West Ham United couldn’t hold on to academy graduate and highly-rated right-back Jeremy Ngakia beyond June despite their best efforts.
The Hammers were keen to hand him a short-term deal until the end of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign after he refused to sign a long-term extension.
The 19-year-old left West Ham yesterday after five years and five appearances for the first-team, and skipper Mark Noble believes money possibly played a huge role in his decision to leave.
Ngakia was offered a £5,000-a-week deal, but it wasn’t enough to convince him to remain at the London Stadium club.
“Jeremy’s exit was a strange one. He’s a young player who had played a handful of games for us and I don’t know his situation,” Noble told Standard Sport.
“But it did seem money may have played a big part because he had been playing and I can’t see why he’d want to leave, unless he had a huge offer somewhere else.
“Good luck to him. He’s a great kid and we’ll miss him because you want to keep your good, young players if possible.”
Ngakia’s last appearance came against Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Ryan Fredericks is expected to play at right-back for the majority of the remaining seven games.
20-year-old Ben Johnson is expected to take his place in the squad and he could taste action before the end of the campaign.
Johnson is also highly rated by West Ham and they will hope he turns out better than Ngakia going forward.
It remains to be seen where the teenager will ply his trade next season, but he won’t be short of options when the summer transfer window opens, and it will be interesting to see if he can establish himself as a regular in his next club having done so within a short period with the Hammers.