West Ham boss David Moyes has made one thing crystal clear about Harrison Ashby after confirming the defender’s move to Newcastle United.
West Ham academy graduate Ashby was at Newcastle yesterday for a medical ahead of a move that has been one of football’s worst kept secrets for some time.
Scotland youth international Ashby has been linked with a move to mega-rich Newcastle since the summer.
The swashbuckling right-back has impressed with his pace and crossing ability when given chances in the West Ham first team by Moyes.
Those chances have been too few and far between for the 21-year-old’s liking, though, and he made it clear he would not be signing a new deal with West Ham in the summer.
Speculation over a move to Newcastle has never gone away with Ashby and Magpies boss Eddie Howe sharing the same agent.
The Hammers have at least been able to salvage something from the time and effort the club put into the defender’s development, though, by getting around £3m from Newcastle for the deal (BBC Sport).
That is undoubtedly more than the figure that would have been set by a tribunal when Ashby left on a free transfer in the summer.
He is the second highly-rated West Ham academy star in six months to leave the club for a Premier League rival after refusing a contract. Sonny Perkins also elected to snub a Hammers contract to sign for Leeds in the summer with his fee to be decided by tribunal.
The Ashby move to Newcastle has West Ham fans divided. Many blame Moyes for not giving him more game time in a bid to convince him to stay, particularly as right-back has been a real problem position for West Ham.
Some feel Ashby has turned his back on the club who helped develop him. Others believe he will not cut it at Premier League level like so many before him, despite West Ham’s clear desire to keep him at the club.
Many feel Newcastle have tapped up their player and suggest he has been lured to St James’ on the promise of big money. And some believe West Ham should have offered better terms if that was the case.
The Hammers manager was asked about the Ashby situation last night.
And West Ham boss Moyes made one thing crystal clear about Ashby after confirming the Newcastle move.
That it was the player’s decision and choice and not his.
“It was the boy’s decision,” Moyes told the press after West Ham’s FA Cup win over Derby on Monday night (Football.London).
“The boy didn’t want to stay and he only had six months left on his contract. We had an offer from Newcastle in the summer and he wanted to go then.
“But we chose not to in the hope that we could get him to stay but he’d made his mind up so that was the reason why.”
Some will see the comments as Moyes throwing a young player under the bus. Others will appreciate the honesty. But the fact remains Ashby did not get a proper chance when West Ham have been having terrible problems at right-back.
When West Ham were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Blackburn before the World Cup break Ashby sent a selection plea to Moyes which fell on deaf ears.