West Ham want to sign Chelsea teenager Lewis Bate this summer, according to a report from The Athletic.
What’s the latest transfer news involving Bate?
The 18-year-old has one year remaining on his contract at Stamford Bridge and he has reportedly informed the club that he has no intention of signing a new deal.
This seems to have alerted a number of Premier League clubs to his potential availability, as five sides are believed to be monitoring the midfielder: West Ham, Leeds, Liverpool, Leicester and Brighton.
The former two teams appear to be leading the race for his signature, with it being claimed that they have both tabled offers for the youngster.
What has Bate achieved in his career to date?
Bate does not turn 19 until October but he has already made his mark at youth level. He has represented England Under-17s and Under-18s on multiple occasions, and he has racked up 25 appearances for Chelsea’s Under-23s.
Furthermore, he has made the bench for Chelsea’s first-team three times in the past 12 months, including being named in the squad for the side’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich last August.
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How does Bate compare to Chelsea’s other youngsters?
Chelsea have promoted a number of youngsters from their academy into the senior setup in recent years such as Mason Mount and Billy Gilmour.
The latter has gone on to make 22 appearances for the Blues in all competitions, and the Scot showed what he could do on the international stage when he was named man-of-the-match against England at Euro 2020 last month.
However, it is understood that some coaches view Bate as a bigger talent than Gilmour, highlighting just how highly-rated the English prospect is.
Is Bate ready to go straight into West Ham’s first-team?
The Athletic’s report states that Bate is willing to leave Chelsea due to not being convinced that he will be handed many first-team opportunities next term. His concerns are understandable given that Thomas Tuchel currently has N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic at his disposal in central midfield.
The question is: would things be any different at West Ham? David Moyes can call upon Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek to cover the centre of the park, and that pairing guided the Irons to a top-six finish in 2020/21.
Behind that duo, though, West Ham’s central midfield options look a little thin. Mark Noble is about to enter the final year of his professional career, and at 34, his best years appear to be behind him.
Rice and Soucek will need to be given breathers at certain points in the season with West Ham set to compete in Europe next term, and this could allow Bate to get some game time under his belt if he does move to east London.
This would give him the opportunity to start showing what he can do at senior level, and could ensure that he continues to develop his game over the next 12 months rather than running down his contract at Chelsea.