Wednesday, March 29, 2023

West Ham United Locked In A Three-Way Battle For This English Full-Back: Right Fit 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 Telegraph (subscription required), West Ham United are locked in a three-way battle for Middlesbrough full-back Djed Spence this summer. It is understood that the Hammers could face competition in the form of Everton and Norwich City in pursuit of the English defender in this off-season (via The Telegraph).

Spence’s Lacklustre Season In The EFL Championship

Spence had a difficult campaign at the Riverside Stadium as he struggled to find consistency with his performances on the right side of the Middlesbrough defence. The English right-back made 41 appearances for the North Yorkshire outfit last season, scoring one goal and grabbing one yellow card in various competitions.

The 20-year-old struggled to give a good account of himself based on his average of 0.8 tackles, 0.7 interceptions, 0.6 clearances, 0.4 key passes and 0.8 dribbles per 90 minutes in the EFL Championship. He has also been an inaccurate ball distributor after completing just 70.4% of his attempted passes in the English second division (stats via whoscored).

Spence caught the eye at times but really struggled to find consistency with his all-around contributions from the right-back position. Hence, there are serious concerns over whether he is good enough to succeed in Premier League football if any of his potential suitors, including the Hammers, manage to land him this summer.

 West Ham United locked in a three-way battle for Spence who is seen in the picture
Middlesbrough v Sheffield Wednesday – Sky Bet Championship – The Riverside Stadium Middlesbrough s Djed Spence left and Sheffield Wednesday s Sam Hutchinson battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. Picture date: Saturday April 24, 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xRichardxSellersx 59376214

Will Spence Be The Right Fit For The Hammers?

Spence has decent pace in his locker and can make some driving runs with the ball down the right flank. He can get stuck in with a few tackles to disrupt the opposition’s rhythm in the game. The English defensive ace can be a capable defender at the back when he is playing with confidence on the pitch. However, he has failed to be productive in the final third which is a big hole in his game that he needs to fix in the coming seasons.

At 20, Spence is still quite young and would need time to mature into a top player in his position someday. If the Hammers are looking to build a team for the future, the Middlesbrough full-back could be a good choice for them as he has the potential to become a future starter at the London Stadium.

However, Spence is not good enough to earn regular playing minutes in the Premier League next season, so he won’t be the right fit for West Ham this summer. Moyes would be better off focussing his attention on some of his other targets as Spence will struggle to compete with Vladimír Coufal and Ben Johnson for a place in the Hammers’ first-team.

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