West Ham target £26m Nigerian attacking star – A shrewd move by Moyes?


West Ham United want Paul Onuachu transfer

As per a report by foreign outlet Own Goal Nigeria (h/t Brighton & Hove Independent), West Ham United are pursuing Paul Onuachu. In fact, the club is ‘confident’ of landing the 27-year-old forward who plies his trade in Belgium. He joined his current club, KRC Genk, in the summer of 2019.

And since then, he has impressed in Belgium’s first division. The two-time Danish champion and one-time Belgian cup winner with Genk is valued at £26million and the Hammers are expected to beat Brighton for his signature. Here, we look at why signing Onuachu is a move that should be completed with urgency by West Ham United.

The shortage of strikers

West Ham are shockingly low on strikers, at least on paper. The club sold three strikers last season. Albian Ajeti joined Celtic for £4.5million, Sebastian Haller went to Ajax for £20.2million in January, while Joe Hugill moved to Norwich City and helped them win promotion to the Premier League.

David Moyes striker at West Ham United and a transfer for Paul Onuachu.
David Moyes is in need of number 9 at West Ham United and a transfer for Paul Onuachu can solve a headache. (imago Images)

What was surprising was the fact that the Hammers did not sign a No.9 despite the above-mentioned departures. The club’s only No.9 on paper at the moment is Michail Antonio. And even the 31-year-old Englishman is not a seasoned centre-forward considering he has played down the flanks for a majority of his footballing career.

So what would the Hammers do if Antonio was unavailable? David Moyes had to play Jesse Lingard and 24-year-old winger Jarrod Bowen as centre-forwards on several occasions. And while that makeshift arrangement worked at times, Lingard is now set to return to Old Trafford, which means the Hammers are another man short in attack.

That really leaves the West Ham team short of options up front, especially if Antonio, who is slowly approaching the twilight of his career, is unavailable for selection. Thus, there is almost an urgent need to sign a striker. Even if the Hammers had a traditional No.9 in their squad, they would still need a signing in that position.

Paul Onuachu celebrates after scoring for Genk.
Paul Onuachu celebrates after scoring for Genk. (imago Images)

Onuachu could fit in at West Ham

Moyes has shown occasionally that likes to play a formation with two strikers up top. This is where signing Paul Onuachu becomes important. The 27-year-old Nigerian, at his age, has a number of years still left in him, which he can spend at the London Stadium.

The Genk man would not only add competition for starts, but could become a starter and allow Bowen to play down the right-hand side. Hence, signing him would allow Moyes to be more flexible with his squad and he would have one less hole to plug in his team.

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Onuachu is also not alien to the concept of scoring goals. In fact, he pretty much knows where the net is. The former Midtjylland striker netted 35 times in all competitions for his side. That is not to say that West Ham should sign him solely because of his numbers, but it helps when a potential new signing is producing the goods at his current club.