West Ham make offer for Belgian wonderkid Arne Engels
The Belgium Under-19 international is currently the captain of Club NXT, Brugge's reserve team who play in the Challenger Pro League, the nation's second tier.
Engels came onto West Ham's radar thanks to his impressive performances in the UEFA Youth League, where he scored three goals and provided two assists in nine games, including goals against Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain's Under-19 sides.
He has yet to make his senior debut for Club Brugge, but has started the season strongly at Club NXT with a goal on the opening weekend against SL16 FC before being handed the captain's armband against Lierse Kempenzonen.
Engels has just one year remaining on his contract and as a result, Brugge could be willing to let him leave this summer. However, Football Transfers has learned that an initial approach from West Ham for the 18-year-old has been rejected.
[UEFA Youth League 👶🏼]— Belgian Football Kids (@BelFootKids) November 24, 2021
🇧🇪 Club Brugge vs RB Leipzig 🇩🇪
Arne Engels, international U19, vient inscrire un bijou 💫 sur coup-franc pour permettre aux brugeois de prendre l’avantage à la mi-temps. (2-1)#CLURBL #UCL pic.twitter.com/rNxwV661uo
A regular at underage level for Belgium's international sides, Engels featured in all six of his country's UEFA Under-19 Championship qualifiers in 2021-22 and has two goals in nine games at U-19 level for Belgium.
West Ham see Engels as one for the future rather than having an immediate impact in the Premier League, and he is likely to be introduced through the Hammers' U-23 side before making the step up.
West Ham's summer transfers
Engels would be West Ham's seventh signing of the summer, having already added the likes of forward Gianluca Scamacca and defender Thilo Kehrer.
Nayef Aguerd and Maxwel Cornet also arrived at London Stadium this summer, along with goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and Flynn Downes.
So far, West Ham have spent over £111 million on arrivals, but they are not finished in the transfer window just yet.