Youth graduate may be the solution to West Ham's striker problems
After failing to sign Romelu Lukaku, Duvan Zapata and Marko Arnautovic in the summer, West Ham have found themselves in a major striker issue, having scored just four goals in the first six games of the season.
The four goals the Hammers have scored have all came from midfielders and they will have to play up to all expectations when they travel to Tottenham on Sunday.
Andy Carroll picked up a heel injury and could face another month out. This leaves Modibo Maiga, Mladen Petric and Ricardo Vaz Te as the only first team strikers who are match fit. Maiga, 26, last scored a Premier League goal back in December 2012 against Chelsea in a 3-1 win at the Boleyn Ground. The Hammers are still yet to score an away goal this season.
Elliot Lee is an 18 year old youth graduate striker who is banging in goals for fun in the Reserve League. Lee, who is the son of West Ham and Newcastle midfielder Rob Lee, made his debut for the club against Manchester United, after coming on in the 76th minute back in January. He also came on as a sub in the 1-0 defeat to Stoke at the end of August this year.
Lee, who was born in Durham, scored a hat-trick against Newcastle in a 5-4 win last month and scored four goals against Ipswich in a 5-0 win (both reserve matches). The young ambitious striker has now scored 11 goals in 7 Reserve games so far this season and has helped the Hammers to 2nd place in the table.
Where would he fit in?
Kevin Nolan has a reputation for dealing for young players and youths. Most recently he has been working with Ravel Morrison and the youngster has already scored two goals this season and is in fine form. Elliot Lee will need some support upfront and I believe Ricardo Vaz Te will be a useful candidate. Magia can’t seem to work well with any fellow strikers and Vaz Te can be decent at getting assists. With Nolan playing in his natural attacking midfielder role, he can provide the two strikers with plenty of opportunities. I think this will work because Sam Allardyce is yet to play two strikers together this season. The only concern is that the Hammers have four central midfielders in Noble, Morrison, Diame and Nolan and they all deserve regular football. I believe Elliot Lee should be playing first team football as a regular backup. A loan to a Championship/League 1 club might also be useful experience and could show were his ability lies. His potential is currently unknown, but in a couple of years’ time, he could be wearing an England shirt and stepping on to Wembley turf.
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