Malc Dugdale says…
I’m over the moon that this deal has come off.
For longer than I care to remember, I’ve been screaming out for a midfielder with power, physical presence and pace, and Ekwah looks like he’s got all that.
You just need to watch a few of his recent contributions to West Ham’s U21 games to see that he’s going to bring a blend of youthful energy and stamina to our midfield.
It seems like he’s got the ability to drive forward aggressively with the ball, to break up play, and to score the odd goal or two. He’s already spoken of wanting to be a part of our long-term project, a fact which is reinforced with the length of his contract.
I was quite worried about the impact of Corry Evans and Elliot Embleton both being injured for a spell, even though Edouard Michut stood out against Middlesbrough. Ekwah’s arrival eases that concern, as he appears to have the potential to combine the dominance of Evans with the attacking prowess of Embleton.
To cap it all off, we’ve got a cup game this weekend, so we can throw him into the mix and see what he can do against Fulham.
For a first signing this is a cracker, and hopefully Kristjaan Speakman and Stuart Harvey can keep them coming!
Kingsley Reavley says…
An exciting addition, and seems to be another positive step in the right direction, buying young promising talent on a ‘low risk, high reward’ basis.
Naturally, it’s hard to accurately gauge his ability based on his lack of first-team appearances, but we do know that he’s coming with an excellent pedigree after spending three years at the Clairefontaine academy before catching the eye of both Chelsea and West Ham.
There also seems to be a sense of disappointment among West Ham fans that he’s been allowed to leave, which tends to be a sign of how highly a player is regarded.
We’ve been crying out for a dynamic, powerful and energetic central midfielder for quite some time and it sounds like Ekwah fits that mould perfectly.
With Dan Ballard, Danny Batth, Ross Stewart and Ekwah, we’ve now got genuine height and strength through the spine of the team, which should mean that we’re more effective at set pieces, too.
Hopefully his relationship with Alese, and the fact we’ve got a few French-speaking lads, will help him settle relatively quickly.
Looking forward to seeing him play!
Martin Wanless says...
There’s three really pleasing aspects to this deal for me. The first is that it’s permanent on a good length of contract. I wasn’t too enamoured with the prospect of getting him on loan for the rest of the season as I thought it might stifle the development of Dan Neil and/or Edouard Michut, both of whom we’ve got a vested interest in developing ahead of a West Ham player. The fact it’s a permanent deal changes all of that – and if we’re doing things correctly, which it most certainly seems as if we are, he’ll be given time this season to bed in and hit the ground running next season.
The second is he’s the type of player we need in midfield, he’s got presence and got a goal in him, too – and it’ll enable Dan Neil to really develop the more defensive role he’s taken up in recent weeks. That looks to be Neil’s best position, and from the little bits of highlights I’ve seen of Ekwah, he could be a perfect complement.
The third, and perhaps something that augurs really well for us long term, is that the message is clearly getting out – Sunderland’s a club that will give young players their chance: they’ll be trusted, they’ll be developed and they’ll grow. Ekwah said something along the lines of this being the perfect place to grow as a player and as a person – and the greater that reputation becomes, the greater the benefits we’ll reap.
It’s an unusual January transfer, in that it’s not a gap plugger that’s needed right now – but someone who’s been signed for the long term. We saw this approach last January too (bar one high-profile blunder), and it reinforces the belief that the football side of the club’s being run extremely well.