West Ham United have signed former AFC Wimbledon midfielder Ossama Ashley following his release from King’s Meadow.
The 20-year-old only made a single appearance for the Wombles, enjoying a loan spell at Billericay Town, but he was one of ten players released by manager Glyn Hodges in June. Whilst his release seemed like a blow for the youngster, he’s fallen on his feet after a trial with the Premier League outfit.
As reported by Knees Up Mother Brown, he has now penned a short-term deal in East London as he looks to seize upon being given a second chance in the game. Ashley emerged at Wimbledon after spending time with Fulham as a youth, but only made the single appearance in the EFL Trophy against Yeovil Town in December 2017.
He will join the Hammers Under 23 setup, with manager Dmitri Halajko telling whufc.com: “Ossama has been a really combative central midfielder for us since initially joining on trial.
“He goes box to box, he’s really athletic and he can get up and down the pitch. He likes to win tackles and win second balls, but he also can pass the ball out nicely. He’s got forward and broke into the box on a number of occasions, so I think he’s exactly the kind of midfielder that West Ham likes to produce and has produced before.”
“This is probably the biggest step in my career so far and I’m excited to get started,” added midfielder Ashley.
“Since my first day everyone has made me feel really welcome. They’re all hard-working and very professional, so it’s easy to get along with them and learn from them.”
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This isn’t the first example of a player being released by a lower club and appearing at a Premier League side; only last month former Lincoln City youngster Tim Akinola moved to Arsenal following his release by Huddersfield Town.
Sometimes, smaller clubs cannot bear the burden of developing young players and giving them exposure to football. Under 23 setups are becoming rare in the lower divisions, meaning the bigger clubs have more time and resources to develop young talent.
Whether Ashley, or indeed Akinola, will breakthrough at their respective clubs is a different matter altogether but if they don’t, they do stand a good chance of picking up another Football League club in the future by virtue of their experience.