If you’re a West Ham fan, the names Gianluca Scamacca and Armando Broja are becoming all too familiar. But who are they? How do they play? Will they fit the style of the team David Moyes has worked so hard to develop, or will the infamous Hammers striker curse continue?
Of course, most Hammers fans will be aware of Chelsea striker Armando Broja after he spent the 2021/22 season on loan at Southampton. The 20-year-old netted 9 times in 38 appearances for the Saints; the majority of which came from his preferred left foot, or to conclude a counter-attack. This statistic will appeal to David Moyes, whose squad scored the most counter-attacking goals in the most recent Premier League campaign (6). However, his eye for goal dropped towards the back-end of the season, where he failed to score in each of his final 13 appearances, and had no goal involvements in his last 11 for the Saints. But, this was Broja’s debut senior season in English football. He is still a very exciting prospect, proved by Chelsea’s desperation to keep him in West London.
Moyes has developed a team that carries the ball, with Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen a constant driving threat in the last two seasons. Broja has been named a ‘strong carrier of the ball’, producing 84 dribbles in 32 Premier League games. Although an attacking player, he is equally defensive-minded when out of possession. Last season, he made 42 ball recoveries/interceptions and disrupted 56 opposition moves. For a team like West Ham that often crosses the ball (third highest in the Premier League with 802 crosses), a tall, attacking threat within the box is needed. Although standing at a mighty 6″2 and having a good aerial duel success rate, Broja has only scored one headed goal in his professional career – coming whilst on loan at Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem.
Although predominantly used in a centre-forward role, Broja has experience playing in a wider position too. Should the signing of Gianluca Scamacca also be completed, an opportunity to rotate the front-line through Broja’s flexibility is a great bonus for the Hammers. The possibility of having the attacking options of Bowen, Antonio, Fornals, Benrahma, Lanzini, Vlasic, Broja, and Scamacca is truly exciting as a West Ham fan; it’s been a while since we’ve had a team that pushes forwards.
Gianluca Scamacca may be a name that most West Ham fans will know very little about. Born in Rome, Scamacca is a right-footed centre-forward who currently plays for Serie A team, US Sassuolo – alongside former Hammer, Pedro Obiang. Despite being only 23 years old, he has already topped the goal-scoring table twice for the Coppa Italia. He, similar to Broja, can play anywhere across the front line. Potentially more beneficial, Scamacca can play comfortably as a second striker, therefore assisting Antonio in the final third.
Standing at almost 6″5, the Italian had his best scoring season in 2021/22, netting 16 times in 41 appearances. Scamacca scored through penalties, right-footed shots, and headers, showing his versatility in the attacking role. Only five players scored more goals in Serie A than him. His dangerous presence in the opposition’s half earned him a call-up to the Italy national team in 2021, playing 7 games for the Azzurri. Although yet to score for the senior side, the 23-year-old had impressed at youth level, scoring 36 goals in 79 games between U15 and U21.
Compared to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Scamacca has a strong physicality and impressive technical skillset, making him tough to defend. He is agile and his experience of playing as a lone striker has enhanced his hold-up ability. Similarly to Antonio, he often creates chances for his teammates because of this. Overall, Scamacca is a clinical attacker. The only Premier League players to score more regularly than him (once every 146 minutes) are Liverpool duo Mo Salah (once every 130 minutes) and Diogo Jota (once every 145 minutes). That’s quite the statistic, and once that should excite Hammers fans.
Who would you prefer we sign? Is there another striker we should be considering altogether? Let us know on Twitter @GreenStHammers!