A Youth Round Up: Contract situations cleared up. Who will get the new deals? Who will leave?
Author: Brian Knox. Published: 15 March 2016 at 8:43pm
This column will be focused on the contract situations of a number of U21 and U18 players, whose contracts all run out in June.
More than several academy players are out of contract in the summer. The most notable probably is Elliot Lee. The much hyped-youngster hasn’t been as prolific in League One and League Two as expected, despite scoring a stunning goal for Colchester this weekend. The long serving play may be a candidate to depart, as next season he will be classed as an overage U21 player, and with the board looking to sign more first team strikers, opportunities will certainly be limited.
Another in a similar situation is defender Leo Chambers. Another member of the summer 2011 intake the right-back will also be an overage player for the U21s this season. To be fair to him, he has had over a year out with an injury and should he impress more at Colchester that may prompt Slaven Bilic to offer him fresh terms. He would be an adequate backup to Sam Byram of course, with Chambers having experience at England youth level and always being one of the most highly rated players in the academy. Fellow right-back Sam Westley, the son of academy manager Terry, is also to be an overage player next season and has failed to make any first team appearances so far for VVV Venlo’s first team.
Three members of the 2012 intake are also out of contract. Defensive midfielder Moses Makasi has been in excellent form for the U21s this season. A long serving academy member, Makasi is a tenacious defensive midfielder with endless energy but with Havard Nordtveit set to join he may not be retained. Another defensive midfielder in Amos Nasha could also leave, despite being able to play at centre-back and even right-back too. Nasha is another consistent performer and featured for the first team aged 16 in the summer of 2012 during pre-season friendlies. Winger Nathan Mavila, signed from Wycombe in 2012 was rewarded a two year deal alongside others after his electric pace terrorised defenders regularly, but is on loan at Wealdstone for the rest of the season and hasn’t featured in Slaven Bilic’s first team plans after he and Nasha were involved in the Europa League. Josh Cullen and Lewis Page are all under contract for a couple more seasons.
Serbian striker Luka Belic may also leave having struggled to impress for the U21s despite injuries, whilst it is looking likely that only one of either third year scholar Tim Brown or second year Clarke Bogard will be retained. Both goalkeepers have gained plenty of loan experience at non-league clubs, with Brown spending most of his scholarship at loan at Dulwich Hamlet and Canvey Island as he was backup to Sam Howes, whilst Bogard became the first Tilbury player since 1979 to reach fifty first team appearances. But with 23 year old third choice Raphael Spiegel bizarrely agreeing a new deal, perhaps both will be released. Attacking midfielder Grady Diangana, central midfielder Matt Carter and defensive midfielder Noha Sylvestre are likely to agree professional terms, whilst it is uncertain what will happen with Oscar Borg and Ross Elsom. Borg has struggled to impress recently, whilst Elsom has unfortunately struggled with injuries but has been very impressive on loan at Tilbury and now Histon.
As always, remember to check The West Ham Way for the most reliable news for all things West Ham. COYI
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