No matter how frequently, or how vociferously, West Ham supporters clamour for Toni Martinez to be given a chance, the young Spanish goal-machine continues to remain on the fringe of the first-team without ever breaking through.
The 20-year-old has still not made his senior bow for The Hammers despite earning rave reviews for the club’s reserve sides since arriving from Valencia in 2016. West Ham paid £2.6 million to bring the then-teenager to England (BBC) – quite a considerable sum for a player without a first-team game under his belt.
Yet, with The Sun reporting that West Ham are fighting Tottenham Hotspur for Walsall starlet Mitchel Candlin, you wonder whether Martinez will even be able to describe himself as the most exciting striking talent at the London Stadium in the near future.
Stealing his thunder?
17-year-old Candlin only made his professional debut for the League One side in April but has already caught the eye of Premier League scouts. The report adds that West Ham have compiled detailed reports about the 6ft striker, who Walsall manager Jon Whitney believes has ‘great potential’.
Martinez, meanwhile, may have scored 10 goals in 11 Premier League 2 appearances last season and four in six this but a loan spell at Oxford United in 2016/17 quietened a few fans who believed he was ready for first-team football.
Despite scoring against both Newcastle and Middlesbrough in Oxford’s FA Cup run, he found the net just once in 15 games in League One and struggled to deal with the physicality of the senior game.
Therefore, he appears to be no closer to Slaven Bilic’s plans and the potential arrival of Candlin threatens to steal his thunder.