This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
West Ham United are reportedly interested in a deal to sign Sunderland youngster Josh Hawkes according to TEAMtalk.
Hawkes has been a regular for the Black Cats’ Under-23s side in this year’s campaign, and has caught the eye with some impressive showings.
The midfielder has only been with Sunderland since the summer of 2020, but has seemingly made a good impression on other clubs, as he heads into the final year of his contract at the Stadium of Light.
TEAMtalk also claim that Leeds United and Crystal Palace are keen on reaching an agreement to land his signature in the near future, so Hawkes certainly won’t be short of offers.
He’s yet to be handed a chance in the Sunderland first-team, with the Black Cats recently missing out on promotion into the Championship, after they were beaten by Lincoln City in their play-off semi-final.
We ask our Football League World writers what they make of West Ham’s interest in signing Hawkes this summer, and whether he’d be a good addition to their team.
It’s been well documented that he is a highly rated youngster at the Stadium of Light and at his age, I do think he would jump at the chance to join West Ham this summer.
I think it’s a player that the Irons could look to bed in at first team level slowly or loan out straight away, as Hawkes hasn’t had much first team exposure in his career so far in the North East.
He wouldn’t get into West Ham’s current midfield but maybe in a year or two he could breakthrough at a club which puts a lot of faith in it’s youngsters.
If he chooses to leave the League One side this summer, he could do a lot worse than moving to the London Stadium.
This would be a smart signing for the Hammers.
Of course, he wouldn’t get in the first-team at West Ham straight away, but he has the potential to force his way into the XI in the years to come. You can’t imagine that he will command a big fee, so for a Premier League side it’s a low-risk move that could pay off spectacularly down the line.
The obvious issue for Hawkes is that not playing week in, week out may stall his development, so he may prefer to stay at Sunderland if he is guaranteed minutes next season.
For Sunderland, they should give him an important role in the side next season as they prepare for another promotion push but it could be difficult to keep hold of him if an offer arrives.
Which clubs do these former Sunderland players play for nowadays?
This is a signing that could have the potential to pay off handsomely down the line for West Ham if they were able to make a move for Josh Hawkes this summer. He is a player that possesses a lot of potential and is someone that could emerge as a star in the coming years.
However, it would be a massive step up for him to go straight into West Ham’s team in the Premier League. Having said that he will not be short of confidence and belief in his own abilities and we have seen players burst onto the scene in the top-flight and flourish straight away.
The Hammers’ recruitment model is much smarter these days than it has been in many a year. They are now bringing in talented players form the lower leagues and offering them a chance to fulfill their Premier League ambitions. This signing would continue with that approach and it is one that has worked successfully so far.
This would be one to be excited about for the Hammers, but there would also need to be some caution and patience given to him as he might need a little time to settle in before he is ready to make a major impact.