If a report by The Sun is to be believed, Brentford striker Scott Hogan is hoping West Ham come in with a £10million bid for him this month.
The 24-year-old has already netted 14 goals for the Championship club this season and has caught the eye of a number of others clubs as a result, with Reading reportedly having a ‘huge’ bid turned down for him already.
It’s no secret that we desperately need to sign a goalscorer in January. Just three of our league goals this season have come from a recognised striker – Andy Carroll with two and Diafra Sakho netting one – so the club must invest wisely over the next four weeks in order to become far more clinical in front of goal.
Scott Hogan represents an interesting option for us, despite not having any Premier League experience. The club has had success with buying players from the Championship in recent seasons – Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell have both stepped up to the big league seamlessly and have earned England call-ups in the process.
While there is the need for a striker to come in a hit the ground running, hence increased calls for us to invest in a striker with top-flight experience, dipping our toes back in to Championship for talent may prove to be a clever decision, and Hogan does stand out as an obvious candidate.
It can be argued that the strikers we currently have at the club are more of the target man mould and the lack of a proper fox-in-the-box has constantly restricted our goal scoring chances.
Andy Carroll can be unplayable on his day, but the lack of someone running off him is reflective of our dismal goals return this season. Meanwhile, Ashley Fletcher isn’t quite the finished article just yet and both Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri will never represent the club again.
Hogan represents the kind of striker we should be targeting. The lad is quick and clinical, and his success at Brentford this season is representative of Brentford’s famous money-ball approach to player recruitment. His move from Rochdale to Brentford in 2014/15 will have been as a result of extensive scouting and statistical analysis from the Bees, and they only signed him for £808k. Since then he has scored 21 goals in 33 Championship appearances.
But how would he fit in at West Ham? Well, it’s simple. You have him either playing off Andy Carroll up top, or you use him as part of a front four that also consists of the likes of Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio and Dimitri Payet. If two of those act as inside forwards and one playing as a No.10, we’ll be creating far more chances we have been so far this season.
All of Hogan’s 14 Championship goals this season have come from inside the 12-yard box, which demonstrates his fox-in-the-box style of play…
Hogan is also very capable of creating chances, too. He has created 15 chances in the Championship so far this term, one of which resulted in a goal. That may not sound a lot but for a player who tends to spend most of his time on the final defender and getting inside the opposition penalty box, it’s not bad going.
It’s Hogan’s clinical instinct that would give us something we’ve lacked all season, though. He has a 69% shot accuracy this season with a 24.1% conversion rate…
With someone as clinical as that playing in front of creative midfielders like Lanzini and Payet, goals would surely start flowing at that same rate they were throughout 2015/2016.
Whether the club would be willing to spend £10million on a striker who has zero Premier League experience midway through a season is not yet known (we have no idea what the club seems to think is a good deal these days), perhaps it’s a deal to be revisited in the summer, but it’s also one that could turn out to be as shrewd as the deals that brought Cresswell and Antonio to the club.