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West Ham transfer news: Moyes close to signing Saka-like winger

Robin Bairner
Bukayo Saka, West Ham
© ProShots

West Ham are closing in on a deal to sign Jota from Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad, with the player having agreed personal terms with the club.

The Portuguese winger is comparable to Arsenalattacker Bukayo Saka in terms of his playing style and is poised to bolster the attacking line of David Moyes’ side if terms can be reached between the clubs. Indeed, the Gunners might have considered him as a backup option for the England star.

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FootMercato reports that Jota has already agreed a contract with the Premier League team but is waiting on the green light to travel to England for his medical with the Hammers.

“Agreement reached between Jota and West Ham,” transfer expert Santi Aouna reports. “Positive talks are taking place between Al-Ittihad and West Ham. Sources feel clubs can reach a full agreement.

“Jota is waiting for the green light from the teams to travel to the UK for medicals.”

Jota has wasted six months of his career since joining Al-Ittihad from Celtic for €29 million in the summer – a record sale for the Scottish club. The 24-year-old was quickly frozen out for unspecified reasons and has played only 11 matches for the Saudi club, scoring two goals.

Jota is far from the only player to have suffered a difficult time in Saudi Pro League and with Al-Ittihad in particular. Karim Benzema is said to be unsettled at the club, though the 36-year-old does not appear likely to depart before the end of January, despite rumours linking him to Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.

Jota playing for Celtic
© ProShots – Jota playing for Celtic

What can West Ham expect of Jota?

Jota was a key figure of Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side last season as he scored 15 goals and created 12 more in just 43 appearances, offering a goal contribution nearly once every 100 minutes he was on the field.

Data analytics experts SciSports compare him in style to Arsenal winger Saka, though his level is currently well below that of the England international.

Bukayo Saka

2023/2024 | Premier League (ENG)

Right wing (1853 Minutes played)

95%WidePlaymakerClassicWingerInsideForward

Jota

2022/2023 | Premiership (SCO)

Left wing (1177 Minutes played)

95%WidePlaymakerClassicWingerInsideForward

Nevertheless, there is an argument that he might have been an excellent backup option to the 22-year-old at the Emirates, with manager Mikel Arteta lacking a like-for-like player to his star man.

Jota is a classic winger who is also capable of playing as an inside forward. A risk-taking forward, he typically operates off the left but is also capable of playing on the right. His contribution at Celtic last season out of possession was equally as impressive as his abilities on the ball, with that industry something that will have attracted Moyes to make a move.

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