With Marko Arnautovic seemingly unable to resist the temptation of Chinese riches, West Ham are now searching for someone to fill his boots.
The Austrian has been in stellar form for the Hammers over the last two seasons, with 26 goals contributions in 47 Premier League games. Yet despite an excellent start in 2018/19 so far under Manuel Pellegrini, a big money move to Shanghai SIPG looks like it has tilted his head.
West Ham are unwilling to let their goal scorer leave the London Stadium this month, having rejected a £35 million bid. Yet they have found a potential replacement if he does go: Maxi Gomez.
Celta Vigo’s striker, who joined them just two seasons ago, has been very impressive in Spain with 9 goals and 5 assists in 19 games. Gomez has a £45 million release clause which could all be funded by the Arnautovic money. Let’s take a look at Uruguayan and how good he is:
Setting Uruguay Alight
The forward began his career in Latin America with Defensor Sporting, coming up through their youth ranks before making his senior debut at 19 years of age. He was excellent from the moment he stepped on the pitch in 2015/16, with 14 goals in 21 appearances. This included 4 goals in a 6-5 away win for Sporting. Decent first impression.
Yet the following season was quite the opposite. Gomez struggled with just 4 goals in 14 games, with his breakout season now looking like a purple patch.
However, the Uruguayan was back to his best in the 2017 Primera Division season with 10 goals in just 12 games. Oh and 2 red cards. A another fine season in Uruguay rewarded Gomez with a €4.3 million move to La Liga with Celta Vigo.
Once again, he hit the ground running with 17 goals in 39 appearances for the Celticos in his first Spanish top flight season. Very impressive for someone so new to the league. This season has followed suit for Gomez too, ensuring that he is a talent with goal scoring prowess.
Style of Play
Standing at 6ft 1, Gomez epitomises the phrase ‘target man’. His ability to hold up the ball and out muscle defenders enables him to be a great outlet for his side. 2.4 shots per game and 9 assists across his last two seasons evidences his ability to be an effective playmaker alongside a fine finisher.
Inevitably, his height allows him to superb in the air, with a large number of the goals he scores, as shown in the video above, being headers. The Uruguayan international is also a very intelligent forward alongside the strength and fighting spirit that we’ve seen.
Despite not covering the most distance on the pitch, he makes great runs into the box for wingers to meet with crosses and midfielders to meet with balls to his feet.
Maxi Gomez idolises Luis Suarez and some of these characteristics and traits suggest he has the potential to be as successful as his compatriot. If Marko Arnautovic does choose to leave, investing in Celta Vigo’s poacher would be a fantastic signing for the The Irons.
“People back in Uruguay say that I’m going to be Luis Suárez’s successor in the national team and I hope that will turn out to be the case.”Gomez on the Barcelona striker
We’re confident if West Ham secure his signature, the former Defensor Sporting player will be a roaring success in London.
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