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West Ham winning the race to sign this prodigious 15-year-old talent from London rivals would be a wise move

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Why West Ham should go all out in their pursuit of Adrian Akande

According to claims from All Nigeria Soccer, West Ham are amongst a host of British clubs who are interested in securing the services of Chelsea academy starlet Adrian Akande. 

The same report claims that the 15-year-old, who was handed a trial at West Ham last month, impressed for the Hammers’ U-18 and U-23 sides and the East Londoners have already made an offer to sign the teenager on a permanent basis. 

However, if West Ham are really serious about bringing the youngster to the club as a part of their academy setup, they would need to fend off stiff competition from Premier League rivals Man United, Liverpool and Spurs, while Celtic and Rangers are also rumoured to be in the race to snap up the highly-rated starlet. (h/t All Nigeria Soccer)

Formerly of Crystal Palace, Akande joined the youth system at Stamford Bridge at the age of 12 and caught the eye of the scouts with his stellar run of form for the Blues’ youth sides last season, having scored 30 and assisted a further 22 in 42 appearances. 

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Those eye-watering figures have apparently prompted a number of top clubs to start keeping tabs on Akande, who is regarded as one of the brightest upcoming talents in Chelsea’s youth ranks. Held in high regard by the academy staff at Stamford Bridge, the 15-year-old has been widely tipped to evolve into a future star at the highest level in the future.

Born in England to parents of Nigerian descent, Akande was courted heavily by the English Football Association to represent the county of his birth at the youth level, only for the youngster to turn down an approach in favour of switching his allegiance to the country of his parentage.

As per the report, Akande’s agent has described him as a player who encapsulates the attributes of stalwarts like Eden Hazard and Ousmane Dembele, labelling him as a technically-gifted two-footed player with pace and quick feet to beat the opposition in one-on-one situations. 

To put things into perspective, that description is only coined by the youngster’s agent but it is the numbers more than that profile that should prompt West Ham to go all out in their pursuit of the highly-rated teenage talent. 

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Akande has racked up some impressive returns in the youth ranks at Chelsea and, while he is still very much in the rudiments of his formative years as a footballer, West Ham could have a real star on their hands in the future if he continues his development down the right path. 

West Ham’s widely revered academy has blooded plenty of England internationals over the years, including the likes Frank Lampard, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Joe Cole and, most recently, Declan Rice, and the prospect of furthering his development in East London is likely to appeal to the player. 

As for West Ham, they have established themselves as one of the financially affluent clubs in the Premier League in recent years but they need to lay equal emphasis on bolstering their youth sides with top-quality young talent. And Akande certainly falls within that bracket. 

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The Hammers might have to use all their pulling power to beat off competition from such a large number of clubs in the race to sign Akande but they should be wide enough to know that their hard work could pay rich dividends in the future.