West Ham United have struggled this season, with David Moyes’ men failing to repeat last year’s heroics in the Premier League, currently languishing in 16th spot, just two points out of the relegation zone.

Despite the recent poor performances, the future looks bright at the club with the quality of young players in their academy. The likes of Divin Mubama and Mipo Odubeko could be stars for the club in the near future, with the two scoring ten goals between them for the U21s this term, yet it’s the centre of defence which could provide Moyes with the best talent.

Young Brazilian defender Luizao joined the club in January and looks set to have a bright future, however, it’s an English centre half who Moyes will be surely looking to promote to the first team in the coming months – Levi Laing.

Could Laing be West Ham’s next Rio Ferdinand?

The 19-year-old titan has been at the club since signing from Arsenal and penned his first professional contract in 2021, with U23 coach Dmitri Halajko praising the player, saying: “After coming in from Arsenal, he fitted in straight away. He hit the ground running with good performances, got himself in and around the U23s group and made a few substitute appearances fairly early at that level.

“The progress that he’s made in such a short period of time has been really positive, and I’m sure he can carry it on going forward at this club.”

He was also dubbed “outstanding” by Mark Robson following a performance against Exeter and his limitless potential could give him a great career in the game.

Indeed, the defender has made 45 appearances across the West Ham age groups while he impressed across three appearances in this season’s Football League Trophy, averaging a rating of 7.07/10 while taking 67 touches per match and making a colossal 4.3 clearances and 1.7 tackles per game along with winning an astounding 73% of his total duels, proving that he is more than able to make the next step in his career.

With that dogged and battle-hardened approach to the game, Laing could well follow in the footsteps of former West Ham alumni Ferdinand, who came through the club’s academy before eventually making 145 appearances for the Hammers, emerging into the first team along with Joe Cole and Michael Carrick.

He was sold for a whopping £18m in 2000 and Laing could be the next academy talent to make a name for himself and generate the Hammers a massive profit in the process.

Both players are over 6 foot 2 while Laing is following in Ferdinand’s footsteps by being excellent in the air along with showcasing wonderful ability in possession of the ball.

Moyes will be keen to monitor his progress over the coming months and if they improve their recent form and avoid relegation, the Scot may just give Laing some minutes come the final few weeks of the season.


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