In the 2019/20 season, Jeremy Ngakia started five Premier League matches for West Ham, impressing in all of his appearances. However, his contract was due to expire. David Moyes thought that giving him first-team playing time would for sure lead to him signing a new deal, but the youngster and his agent elected to find a move elsewhere in hopes of playing more consistent first-team football. And so, upon relegation from the Premier League, Watford came calling.
Dispute About Ngakia Transfer Fee Settled
Even though Ngakia’s contract was expiring, as he was a West Ham youth product and signed to Watford’s first-team from their academy, the Hornets owed the Hammers training compensation. However, such a compensation value can be hard to agree upon. West Ham believed they should receive compensation equating to his transfer market value, whereas Watford claimed they should only have to pay compensation for West Ham’s investment in his training.
According to Claret and Hugh, the agreement reached is in Watford’s favor. Instead of having to give West Ham a sum equivalent to his market value (which would be in the millions), the Hornets will only have to pay a sum in the region of six figures. The fee is likely around £500,000 if following conventional FIFA compensation rules (as Ngakia spent time with West Ham from 2012-14, as well as from 2018-2020. Players in top-tier academies in Europe call for compensation of around £77,000 per season in the Club’s youth academy).
Mixed Time At Watford With Bright Future
It took no time for Ngakia to break into the senior squad at Vicarage Road upon his arrival, which was exactly what he and his agent wanted when rejecting the new West Ham contract. He appeared in 16 of Vladimir Ivic’s 20 Championship matches, impressing with his shrewd defensive acumen and, more excitingly, his threatening runs/dribbles forward.
However, when Xisco Munoz took the reins and Adam Masina returned from injury, his minutes were swiftly limited. Strong performances from Masina and Kiko Femenia are in large part to thanks for his lack of minutes at the end of last season, though him losing his starting spot to begin with was also harsh.
The 20-year-old still has some convincing to do when it comes to Xisco. Craig Cathcart got the nod in the first three matches over Ngakia while Femenia was sidelined. Only when Cathcart sustained an injury did Ngakia get to make his Watford Premier League debut. And, as he also did in the Club’s Carabao Cup win against Crystal Palace, he thoroughly impressed through his sound defending and ability to make threatening forays forward.
When Femenia soon returns from injury, Ngakia will likely wind up on the bench once more. However, whenever he has played, he has shown why he should be in the starting eleven. With a bit of patience, Ngakia can become a consistent, solid Premier League starter.