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A Frenchman And A Nigerian Walk Into An East London Bar: New Set Of West Ham Strikers?

With the official opening of the summer transfer window quickly approaching on July 1, West Ham has certainly pinned themselves in the mix for a new striker or two. The rumor mills are working overtime currently, and have now linked a new likely duo to join the club.

Originally, West Ham was linked to odd-man-out in Chelsea Michy Batshuayi, and Manchester City forgotten youngster Kelechi Iheanacho. While Michy seems like he is still an option, at the very least on loan, Iheanacho’s required buyback clause has left the powers that be at West Ham tentative on inking a deal.

With there still being time left to make a splash in the striker market, West Ham are now favorites to land a big name and an unknown wonder-kid. Enter Olivier Giroud and Henry Onyekuru.

Let’s start with the more known of the two, Giroud. Coming off a recent victory for France in an international friendly against England, the 30-year-old striker impressed with an early shot attempt on goal in an effort to chase Heaton from the English goal. Acting as a target man and menace in the box for France, West Ham would be ecstatic to add the veteran goal scoring ability to their attack.

The move for Giroud seems mutually beneficial. Giroud is desperate for first team football as the 2018 World Cup in Russia could be his last opportunity to start as a striker for his home country of France. West Ham would provide him all the minutes he could play next season, most likely moving main striker Andy Carroll to an impact sub. Giroud’s old club, Arsenal, are key to this move happening. They did not feature the French striker as a starter last year as they looked to move away from a target-man to a striker with more pace. Also, Giroud does not want to move away from London, where both Arsenal and West Ham are located. Between first team football and being located in London, Giroud to West Ham would be a perfect fit. West Ham’s board are also believed to be ready to match any offer on a four-year deal for Giroud. He would become the club’s highest-paid player, and would most certainly rectify the East London club’s scoring woes.

Henry Onyekuru is different that Giroud, but offers much upside in his potential move to West Ham. The 20-year-old Nigerian forward is currently playing for Eupen in the Belgian First League. He is considered one of, if not the best player in the league. He uses his blinding speed to tear up back lines and has great dribbling ability that he sets up his finishes with. He is a tremendous option for West Ham, who had had recent success with cheap players plucked from lower level leagues, a la Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio.

The challenges that face Onyekuru are many. Firstly, the board will need to open up their wallets a bit more, as the original £7 million offer will need to be upped in order for the Nigerian forward to acquire a work permit. Secondly, West Ham faces some opposition to signing Onyekuru. Originally Arsenal had been linked to the forward, however, that has since cooled. Several Premier League sides are said to have (obvious) interest in the player including Swansea City, however. If West Ham, who have poll position, manage to land Onyekuru, they will have to eventually convert the forward into a dedicated striker to fill their needs.

Both Giroud and Onyekuru desire first team football. Giroud’s proven track record as a goal scorer, and goals per match (0.42) would solidify his position in the first team without doubt. Onyekuru would have to work a little harder than the Frenchman, but his versatility as a striker and attacking midfielder or winger adds to his usability, and if he can translate his goal scoring touch from Belgium, then he would be impossible to sit.

It is an interesting and highly theological time of the season, let’s hope some ink hits the paper soon!


Adam Smith
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Adam Smith

West Ham United Writer at The Runner Sports
Proud supporter of the Claret and Blue, West Ham United!
Actively interested in transfer news, match reports, developing story lines, and all things West Ham United!
Adam Smith
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