West Ham have recently been linked with two teenagers who were both born in Essex and now play for the county’s two rival clubs.
Colchester United’s Noah Chilvers and Southend United’s Charlie Kelman might play for rival teams but they could both end up at West Ham next season.
According to HITC Sport, West Ham are among the teams interested in Southend starlet Kelman. And Colchester’s Chilvers is also on the Hammers’ radar, according to The Sun, with Leicester City also keen.
We take a closer look at each player and whether they would fit in if they made the short trip down the A12 from Essex to East London.
Chilvers is enjoying a tremendous season. After starring for the club’s under-23 side, the 18-year-old made his first-team debut earlier this campaign.
Back in early March, Chilvers was introduced as a late substitute in Colchester’s 3-0 league victory over Newport County.
That is Chilvers’ only first-team appearance to date but he is highly regarded by the U’s. And his youth team performances have convinced West Ham to take a closer look.
Chilvers is a central midfielder who is renowned for his attacking threat. He usually operates as a number 10, although he is able to perform in a deeper role too.
The Chelmsford-born teenager is out of contract at the end of the season and The Sun reports that Colchester have offered him a two-year professional deal.
But as things stand, West Ham can poach Chilvers for a mere compensation fee and it could well be worth taking a punt on him.
Kelman has a bit more senior experience than Chilvers, despite being one year younger and playing in a higher league. But while Chilvers could aid Colchester’s promotion bid, Kelman is battling relegation with Southend.
The 17-year-old has an interesting background. He was born in Essex but spent some time in the United States as a youngster and is eligible for both the USA and England.
Kelman plays as a striker and was prolific at youth level for Southend, scoring 61 goals for the academy team in the 2017/18 season.
This season, the USA under-18 starlet has played 10 games and caught the eye with a goal from his own half on his professional debut.
Unlike Chilvers, Kelman has been tied down to a contract by Southend. The Basildon-born teenager’s deal runs until summer 2021 so it would take a fee to purchase him.