West Ham completed their sixth signing of the summer transfer window, signing striker Albian Ajeti from FC Basel.
The Hammers signed the 22-year-old Swiss on deadline day, purchasing him for a fee of £8m. He joins a wealth of Swiss players who now play their trade in the Premier League, such as Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabian Schär.
With the Swiss starlet the latest addition to the Premier League, here are five things you need to know about Ajeti.
Ajeti Made His Professional Debut at 17
Ajeti began playing football from a very young age, and his talent was spotted early on by his hometown club FC Basel. He joined the club in 2005 as a youth player, working his way through the ranks before breaking into the first team in 2014.
After a number of substitute appearances, Ajeti was awarded his professional debut in March 2014 by then-manager Murat Yakin. At 17 years old, the Swiss forward was brought on as a substitute in Basel's Europa League round of 16 match against Salzburg.
Although the game ended goalless, it proved to be invaluable experience for Ajeti who made his Swiss Super League debut weeks later. He soon scored his first goal in the Swiss top flight, scoring in a 4-2 win over Lausanne-Sport in May 2014.
He Was Basel’s Top Goalscorer in 2 Consecutive Seasons
Die Saison in der @Raiffeisen_CH Super League hat kaum begonnen, schon wurde die erste Trophäe vergeben. @FCBasel1893-Stürmer Albian #Ajeti erhielt den #TargetTwister, die Trophäe für den besten Torschützen der Saison 2017/18. Herzliche Gratulation!— SwissFootballLeague (@News_SFL) July 21, 2018
➡ https://t.co/xHR4sAeO1o pic.twitter.com/qN1pgLCziP
Ajeti is a proven goalscoring striker, proven in his second senior spell at FC Basel. The 22-year-old scored 21 goals in 43 appearances last season, as the RotBlau finished second in the Swiss Super League and won their 13th Swiss Cup at the end of May.
The season before was just as prolific for Ajeti, as he scored 17 goals in 37 games to win the Swiss Super League golden boot. He is also the joint-leading goalscorer this season, with his two goals tying him with Luca Zuffi and Valentin Stocker.
Ajeti was Basel's most clinical goalscorer for the last two seasons, and his early scoring suggests he would've continued that into this campaign.
Ajeti Scored Six Minutes Into His Switzerland Debut
Ajeti made his senior debut for Switzerland in September 2018, after rising through the national youth team setup. Having represented the Schweizer Nati from the Under-15s up to the Under-21s, Vladimir Petković handed him his debut in the Nations League clash with Iceland.
65 minutes into the game at the kybunpark in St. Gallen, Ajeti was brought off the bench for Breel Embolo. Just six minutes later, he slotted home from close range, marking his first ever appearance for Switzerland with his first ever goal for Switzerland in a clinical display.
Since then, Ajeti has become a regular in Petković's setup, earning seven caps in the Nati's last ten internationals. While the 22-year-old is not yet the first choice striker with Haris Seferović ahead of him, he will certainly be a starter for the Swiss within a few years.
He Could've Represented Albania at International Level
While Ajeti was born in Switzerland and represented his birth country at every level, his international career could've taken a different path. Ajeti's family comes from Albania, and if he wanted to he could've decided to represent the Eagles.
In 2015, Albania manager Gianna de Biasi contacted Ajeti about playing for the country in their Euro 2016 qualifiers, but to no avail. Albian would not have been the only Ajeti in the squad, with his older brother Arlind Ajeti representing Albania and making 19 caps for them.
However, Ajeti chose to continue to play for the Schweizer Nati instead, and in an interview with Blick, he said: "[Albania is] the home of my family. Nevertheless, I decided to play for Switzerland and not for Albania."
Ajeti Already Has European Experience
Having played regular football with Basel for years, Ajeti has had the privilege of playing in Europe. He has scored three goals in 15 European appearances for the RotBlau, as well as an impressive five goals in 11 appearances in the UEFA Youth League.
Ajeti has experienced European football at various levels, playing in qualifiers, group stage and knockout games in both the Champions League and Europa League. This includes the new season, as he scored in Basel's 3-2 second round qualification first leg defeat to PSV.
With a goalscoring record, an international pedigree and European experience, Ajeti is the perfect player for West Ham. With many years ahead of him and time to develop and improve, he has a lot ahead of him as he starts his new life in east London.
Source : 90min