West Ham capped a successful transfer window when they signed striker Albian Ajeti from FC Basel on deadline day. The Hammers paid the Swiss giants £8m for the 22-year-old, who became their sixth summer signing.
It is an exciting arrival for Swiss football, as another national star has been given the chance to play in the Premier League. Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka and Fabian Schär have flourished upon their arrivals in England, and Ajeti can surely follow suit at West Ham.
Wilkommen nach London und der Premier League Albian, Viel Glück hier https://t.co/t1NRhwfsjf— Nischal (@NischalCFC) August 8, 2019
Ajeti is one of Switzerland’s most exciting young prospects, as he continues his meteoric rise. Having spent all but one year of his whole career at hometown club Basel, he broke onto the scene when he was the top goalscorer in the Swiss Super League, scoring 17 goals in the 2017/18 campaign.
He was also FCB’s top goalscorer in his last two full seasons, helping them to consecutive second place finishes and their 13th Swiss Cup in May. 43 goals and 21 assists in 96 games during his RotBlau career are impressive figures, and give just a glimpse of what he can offer.
Ajeti is an excellent striker with a goalscoring instinct, proven by his Basel stats. His international career with Switzerland also verifies this, after he scored six minutes into his senior debut last September in the Schweizer Nati’s 6-0 win over Iceland.
Away from his stats, there is so much about Ajeti that makes him the perfect signing for West Ham. At 22 years old, his career has barely begun, with this being the big move away from Switzerland that would take his career to the next level.
His youth makes him a long-term investment for the Hammers, and at just £8m he has been signed for a bargain fee. Ajeti is a smart, clinical striker, one whose physical presence and ability will prove crucial in his Premier League career. His positioning, awareness and goalscoring instinct are excellent signs of what is to come, as he already has the classic traits of a model striker.
While he is unlikely to be first-choice among fellow forwards Sébastien Haller and Javier Hernández, he has plenty to offer through squad depth and future development. West Ham would not spend £8m on a first-choice striker, instead splashing a club record £45m on Haller.
For all that Ajeti can offer today and tomorrow, he needs to be able to find his feet in England. Going from the Swiss Super League straight to the Premier League is a huge jump, with the physicality, intensity and quality far greater. West Ham must let him settle in and adapt to the English game, giving him plenty of time to do so.
Many players have swapped Switzerland for England, and have failed to instantly leave their mark. Egyptian pair
Salah eventually returned in 2017, and has since taken the league by storm with Liverpool
Swiss greats Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos swapped Geneva for north London many years ago, and their relatively successful stints came down to Arsène Wenger’s faith and patience in them. All of these players eventually managed the move to England, but only after their clubs believed in them.
Ajeti can achieve great things with West Ham, but Manuel Pellegrini must acknowledge that he won’t get a Premier League striker overnight. Ajeti has the ability but needs time, faith and patience from the club. If West Ham nurture the Swiss striker and help him develop, he will become the player he is destined to be.