Date: 7th August 2019 at 6:30pm
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OPINION

West Ham could have played a blinder by beating Brighton in the reported hunt to sign centre-forward Albian Ajeti from Basel.

According to Sun journalist Tom Barclay via his personal Twitter account on Wednesday, the 22-year-old Switzerland international is set to sign a four-year deal with the Irons after they won the race for his signature.

It is understood that West Ham are paying £9.2million for Ajeti – which is superb business based on his goalscoring record in Switzerland.

Ajeti has already started this season in fine form for Basel by scoring two goals and supplying two assists in three appearances across all competitions.

The former Augsburg striker scored a crucial away goal in a Champions League qualifier against Dutch giants PSV which helped his soon-to-be-former side progress to the next round of the competitions.

However it’s his stats last season that really stand out.

Ajeti netted 21 goals and supplied 11 assists in 43 total appearances for Basel in the 2018/19 campaign, with one of those goals coming in the Swiss Cup final victory against Thun.

West Ham are in need of an extra body up front after saying goodbye to the likes of Marko Arnautovic, Lucas Perez, Andy Carroll and Jordan Hugill since the end of last season.

Sebastien Haller has been brought in but the Frenchman’s only team-mate in the centre-forward position is currently Javier Hernandez, who is in the final year of his contract and has hardly met expectations since he joined the Hammers in 2017.

Ajeti is someone who could do well playing down the pecking order at the London Stadium.

Club-record signing Haller is bound to be Pellegrini’s first-choice striker and whenever he needs resting, or is injured or out of form, then someone like Ajeti, who has scored goals for fun in Swiss football, might be the Chilean manager’s go-to alternative.

Big-name Liverpool players Mohamed Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri once rose to prominence at Basel before they become household names in English football.

Could Ajeti be next?