West Ham have signed Saïd Benrahma on loan with an agreement to buy next summer after concerns raised by the winger’s medical forced them into last-minute negotiations over the transfer with Brentford.
Benrahma was poised to complete a permanent move to West Ham for £30m before the deadline for Premier League clubs to buy players from English Football League sides passed, only for the deal to stall following a late twist.
West Ham resumed talks with Brentford after medical checks left the Algerian’s move in doubt and managed to reach an agreement over new terms with the Championship club after a day full of uncertainty.
The deal to sign Benrahma was described as “very complicated” by one figure close to talks and at one stage West Ham looked set to switch focus to Josh King, who is keen to leave Bournemouth following their relegation from the Premier League. West Ham pressed ahead with their move for Benrahma, even securing a two-hour extension after submitting a deal sheet.
A permanent deal was off the table but Benrahma was desperate to secure a move to the Premier League. West Ham agreed to pay an initial £5m loan fee for the 25-year-old, who was one of the best players in the Championship last season and will buy him for £20m plus £5m in add-ons at the end of the season. The player will also sign a five-year deal with West Ham.
David Moyes was keen to bring in attacking reinforcements after allowing Felipe Anderson and Grady Diangana to leave. Moyes initially wanted to sign King, who has less than a year left on his contract, but West Ham were reluctant to meet Bournemouth’s £17.5m asking price for the striker since having a £13m offer turned down last weekend.
King is a proven Premier League player and the 28-year-old would have brought welcome competition up front. However his contractual situation and wage demands left West Ham wondering if he was value for money. Benrahma is younger and although he is more expensive, Moyes came round to the idea of signing him after discussions with members of West Ham’s board.
West Ham’s pursuit of Benrahma has caused some surprise given they initially focused on defensive targets after the controversial £18m sale of Diangana to West Brom last month. David Sullivan, the club’s co-owner, put the academy graduate’s departure down to having too many wingers.
Yet West Ham struggled to put the money received for Diangana towards strengthening at the back. While they signed the Czech Republic right-back Vladimir Coufal for £5.4m from Slavia Prague, they missed out on several centre-backs and ended up taking Craig Dawson on a season’s loan from Watford earlier this week.
All the same Benrahma, who was linked with Crystal Palace, Fulham and Aston Villa, could prove to be an exciting buy. West Ham, who visit Tottenham on Sunday, will hope he enhances their creativity.