By Anthony Onifade

17th Mar, 2023 | 7:10pm

West Ham United could save millions in Divin Mubama with Michail Antonio and Gianluca Scamacca facing uncertain futures

West Ham could save millions in the transfer market by handing Divin Mubama a clear route to the first team with Michail Antonio and Gianluca Scamacca facing uncertain futures.

The 18-year-old wonderkid, dubbed “brilliant” by BBC journalist Simon Stone, needed just 11 minutes after coming on as a substitute to score his first Hammers goal in the 4-0 Europa Conference League victory at home to AEK Larnaca on Thursday (16 March).

Brought up in nearby Newham, Mubama has picked up a swift reputation in the Hammers youth squads for his goalscoring exploits, currently on 11 goals from 15 Premier League 2 games so far during the 2022/23 campaign.

West Ham boss David Moyes admitted [Football.London, 17 March] after the AEK Larnaca win that his attacking options are pretty full for Mubama to make his mark and that he doesn’t train regularly with the first team.

However, those comments may well be altered slightly this summer with the Hammers set to undergo a stark squad rebuild should they remain in the Premier League for the 2023/24 campaign.

While the defence and midfield are set for a major shake-up with the likes of Angelo Ogbonna and Declan Rice set to call time on their London Stadium careers, the club’s strikeforce may be in need of repair too.

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Antonio’s contract at the club is up in June, and the veteran striker could have left in the January window after being linked with moves to Everton and Wolves.

Also, Italian hitman Scamacca is also facing an uncertain Hammers future given his struggles in East London during his first year in England after his £35.5m summer move from Sassuolo. The 24-year-old has been linked with a return to Italy with Serie A giants Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan all reportedly keeping tabs on his situation.

That could leave a clear path of Mubama to make his mark as a Hammers first-teamer alongside January signing Danny Ings, and the 18-year-old should be given the faith and tools Declan Rice did when he emerged on the scene during the 2016/17 campaign.

Six years on, Rice has propelled himself to become one of the world’s best defensive midfielders all because a former manager in Slaven Bilic provided him with the confidence and belief to make the West Ham grade.

Mubama should be handed the same opportunities as he has proven at under-23 level despite being just 18 that he can make the step up seamlessly.

Certainly, handing 18-year-olds regular starts at Premier League level presents huge risks but West Ham are a club built on the success and growth of their academy. The Hammers this summer could save millions by ensuring Mubama is given a clear path to the first team.