West Ham are said to be among the six clubs in the hunt to sign Sunderland full-back Phil Bardsley in the summer, but they’d be far better advised to check out Ali Adnan, a 20-year-old left-back often referred to as ‘The Iraqi Gareth Bale’.
Adnan currently plies his trade at Turkish Super Lig side Rizespor, where has he notched three times already this term, also assisting four goals for his teammates.
By contrast, Bardsley has yet to lay on a strike for a colleague in 2013/14, although he has scored twice in league action.
While Adnan does not yet score at the rate associated with Bale in his contemporary guise, there are numerous similarities between the Welshman and a player who, despite his tender years, has already amassed 25 caps for the Lions of Mesopotamia.
At 6ft 2in he is an imposing physical specimen and his strength, pace and boundless energy mean he embodies the archetype of the modern full-back typified by David Alaba or Kwadwo Asamoah.
As well as being an irrepressible dribbler, he possesses the kind of long range shooting ability that will unearth plenty of extra points for the Hammers’ occasionally toothless attack over the course of a season.
England’s own Under-20 team would know a thing or two about that after Adnan, later named left-back in the team of the tournament, smashed in a 93rd-minute equaliser against them in the 2013 Under-20 World Cup.
Hiring a seasoned Premier League full-back such as Bardsley at the height of his career would likely prove a costly way of acquiring a talent unlikely to burgeon during his Boleyn Ground stay.
However, making a swoop for a dynamic young player of boundless potential such as Adnan could deliver the Irons an exciting and economically-shrewd solution to their left-back problems.
The Rizespor man would command far less in terms of weekly wages than the Hammers’ Sunderland target and could bring in a substantial transfer fee if shining for the east London club.
West Ham are 6/1 to defeat Arsenal in their next Premier League outing.