West Ham in race for 22-year-old from London rivals as clubs intensify pursuit - report
By Danny Wright
West Ham are embroiled in a race to land Chelsea midfielder Lewis Baker, according to a report.
The Daily Mail claims that Middlesbrough, Reading and Bristol City have all intensified their pursuit of the 22-year-old having made approaches, with it said that a move to the Championship is more likely as he would be guaranteed more first-team football.
It is understood that Bournemouth are the other Premier League team looking to raid West Ham’s London rivals Chelsea for Baker, who has spent the last two years in the Netherlands on loan with Vitesse.
Baker is one of many examples of Chelsea’s use of the loan market, with the 17-times England Under-21 international being sent out on loan to three different teams in his career.
With just one senior appearance to his name for the Blues, the midfielder has had spells at Sheffield Wednesday, MK Dons and most recently Vitesse.
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The Chelsea academy product was in brilliant form for the Dutch side last term, scoring 15 goals and supplied seven assists in 39 appearances across all competitions as his side won the Dutch Cup.
Football Insider Verdict
West Ham could probably do with their midfield bolstering, but Baker wouldn’t be a player that would improve on what they already have. He was brilliant in Holland last season with Vitesse, but it’s unlikely that he could replicate that kind of form in the Premier League with either the Hammers or Bournemouth. A switch to the Championship would be more beneficial to the player, but if he can, he should try to force a permanent move away from Stamford Bridge as he clearly has no future there. It remains to be seen what sort of potential Baker has, because he has to apply his form in England, but he could be a good target for the Hammers in a couple of years’ time.
In other West Ham news, the Hammers are plotting a big money bid for this international enforcer with a crazy release clause.