Although we are all still waiting for the current West Ham season to finish, pandemic pending, it’s never to early to look ahead at who could break out next season.
It’s safe to say that over the past three years West Ham has had more than a few Academy graduates or new signees that have taken the Hammers by storm and surprised us all. In looking at the current list of Academy players only, who might end up being the next Diangana, Johnson, or Ngakia to breakthrough?
The first few names that come to mind have already broken through the Academy but haven’t busted onto the first team yet (I.E. Nathan Holland, Josh Cullen, and Conor Coventry). They all have the potential to break out if given the chance but this will honestly be the possible last chance for both Cullen and Coventry in East London.
For Holland, the simple answer is yes, but with Felipe Anderson and the returning Grady Diangana in front of him does he even have a chance or the patience to wait his turn once more? Next season might be another perfect opportunity to send Holland out on loan and this time, to a Championship side to see what his future will look like.
Next up on the maybe’s list is both Xande Silva and Joseph Anang. Silva was featured twice with the senior squad before being out for a freak illness for over the past 10 months. He has made a full recovery and is back to training but just like Anang and Holland before him, they just happen to play in a deep area of depth for the Hammers and a loan seems best for at least Anang.
For Xande Silva, however, his versatility and level of experience at a young age might suit him well. If he wasn’t stricken with illness there is no doubt that he wouldn’t already be playing or at least subbing in from the bench for the senior team. His ability to play striker or on either side of the midfield makes him a much-needed commodity.
There is no doubt that once he gets back to full health, and this time off helps, he will jump back ahead of the likes of Holland, Cullen, Coventry, and others just as he was before. He was brought to West Ham with the hype and it’s never gone and now is his time to prove it.
If he does end up being the breakout Hammer next season, it will the first time in a while that it was a player that was expected to do it. Diangana, Ngakia, and Johnson were all surprises and virtually unknown. This move will also once more solidify that West Ham is the Academy of Football and only continue that growth from within.