Dundee United’s Lawrence Shankland is destined for the English Premier League, according to ex-Celtic and Scotland striker Frank McAvennie.
The former West Ham frontman believes United’s star man could have made a difference at his old club, who are languishing in the relegation zone in the top flight down south.
Sebastien Haller, who cost the Hammers a club record fee of £45 million, has scored just six times in 27 appearances this season.
Scotland international Shankland (24) has 28 goals in 30 games for club and country.
“He’s got to go to England and I’d love him at West Ham,” McAvennie told Courier Sport.
“I can’t believe a top Championship club or a Premier League club near the bottom of the table didn’t come in for him in the transfer window.
“If someone called me up and asked me about Lawrence Shankland, I’d tell them to take a chance on him.
“The strikers at West Ham are big lads but they don’t have the mobility of Shankland.
“His movement in the box is brilliant. He’s a proper striker, you can’t teach what he’s got.
“He reacts to everything. I’d love to say you can teach people what he’s got but you can’t.
“If I had a magic wand I’d be down at West Ham right now teaching the strikers.
“There are a lot of manufactured players around at the moment but Shankland isn’t one of them.
“He’s had setbacks and the penny dropped for him. He’s had to really apply himself and he’s getting the rewards now.”
The Tangerines’ sporting director Tony Asghar told Courier Sport last week that 22 scouts were at the first United v Hibs Scottish Cup tie as Shankland scored.
The former Ayr United man, who started out at Queen’s Park, also scored a sublime opener in the replay as the capital club won 4-2.
McAvennie said: “It was a screamer. You can’t help but be impressed with him.
“Rangers and Celtic want him but I’d tell him to go to England. We’ve got guys like Andy Robertson, John Fleck, John McGinn and Ryan Fraser doing really well down south, Shankland is the next one.
“If he does go to England, I hope he gets a running coach and does more sprints.
“He’s not the quickest and he’s not the slowest but I think he could really improve that part of his game.
“He’d be working with the top sports scientists and top-class conditioning coaches.
“Ian McCall worked with him at Ayr and absolutely raves about him. He thinks he’s something special.
“Rangers and Celtic want him but if he goes down south and it doesn’t work out, he can come back to one of the Old Firm.
“I left St Mirren to go down there at 25 and the guys nowadays have different lifestyles.
“They get looked after and wrapped in cotton wool, especially if they’re a goalscorer.”