As everyone is aware, West Ham United are on the hunt for another striker to either play alongside, or become the back up option to fellow new recruit Andy Carroll. In light of this search, it has been announced we have given Central Coast Mariners striker Mitchell Duke the chance to impress Big Sam by ‘training’ with the first team next week.
Most of you are most likely thinking…Sorry, who? But you heard me right the first time.
Mitchell Duke has followed many other names in terms of leaving it late to make it as a professional footballer as he only signed his first professional contract 18 months ago with A-League side, Mariners. Now at the age of 22 he is looking to make up for the lost time.
It’s better late than never in football as Ian Wright proved, after he became an instant fan favourite at West Ham and Arsenal legend, despite signing his first professional contract at the age of 22 when Crystal Palace came calling.
I for one am hoping he can follow the footsteps of Wrighty (In his Arsenal days) and become a legend for us – If he were to sign. However, with youngsters scoring on a regular basis for both development and reserve sides, he would have to be something special to make Big Sam think he is worth the punt.
Like many fans, I am still waiting for a quality striker to walk through the door and to say Duke has what we are after, I think would be a premature statement. His current league isn’t half as challenging as the Scottish Premier League, let alone the English Premier League, therefore it would be some test of character and ability if he were to sign.
Another scenario if he were to sign could result in him being sent on loan to a Championship side or even a lower league side. This would give him the chance to prove his worth in a more challenging environment than the A-League, but not throw him in the deep end of the pool – so to speak. However, I can’t really see him signing on a permanent basis, nor do I see us attempting to sign him on loan, as I feel he would be unneeded dead-wood. Something we have had enough off over the last few years.
Although I appear to have cancelled this transfer out all together, his record in such a short period of time isn’t that bad. Last season he managed to bang in seven goals in twenty appearances, most of which was a result of him coming off the bench. Which makes me think how many could he have scored, had he been the starting eleven in those twenty appearances?
At 6ft 1 and a strong physique, he certainly fits the bill in terms of the type of player would go for, but his lack of experience would suggest otherwise. Maybe next weeks training opportunity, Big Sam will have one eye on Duke to see how he competes with the likes of powerhouse Momo Diame and James Collins. Then he will make his decision what to do with the forward.
Although I am crying out for a big name to sign for us, I am always open to taking chances and maybe this wildcard could prove a real coup?
I look forward to the reports and rumours that follow his training spell with us.