Hammer in high demand

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With the FFP restrictions many clubs are looking at free agents, and in addition English Premier League clubs have to include a minimum of eight home grown players out of their squad of twenty five players.

Ben Johnson falls into the bracket, aged 24, the youngster joined the Hammers at the age of seven years old, originally as an attacking winger, he converted to full-back, and has made over 69 appearances for the first team, with ten caps for England under 21s.

Johnson is the cousin of former Tottenham defender Ledley King and ex Manchester United full-back Paul Parker.

West Ham triggered a two year extension in 2022, after conversations over a new long term contact stalled. This was to ward off interest from Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal who registered an interest at the time. His current contract ends in July 2024.

The two times Young Hammer of the Year has subsequently rejected a number of contract offers including a six and half year offer from his boyhood club as he seeks first team football elsewhere. We reported back in March, that the player was seeking a salary of £50,000 per week, yet the club were unwilling to meet his demands.

It is alleged he has since held talks with Glasgow Rangers, and Leeds United have expressed an interest, yet a number of reports suggest that Crystal Palace are leading the race for his signature on a bosman free transfer.

Given he can play both at right back and left back he will offer versatility to the Eagles who have scored nine goals in recent wins against West Ham and Manchester United.

He will be the third full back from the academy to depart in recent years, following Jeremy Ngakia’s switch to Watford in 2020 and Harrison Ashby to Newcastle in 2023.

West Ham can only hope under incoming manager, Julen Lopetegui, that more players from the under 21s will be given a chance to impress.

Guest post by former OLAS writer Matt Kemp 

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Hammers Chat video blogger @Gonzobignose


  • Irons_In_The_Fire says:

    Gonzo, I think u will find that his cousin is Paul Parker and not Scott Parker lmao 🤣😂

  • ricardo says:

    With Lopetegui’s arrival, it might be wise to retain young players until the new manager has a chance to evualuate them himself. Players like Johnson, Aguerd, Cornet -maybe even Mubama- might still have much to offer to West Ham if given a proper chance, saving money at the same time. Money would best be spent adding a few (top) key players.

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