Wolves and West Ham monitoring 18-goal striker

West Ham manager David Moyes and Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo

West Ham and Wolves are tracking the progress of Gabonese forward Aaron Boupendza, as reported by 90min.

The 24-year-old is currently having a breakthrough season for Turkish side Hatayspor, and has also attracted interest from Tottenham and Southampton amongst others.

Price-tag and salary: 

It is believed that Hatayspor are seeking £8.5m in order to allow Boupendza to leave the club this summer. 

That’s most likely because his contract with them is due to expire in summer 2022, therefore making the next transfer window their last chance to sell for a decent fee. £8.5m would still be a big mark-up for them, having originally signed him on a free transfer from Bordeaux.

Statistics:

Boupendza has been in outstanding form this term, netting 18 goals in 26 league matches. The attacker scored four times in a 6-0 win over Antalyaspor in his final game of 2020, and his hot streak continued into the following month, as he found the target twice during a 2-2 draw against league leaders Besiktas.

His dribbling statistics are also eye-catching. Boupendza has made 69 successful dribbles in 2020/21. By comparison, no West Ham player has managed more than 28, whilst Boupendza edges out Wolves winger Pedro Neto in this category as well – the Portuguese youngster has completed 62.

Expert opinion:

According to Breaking the Lines writer Patrick Caskie, the 13-cap Gabon international has a number of attributes which have helped him succeed this season.

Last month, Caskie wrote: “The Hatay forward has excellent close control and touch, he often comes short to utilize these skills, soaking in defenders, then with a dynamic touch or spin beating his man or passing it to a teammate, defeating the trap.

“Boupendza doesn’t give up out of possession, he aggressively presses and challenges passing lanes, apt to lead a press from the front.”

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Verdict:

Boupendza has shown this season that he can play effectively from either wing or through the middle

West Ham do have some strong options out wide in Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma. However, neither player has demonstrated that they offer the same goal threat as Boupendza this year, having registered eight and four top-flight goal involvements, respectively.

Meanwhile, Michail Antonio has performed well as the team’s only recognised striker, but he is crying out for some assistance to lessen his workload in 2021/22.

At Wolves, they desperately need a striker. The side have failed to adequately replace Raul Jimenez, who suffered a serious head injury in November.

Willian Jose has still not scored since arriving in January, and did not look like breaking his duck in Wolves’ 1-0 defeat to Liverpool on Monday night.

Fellow striker Fabio Silva came on in the closing stages, but squandered two headed chances which both went tamely into the hands of Reds goalkeeper Alisson.

The side need to find some goals from somewhere, and Boupendza could be the man to start delivering them.

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