Said Benrahma’s West Ham career could soon come to an end. According to reports in France, the Irons have “opened the door” for the Algerian to depart this month, and “several” clubs are courting him, with his absence from the Africa Cup of Nations removing one potential obstacle.
Benrahma’s exit could pave the way for David Moyes to sign a new winger, and numerous candidates have already been linked, including Jack Clarke at Sunderland and Jonathan Rowe at Norwich. West Ham hold a “definite interest” in the former but have yet to make a formal offer as they continue to assess their options, and now a couple of additional names are in the frame, including another Championship star.
Whittaker a West Ham target
According to ExWHUEmployee, West Ham are interested in Plymouth Argyle’s Morgan Whittaker. He’s one of “the latest two names to emerge”, alongside Sporting’s Marcus Edwards, formerly of Tottenham.
As it stands, West Ham aren’t considering making an offer this month, but that stance could apparently change before the window is out. You wonder if it could all depend on what happens with Benrahma.
Whittaker could succeed where Benrahma has failed
Whittaker, 23, came through the Derby academy but joined Swansea City in 2021. After a temporary spell at Lincoln City, he spent the first half of the 2022/23 season at Plymouth Argyle and helped them achieve promotion to the Championship.
The Englishman would then secure a permanent move to Home Park at the end of the season, and he’s proceeded to light up the second tier. In 27 Championship games so far this term, he’s scored 14 times and set up five more, soaring towards the summit of the league’s headline leaderboards. Only Blackburn’s Sammie Szmodics (16) has found the net more, and only Southampton’s Adam Armstrong (25) can better his 19 goal involvements.
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Whittaker is statistically the most clinical player in the division up to this point, having out-performed his xG by a whopping 6.1, and while it will be hard to sustain that level of ruthlessness, his devastating finishes have clearly caught the eye of West Ham.
Beyond shooting, he’s particularly dangerous when running with the ball. Only three players in the Championship have carried the ball into the penalty area on more occasions this season (53), and at the end of last year, only two had registered more carries leading to a shot involvement (53).
If West Ham do end up signing him, there may be comparisons to Benrahma, who amassed 51 direct contributions in 83 games for Brentford in the Championship, but has only managed 31 in 110 at Premier League level and is now being nudged toward a departure. He’ll hope he can handle the step-up, because the way he’s playing right now, it could only be a matter of time before he makes it, whether that’s at the London Stadium or elsewhere.