Transfer Opinion: West Ham face competition for U18 French international prospect

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Over the past two seasons, West Ham’s transfer policy has tended to involve recruiting players for eye-watering fees, which has seen the Hammers break their transfer record in consecutive seasons. Furthermore, over the course of the past two consecutive campaigns, the Irons have spent a total of £198.99m on arrivals, marking a noticeable jump from the £126.27m that had been shelled out across the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons.

However, purchasing fully established superstars may be a strategy of the past as it has come to light that West Ham have joined the race for AS Monaco defender Chrislain Matsima. The Irons will likely have to fight off some of Europe’s elite sides to secure the Frenchman’s signature as Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Hertha Berlin and FC Porto have all been linked with a move for the 18-year-old.

Matsima has spent this season with Monaco’s B side and is yet to make an appearance for the senior side in a competitive match. However, the 18-year-old defender did feature in a friendly against Standard Liege on Wednesday and is considered to be a rising star at the Stade Louis II.

He has though previously appeared in the UEFA Youth League, though the French side crashed out of the competition as Matsima appeared twice for a total of 118 minutes. Although, at youth international level for France he has 20 U17 appearances and made his debut for the U18 side earlier this term, going on to win six caps and score one goal.

The centre back’s contract runs until 2022, but the French side are reportedly willing to listen to offers for the 18-year-old with a host of clubs interested in acquiring his services. Meanwhile, it is believed that West Ham are in the market for central defenders who could become an understudy to Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna. The duo have featured most frequently at centre back this term, making 61 appearances in the Premier League combined.

Given he is yet to appear in a competitive fixture for the senior side Matsima is somewhat of an unknown quantity. Still, the fact that some European heavyweights are reportedly tracking him is a promising sign. If Moyes believes that the teenager is ready to arrive at the London Stadium as an understudy to Diop and Ogbonna, then he should aim to beat off competition and move for the U18 international.

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