Another transfer window, another striker being chased by West Ham.
With Sebastian Haller flogged off to Ajax, the Irons are in the market for a new frontman to ease the load on Michail Antonio, and a report from The Athletic suggests that Moroccan striker Youssef En-Nesyri is the new subject of their affection.
David Moyes’ team are said to have had a bid in the region of £27m rejected for the 23-year-old, but it is expected that they will return to the table with an improved offer before the window closes to get the deal over the line.
But who actually is Youssef En-Nesyri? Look no further.
En-Nesyri’s story in Andalusia started in January 2020, when the departure of former West Ham striker Javier Hernandez, as well as Moanes Dabour, left Sevilla shorthanded up front.
They looked towards the capital to draft in some reinforcement, and En-Nesyri – who had netted four goals in his last eight games for a desperately struggling Leganés team – was brought in for around £18m.
The signing was met with mixed reception as he had struggled for much of the first half of the season, with his price tag in particular raising eyebrows.
Questions over whether he was worth the money would continue, and he was public enemy number one at Sevilla back in September, when his glaring miss against Bayern ultimately cost his team the UEFA Super Cup.
Interest from West Ham hasn’t come from nowhere, however. As the season has progressed, he’s steadily found his mojo, and has netted 12 goals in 25 appearances in all competitions – making him one of the first names on Julen Lopetegui’s team sheet.
We’re only at the halfway point of 2020/21, but his 12 goals at this stage is already his best tally in a single season.
He got there by systematically dismantling Real Sociedad, scoring the second hat-trick of his club career, and with seven goals in his last 11 league appearances, he is undoubtedly in the form of his life.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen En-Nesyri linked with a move to the Premier League. West Ham were thought to be in the frame 18 months ago, while he was briefly touted as a potential replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Arsenal last January, when his contract status was up in the air.
Previous interest stemmed from an impressive 2018/19 season with Leganes, in which he scored 11 goals to drag them out of the mire after a poor start.
A mid-season burst, in which he netted six goals in three games, against Eibar, Rayo Vallecano and Real Betis, really captured the attention.
Despite his recent uptick in form, there are still some in Spain who are yet to be convinced by En-Nesyri – partially due to his tendency to frustrate.
He is often reluctant to release the ball, preferring to dribble and get shots away himself. That has lead to the odd spectacular moment, but just as frequently results in a bollocking from Luuk de Jong for failing to pass.
He’s a flair player, too, and can over-complicate things when chances present themselves.
Despite all of that, though, he rarely loses the ball – according to FBref, he has been dispossessed just 17 times this season, suggesting he is effective at holding up the play.
Sticking with the statistical vein, En Nesyri has averaged a goal in La Liga every 122 minutes this season. Only Luis Suarez (103) has a more favourable record than that.
That’s partially due to En-Nesyri not fully nailing down a starting spot just yet. 13 of his 25 appearances, in fact, have come from the bench, and it is only recently that he has become an undroppable presence for Lopetegui.
Despite his relative lack of starts, he’s fifth top scorer in the league as it stands, just three goals behind Lionel Messi, who leads the way.