Exclusive - West Ham United are prepared to promote from within as they consider the options to replace Sebastian Haller following the striker’s £20.25m transfer to Ajax earlier this month, which will mean a chance for teenage prospect Mipo Odubeko.
Odubeko only turned 18 in October, but he made his senior Hammers debut in the FA Cup win over Stockport County on Monday night and is expected to make his Premier League bow very soon.
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West Ham are looking to Europe to replace Haller and are considering a number of potential targets, including Reims front-man Boulaye Dia. However, 90min has been told by Hammers sources that manager David Moyes wants to also look internally and that means turning to Odubeko.
The youngster was born in Ireland and was previously at Manchester City and Manchester United. He scored 35 academy goals for the latter during the 2018/19 season and 90min revealed in September 2019 that he was in talks to join West Ham after opting to leave the Red Devils.
Juventus, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund also showed interest in Odubeko, who was just 16 at the time, but he opted for West Ham and is now on the cusp of a permanent breakthrough.
Only injury would prevent Odubeko from making his Premier League debut this month and he has benefitted from a case of ‘right place, right time’ following Haller’s exit.
Moyes has already involved the youngster in first-team training for the past year, basically as soon as he himself returned to the London Stadium, and now considers Odubeko ready.
On the subject of Haller’s departure, 90min has additionally learned that West Ham had to facilitate the transfer to Ajax by handing the Ivory Coast international a sizeable pay out to compensate for a significant fall in wages by moving to Amsterdam.
Haller was earning £130,000 per week in east London, but with Ajax only able to pay £90,000, the Hammers handed over £3m to ensure he would still accept the contract.