Former West Ham No. 9 Dean Ashton believes summer signing Pablo Fornals is a “striker’s dream” as the club continues its hunt for a new centre-forward.
The Hammers secured the services of Spain international Fornals from Villarreal for £24m earlier this month, and he has been causing quite the storm in the European Under-21 Championship.
West Ham’s striker search? Five things to know…
- West Ham have been in the market for a new striker after it was confirmed Andy Carroll would leave this summer.
- Javier Hernandez also recently revealed that he is “searching for a club”, while Lucas Perez has already been sold to Alaves.
- As such, the club have reportedly been exploring the possibility of signing Celta Vigo striker Maxi Gomez.
- Manuel Pellegrini could also look to bring in a forward he knows well from his time at Malaga, Salomon Rondon.
- But whichever striker pitches up in east London, Ashton thinks they’ll have it easy with Fornals lining up alongside them.
With two goals to his name already, including a thunderbolt against Belgium, Fornals is sparking an early wave of excitement among the Hammers faithful.
The club are expected to bring in a new striker this summer after a number of notable departures were confirmed – including Andy Carroll and Lucas Perez – and Ashton believes that whoever Pellegrini secures, will be in dreamland lining up alongside a playmaker of Fornals’ ability.
Speaking to West Ham’s official website, he said: “Fornals is a player that is going to excite West Ham fans.
“Nowadays I think a lot of teams are looking more at younger prospects that can improve – like Fornals – and he’s already shown with the Spain Under-21s, like with that winning goal he scored against Belgium, that he has real quality.
“Maybe at times last season that was something the team was slightly lacking in midfield; that bit of creativity to break certain teams down, but he can add that for sure. Fornals would absolutely be a striker’s dream to play with.”
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‘Fornals not a guaranteed starter’
Despite waxing lyrical about Fornals’ insatiable attacking talent, Ashton believes West Ham already boast a squad replete with technical quality, and it will therefore be difficult for the 23-year-old to cement an immediate starting berth.
He added: “It’s going to be difficult for him to force his way straight in because of the quality that is already there.
“We’ve seen in previous seasons unfortunately though that injuries play their part.
“Yarmolenko missing most of last season was a real blow and Lanzini only really got himself back and fully fit towards the end of the season.
“I think Fornals will look at it, as every new signing should do, as a real opportunity to stake a claim early on.”