“He has been fantastic” Former West Ham Flop Reaching Potential

Ex West Ham player Sead Haksabanovic. (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images)
Ex West Ham player Sead Haksabanovic. (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images) /

West Ham fans might remember when the club signed highly-rated youngster Sead Haksabanovic from Swedish side Halmstads BK. The deal came as part of the Hammers transfer for Marko Anrautovic, friendly help for an agent. There was a lot of excitement for the young winger who had been hailed the next Freddie Ljungberg, but the one from his time at Arsenal.

Haksabanovic left West Ham in 2019 after an unsuccessful spell in England. The midfielder spent much of his time contracted to the Hammers out on loan. The closest the Montenegran got to making at West Ham was a couple of appearances in the domestic cup competitions, but he never had a real chance to impress.

Now the 21-years-old is tearing up pitches in Sweden for IFK Norrkoping. With 14 goals and 13 assists in 39 games, Haksabanovic is realising the potential that saw him attract interest from the likes of Manchester United, AC Milan and Ajax.

"“He has been fantastic. It is one thing to see (his talent) from a distance, and another to see it on a daily basis. It has been a favour to have him. He’s an incredibly skilled football player.”Manager Rikard Norling told Expressen"

Former West Ham youngsters Sead Haksabanovic and Toni Martinez are both finding success since leaving the club.

Ex-West Ham Toni Martinez.
Ex-West Ham Toni Martinez. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images) /

Haksabanovic only cost the Hammers £2.7 million when he was signed from Halmstads BK. Slaven Bilic was in charge when he joined the club, and there should have been a project in place for the promising youngster. The midfielder was somewhat part of a phase of investing in the youth squads at West Ham.

Toni Martinez was also part of that phase. But like Haksabanovic was never really given a chance in the first-team. In the Spaniard’s case, there was even more of an argument for him to be given a chance. The striker was scoring regularly for the development squad, and fans were desperate for him to have an opportunity to impress.

The chance never came, and Martinez was released and was picked up by Portuguese side FC Famalicão. Martinez impressed and has since joined Champions League side, FC Porto. The 23-year-old was involved from the bench as Porto knocked out European giants Juventus to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.

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With West Ham looking likely to qualify for some sort of European competition next season, David Moyes will have to be wary of their progress. It should also serve as a reminder to the club to have a bit more faith in some of the youngsters in the academy.