Another titanic display in West Ham United’s 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur ensured the stock of centre-back Angelo Ogbonna continues to rise.
Widespread reports indicate both Manchester City and United have taken a shine to the Italian stopper, who after a slow start to life in the Premier League, has gradually started to acclimatise to life outside of Serie A.
Media sources have stated that the former Juventus defender almost signed for the Red Devils in 2012, but former manager Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t prepared to fork out the £16m Torino were demanding.
It’ll doubtless cost the Old Trafford outfit much more than that to sign him now he’s an established Premier League performer, as well as the fact that Man City and their bottomless transfer kitty are interested too.
But, despite this inevitable inflation, either team will be better off buying Ogbonna now he has spent a season with the tried and tested feeder club for the stars.
Historically, any number of elite Premier League performers utilised West Ham as their stepping-stone to one of the top-flight’s heaviest hitters.
Whether they’ve come through the academy or been imported from foreign shores, those who pass through the Upton Park gateway to superstardom rarely disappoint upon being purchased by a big gun.
Former junior Irons Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson and Michael Carrick are in possession of a combined 18 Premier League winners medals, while three of the five have a Champions League equivalent too.
Less prestigious centre-of-excellence alumni include Jermain Defoe, a 55-cap England international who scored 61 goals in 170 games for the club he joined after leaving the east London, Tottenham Hotspur.
Among the foreign stars to flourish after leaving West Ham for one of the Premier League’s elite include Carlos Tevez, a multiple title-winner who also won the Champions League with Man Utd, and Javier Mascherano, who went on to be a mainstay of the Barcelona team after shining at Liverpool.
Even the likes of Scott Parker, Craig Bellamy and Yossi Benayoun, while not winning much, proved key first-team players for Spurs, City and Liverpool respectively following their departures from West Ham.
With such prestigious predecessors for Ogbonna’s suitors to take confidence in, he’s sure to prove a shrewd signing this summer.