Why West Ham should go all out to sign Chuba Akpom in January
According to the Athletic (h/t The Sun), West Ham have enquired about PAOK Salonika Chuba Akpom ahead of a potential January swoop.
Chuba Akpom, 24, joined Arsenal at the age of six and aside from several loan spells, stayed with the club until his move to PAOK in 2018. Despite leading the line for PAOK last season, he has started just three league games so far this campaign.
The report (h/t The Sun) adds West Ham failed to land the 24-year-old in the summer but his lack of game time at the Greek club have given them hope of signing him in the New Year.
The Hammers enjoyed their finest performance of the season on Saturday, with Aaron Cresswell’s second-half strike handing them a shock 1-0 win away at London rivals Chelsea. But they still occupy 13th place in the Premier League and Manuel Pellegrini should reinforce his squad to achieve a top-eight finish this season.
Signing a new striker has to be at the top of the priority list, given Sebastien Haller’s struggles in front of goal. The French striker started well at West Ham but his goals have dried up. He has just 4 goals in 13 games in the Premier League and was dropped to the bench against Chelsea over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Albian Ajeti, signed from FC Basel in the summer, hasn’t been convincing at all. Haller’s poor form coupled with lack of sources when it comes to scoring goals suggests West Ham clearly need more firepower up front.
Having let go of five strikers in the summer, it is an absolute no-brainer for the East Londoners to sign a new striker in January. In that regard, Chuba Akpom would be a good fit. Akpom failed to cut the mustard at Arsenal but he has managed to reinvigorate his career at PAOK.
He was a key part of the PAOK team who stormed to Greek Super League glory in May, winning 26 and drawing four of their 30 domestic fixtures. The 24-year-old may have struggled for regular opportunities at the Greek side this season but there’s no doubting his potential.
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A fox in the box, he can get in the right place at the right time more often than not, whilst his positioning and reading of the game make him such a tricky customer to mark for the defenders.
Akpom has worked a lot on his finishing skills and has now become lethal in front of goal. The former England U21 international has the ability to stretch the opposition’s defence with tireless runs into the channels. In the video below, one could get a glimpse of Akpom’s decision making and clinical nature in front of goal.
Akpom would certainly help bring the best out of Haller, whilst potentially forming a dynamic partnership with the likes of Felipe Anderson, Michail Antonio and Andriy Yarmolenko. All in all, signing the former Arsenal man would boost West Ham’s chances of a top-eight finish at the very least.