Monday, January 30, 2023

West Ham United To Rival Crystal Palace For This Championship Full-Back: Right Choice For Moyes?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, the Reading Chronicle has claimed that West Ham United are set to rival Crystal Palace in pursuit of Reading full-back Omar Richards. It is believed that the Hammers have already launched an enquiry over the English defender’s availability. Still, the Berkshire outfit are unwilling to discuss his future until the contract talks with the player get sorted (via The Reading Chronicle).

Richards’ Impressive Rise At The Madejski Stadium

Richards has made a solid start to this campaign as he has put in a string of dominant defensive performances on the left side of Veljko Paunović’s backline. The 22-year-old has already been involved in eight matches for the Royals this season but is still waiting to score or assist his first goal in various competitions.

However, the London-born left-back has done well to average 2.9 tackles, 1.6 interceptions, 2.3 clearances and 1.7 dribbles per 90 minutes in the EFL Championship. Still, he needs to work on being more accurate with his ball-distribution after completing only 75.4% of his attempted passes in the English second division (stats via whoscored).

Richards has shown signs of progress over the past 18 months and is currently amongst the Championship’s most reliable left-backs due to his excellent defensive contributions under Paunovic’s stewardship. Hence, the Hammers will do well to bring him on board as he will offer some serious competition for Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell for the left-back spot at the London Stadium.

West Ham United to rival Crystal Palace for Omar Richards who is seen in the picture
Omar Richards of Reading controls the ball on the touchline during the Sky Bet Championship match between Hull City and Reading at KCOM Stadium on January 13, 2018, in Hull, England. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

What Will The Championship Prospect Bring To The English Capital?

Standing at 1.85m, Richards can be an intimidating presence down the left flank and is not shy of producing a tireless shift for the benefit of his team. He has proven his worth as a capable defender at the back by pulling off some crucial interceptions inside his half.

The English defensive ace is also not afraid to clear his lines when in danger of getting caught out by the opposition in transition. However, he needs to add a few goals and assists to his game if he wants to become one of the best left-backs in England in the years to come.

Is Richards The Right Choice For The Hammers?

Richards will be a luxury signing for West Ham this winter as they have already got two solid left-backs battling for a place in David Moyes’ starting XI. Hence, there is no immediate need for the Hammers to sign a new left-back. At the same time, Richards’ potential and defensive prowess make him a worthy choice for the East Londoners to consider during the January transfer window. At 22, the English youngster will only get better and better with each season and could turn out to be a shrewd coup for the Hammers in the long-run.

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