Former England international Premier League striker Kevin Phillips believes that the signing of Ismaila Sarr would represent good business for West Ham United – even at the reported price of £30 million.
The Senegal international joined Watford last summer in a £30 million deal from Ligue One club Rennes and impressed many with his performances despite being in a team that was ultimately relegated to the second tier of English football.
Sarr’s finest hour came against Liverpool at Vicarage Road last February, in the game where the eventual Premier League winners’ unbeaten run came to a crashing halt in a 3-0 defeat – with Sarr scoring twice and also bagging an assist.
The 22-year-old has continued where he left off last season, netting four times and assisting a further five goals in 18 league games in the current campaign, and has played a bit of the season in the unfamiliar position of a striker.
Sarr is flourishing back out on the right-wing now though, but there has been obvious interest in his signature this month, with West Ham the latest club to be linked to his potential signing.
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And Phillips believes that despite not being a like-for-like replacement for the recently departed Sebastien Haller, Sarr would provide the quality to support Michail Antonio.
“I do not know if Sarr would be an upgrade on Haller. They are two very different players. Sarr is a wide forward, rather than a striker,” Phillips told Football Insider.
“Michail Antonio is the key to West Ham and has proven to be a very capable number nine. Sarr could play either side of Antonio which would give Moyes options.
“I really rate Sarr. He is quick and direct which causes major problems for defences. I think it would be a smart signing.”
Sarr would be a top signing for many Premier League clubs, but it all depends on if the asking price is met – and Watford will only start considering offers starting at £35 million.
The big debate is do West Ham really need another winger, with Jarred Bowen, Said Benrahma and Andriy Yarmolenko all on the books for David Moyes, Sarr would have a lot of competition with a massive price-tag to boot.
Even though they recouped £20 million for Haller, it does seem pretty unlikely that the Hammers would splash out so much cash for an area they’re well-stocked in, but stranger things have happened in the footballing world.