He’s been one of the few silver linings in the dark cloud that is West Ham’s Premier League season, but it looks likely that Jeremy Ngakia will be on the way out of the London Stadium after just five appearances for the Hammers.
The 19-year-old right back looks to be saying farewell to the east London side amidst heavy speculation that he is being courted by some of Europe’s top clubs. He has already rejected a new three-year deal worth £5,000 a week and unless a short term deal is agreed by this Tuesday, he is set to depart when his academy contract expires on 30 June.
So, let’s take a look at some of the rumoured destinations for the young English full back…
This move looks unlikely for Ngakia, although if Norwich were to achieve the near-on impossible and stay in the Premier League, that would improve their odds significantly.
Norwich already have a talented right back in Max Aarons, who is likely to depart if they are relegated so there may well be a vacancy. However, despite Daniel Farke being a fantastic coach to work with, Championship football may not be what Ngakia is after, considering the other destinations being linked.
Watford’s defence is one of the leakiest in the league so the signing of Ngakia could certainly add some freshness alongside the older heads of Jose Holebas and bicycle-kick expert Craig Dawson.
However, with relegation still very much a threat for the Hornets and a similar predicament to the Hammers, it may not represent the most enticing option.
It may be surprising to see the champions elect on this list but there have been rumours swirling that the Reds could look to bring in Ngakia to provide competition and a dynamic back up to Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is undoubtedly first choice at Anfield.
Liverpool already have some talented youngsters on their books, including homegrown full back Neco Williams, likely leaving Ngakia to scrap for minutes in cup competitions. Would that be enough for Ngakia? Possibly not,
Since the selling of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Man Utd last season, Crystal Palace have had to make do with the reliable but unspectacular pairing of Martin Kelly and Joel Ward as their right-back options. Palace under Roy Hodgson are a largely defensive side and those players suit that style.
It remains to be seen whether a quicker and more risk-taking full back like Ngakia would feel at home in the Palace structure.
Ngakia may favour a move across London to work with a manager who has won it all. It’s certainly an exciting match up and you could argue that the youngster may even have a strong opportunity to displace Serge Aurier, after the Ivorian’s rather inconsistent season.
However, Mourinho has historically not given youth an extended chance and Ngakia would definitely have to hit the ground running to sustain a regular starting place.
What looks more likely is a move to Spurs’ bitter rivals, as he is exactly the type of player Mikel Arteta likes working with at Arsenal. A desire to promote youth moving forward much like Frank Lampard at Chelsea; has meant promising breakthroughs for Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah, among others this season.
With long-time servant Hector Bellerin the only right back on the books, Ngakia would surely break into the side within a season and could surely be a part of the revolution, that is desperately required at the Emirates.
It may seem surprising that we think the most likely move is to a Bundesliga outfit, but this move looks the most desirable for both the player and club. Everton loanee Jonjoe Kenny will return to Goodison from Schalke this summer, leaving a gap for another young exciting youngster once more.
Although another unnamed German club is also supposedly interested, Ngakia is said to have already held discussions with Schalke – where former Huddersfield boss David Wagner is in charge – over a possible move.
When you look at the success rate of other English players playing in Germany recently, it’s easy to see why he’s tempted. Watch this space.