Deadline day signing Oladapo Afolayan could make his debut in Claret and Blue on Monday as West Ham United’s U23s take on Sunderland in Premier League 2.
The forward, who joined from National League outfit Solihull Moors, is expected to be part of Terry Westley’s squad for the clash at Dagenham and Redbridge’s Chigwell Construction Stadium.
And the Hammers will be hoping the 20-year-old can bring his goalscoring form to east London, having bagged eleven goals for the Midlands outfit in the league this campaign.
The U23s will be looking to bounce back on Monday having lost to Swansea City 3-0 last week in south Wales. Prior to that fixture, the side were unbeaten in 2018, however.
Academy Director Westley is excited about Afolayan’s prospects and what he can bring to the Club’s Premier League 2 squad this season.
He said: “Oladapo is an interesting player on many levels and we are delighted that he has chosen to continue his footballing education with us. He has hunger to make it at the highest level.
“He is aggressive, has great pace and the knack of scoring goals, which he has done regularly in his first season in senior football.
“For now, Oladapo is one for the future and I would like to thank my head of recruitment Dave Hunt and his team for identifying him as an exciting prospect and completing the deal.
“With a number of other clubs interested in signing Oladapo, we felt we could not wait until the summer to make our move and that bringing him to West Ham now was too good an opportunity to miss.”
We are delighted that Oladapo has chosen to continue his footballing education with us. He has hunger to make it at the highest level
Both talents are now aiming to impress on loan, though, with Martinez at Real Valladolid in Spain and Norwegian winger Samuelsen in the Championship with Burton Albion.
U23s skipper Moses Makasi also made a deadline day loan switch – to League One outfit Plymouth Argyle – and the gaps in the squad will now give the likes of Afolayan and others the opportunity to impress.
And the striker is certainly keen to do just that. Upon signing, he said: “It’s a dream come true. I’ve worked hard to get here and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
“I started out with Chelsea and was there until I was 15, then my family moved to Canada and I was part of the Academy at Toronto FC. Then, when we moved back, I studied civil engineering at Loughborough University before the opportunity arose to join Solihull and play in the National League and it was something I couldn’t turn down.
“Now, the opportunity has come to join a Premier League club and West Ham is one which has always given youngsters opportunities to come through, as we have seen this season, so I’ve come here to get into the first team and make a name for myself.”
West Ham United Season Ticket Holders and Claret Members can watch the Hammers’ Premier League 2 fixture against Sunderland on Monday 5 February for free.
Kick-off is at 7pm at the Chgiwell Construction Stadium, while entry is priced at £5 and £3 for adults and concessions respectively.