembled at West Ham, with the striker possessing a good work ethic and being hungry to prove himself.

Moyes has hinted at an overhaul of his squad this summer, continuing to move out players who weigh down the wage bill and do not suit his side and adding talents in the mould of Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Coufal and Jesse Lingard.

The Manchester United loanee is top of the list alongside a new striker, but Moyes is also keen to bring in cover in central midfield and another central defender this summer.

A new goalkeeper could also be looked at if finances allow. Improvements will certainly be needed should their remarkable push for the Champions League prove successful.

The Hammers have long been keen on Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, who has not started a game for Thomas Tuchel since being hooked at half-time against Southampton in February.

However, a deal for the England international would likely prove too expensive for the Hammers, given their need to invest elsewhere in the squad.

Manuel Lanzini and Felipe Anderson are likely to be moved on permanently to raise more funds, while defender Fabian Balbuena is out of contract and unlikely to be offered a new deal.

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