Why West Ham signing Hwang Hee-Chan on loan would be a real boost
As per the report, the Hammers have been placed on red alert, with the South Korean international set for a loan move to the Premier League. David Moyes’ side are understood to be in the market for a new striker and could bring the 24-year-old to the London Stadium to bolster their attack.
Hwang Hee-Chan was plucked out by RB Salzburg as a bright emerging prospect from the youth ranks of Pohang Steelers in South Korea. After impressing for feeder club FC Liefering in the Austrian second-tier, Hwang shot to prominence with a 16-goal haul for Salzburg in all competitions during the 2016-17 campaign.
The Korean reached great heights over the course of his four-year spell in Austria while also spending time on loan at Hamburger SV in the German second-tier in 2018-19. Hwang bagged an impressive tally of 45 goals and 29 assists in 126 appearances for Salzburg in all competitions.
The 24-year-old’s exploits in Austria prompted RB Leipzig to offer him a route to the German Bundesliga this past summer. Hwang was even handed the No.11 shirt vacated by Timo Werner, who joined Chelsea. However, the Korean has struggled to break into Julian Naglesmann’s plans and is yet to start a single league fixture so far this season.
West Ham’s pursuit of a new centre-forward has intensified following the sale of Sebastian Haller to Ajax earlier this month. The Ivorian’s departure has left Moyes with Michail Antonio as the only specialist option in the centre-forward department heading into a hectic second half of the campaign.
Antonio has fired on all cylinders after returning from an injury layoff earlier in the season. However, the Hammers’ lack of senior cover beyond the 30-year-old remains a pressing concern for the manager.
Having said that, West Ham should quickly complete a loan deal for Hwang Hee-Chan to add some much-needed depth and variety to their forward line. The Korean might have struggled to establish himself at Leipzig but he remains an exciting young attacker with the potential to play at the highest level.
Hwang an ideal signing?
In an ideal world, West Ham should look for a permanent signing to fill the void left by Haller’s departure. But with finances tight in the January window and elite players only available for a hefty premium, bringing in Hwang Hee-Chan on loan would represent a smart temporary fix for Moyes.
The 24-year-old boasts an impressive track record for Salzburg in European competitions. He has scored 8 times in 21 appearances in the main stages of the Champions League and Europa League combined. That speaks volumes of his pedigree.
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Plus, the South Korean has the versatility to play up top and out wide on either flank, thus potentially offering Moyes some valuable cover across the final third.