One for the future – Why West Ham must complete their chase for this highly-rated 18-year-old Ipswich ace


Why West Ham should look at Elkan Baggott as one for the future

According to claims from Football Insider (h/t East Anglian Daily Times), West Ham are chasing highly-rated Ipswich Town centre-back, Elkan Baggott, in the January window. 

Premier League rivals Leeds United are also believed to be keeping a close eye on the 18-year-old, whose contract talks at Portman Road have hit a roadblock. Baggott is currently a second-year scholar at Ipswich but his contract is due to expire at the end of the season. (Football Insider h/t EADT)

The Tractor Boys do have the option of extending his stay by a further 12 months but Baggott is yet to sign an extension beyond that. Ipswich have already entered into negotiations with his agent and are hopeful that a deal will eventually be agreed. However, the centre-back’s future continues to be the subject of speculation, for the time being, amid interest from the top-flight.

Born in Bangkok, Thailand, to an Indonesian mother and an English father, Baggott moved to England in 2011 and rose through the youth ranks of Ipswich Town. The centre-back, who has represented Indonesia at the U-19 level, made his senior professional debut against Gillingham in the EFL Trophy back in October. He caught the eye with a composed display at the heart of the defence, helping Paul Lambert’s side to a 1-0 win. 

Thailand and Indonesia fight for Elkan Baggott England for 2022 WC
Baggott has emerged as a target for West Ham and Leeds United (Getty Images)

Baggott is yet to make his mark for Ipswich in League One but has trained regularly with the club’s senior side. The centre-back has also been a key member of Ipswich’s U-18 side that has already made it through to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup this season. 

West Ham winning the race to sign Elkan Baggott would represent a real coup with one eye on the future. The centre-back is yet to sign a professional contract with Ipswich, meaning the door remains open for the Hammers to exploit his unresolved situation in the market. 

West Ham have roped in some promising young centre-backs in recent windows. Goncalo Cardoso joined the Hammers from Portuguese outfit Braga in the summer of 2019 while Danish U-21 international Frederik Alves Ibsen completed his move to the London Stadium ahead of the January window. 

Besides that, West Ham have another top prospect on their hands in the form of Jamal Baptiste. The 17-year-old has made a successful transition to the club’s U-23 side this season, featuring alongside Cardoso in the Premier League 2 Division 1.

A potential swoop for Baggott, to that end, would represent yet another exciting addition to the existing pool of up and coming centre-backs at the club. 

Menilik Rumor Elkan Baggott Jadi Incaran Leeds United Halaman all -
Elkan Baggott (Getty Images)

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It is clear from the above discussion that West Ham are trying to groom some quality young centre-backs with a view to promoting them to their first-team ranks in the coming seasons. That certainly makes a lot of sense in footballing terms considering that the likes of Angelo Ogbonna and Fabian Balbuena are all on the other side of 30. 

Of course, there are no guarantees that Elkan Baggott would be able to make the grade in the Premier League. But his early potential certainly points to a bright future, meaning West Ham should fancy their chances of polishing him into a quality defender in the years to come.