By Anthony Onifade

31st May, 2023 | 7:10pm

West Ham United must pursue services of Santos striker Marcos Leonardo as transfer news emerges

West Ham United have sent scouts to the Under-20 World Cup in Argentina to watch one Brazilian starlet and they could very well have a Sergio Aguero 2.0 on their hands.

According to the Daily Mail [31 May], Santos striker Marcos Leonardo is attracting plenty of interest from Premier League clubs ahead of the summer transfer window, with a big move on the horizon.

The 20-year-old has attracted the attention of the likes of Barcelona this season, and the Hammers are said to have had a bid rejected for him in January.

However, that hasn’t stopped West Ham United from continuing their pursuit with the Daily Mail revealing [31 May] that the Irons have sent scouts to watch him at the Under-20 World Cup in Argentina.

“Manchester United, Arsenal, Newcastle and West Ham United have all watched Leonardo over the past year and Santos are expecting bids in the coming days as his profile rises.

“West Ham tried to sign the youngster during the January transfer market but saw their bid rejected. 

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“However, they are expected to try again this summer after sending a representative to the U20 World Cup to keep tabs on him”, the report reveals.

It’s no secret that the Hammers are set to undergo a stark revamp of the playing squad this summer, with a number of their key stars set to depart the London Stadium.

While the Irons may be tempted to strengthen their options in midfield, with Declan Rice set to call time on his seven-year first-team career in East London, the forward positions may need some addressing also.

Strikers Michail Antonio and Gianluca Scamacca are both rumoured to be leaving the club this summer, given David Moyes and the West Ham United hierarchy the opportunity to start sounding out potential targets.

And Marcos Leonardo certainly represents an attractive and exciting proposition for the club to exploit this summer, potentially going down a whole new refreshing recruitment drive than previously exploited.

Leonardo has undergone a rapid development in his native Brazil this season with Santos, in which he has contributed to six goals in 11 appearances in Paulista Serie A1.

He’s also on fire at the Under-20 World Cup currently being held in Argentina where he’s bagged an impressive three goals from three games so far, averaging a whopping 3.7 shots per game as per Sofascore.

West Ham United have been guilty of becoming shot-shy throughout the campaign, and a forward not afraid of attempting the lottery in front of goal could go a long way in addressing those weaknesses.

Leonardo is also drawing favourable and rather lofty comparisons also, with Daily Mail [31 May] referring to him as an Aguero 2.0.

“Leonardo has been compared to Argentina’s Sergio Aguero in style. Though not the biggest, he is strong, can finish off either foot, is quick and skilful.”

His record throughout 2022 certainly gives off Aguero vibes throughout his early years, seeing him score 19 goals in 39 games in all competitions, all of which came inside the box, making him a hot prospect in European football this summer.

With reference to West Ham United, the young forward could bring essential depth to the strike areas, which was required in the absence of Gianluca Scamacca who needed knee surgery, limiting Moyes’ options before he signed Danny Ings in January.

With depth in numbers comes competition which naturally raises the bar of expectation for a manager regarding selection, introducing a hungry-to-succeed starlet and wildcard option such as Leonardo could benefit Moyes’ squad in so many ways beyond goals.

West Ham United would be silly not to pursue his services this summer.