David Moyes warns Divin Mubama against 'big mistakes' after rejecting new West Ham contract

David Moyes has urged Divin Mubama to commit his future to West Ham, warning the striker not to repeat the “big mistakes” of other young players who have walked away from the club.

Mubama, one of the Hammers’ most highly-rated academy talents, is out of contract at the end of the season and has so far rejected the club’s offer of a new long-term deal.

The 19-year-old was a key member of the side that won the FA Youth Cup last season and made six first-team appearances, scoring his first senior goal in the Europa Conference League win over AEK Larnaca in March.

Regular involvement in preseason this summer suggested a more significant breakthrough might be on the cards but Mubama has so far made only three substitute cameos and is yet to feature in the Premier League.

“Divin was offered a contract 12 months ago but he’s the one not agreeing to sign a contract,” Moyes confirmed. “We really like Divin, he’s an East End boy and a West Ham supporter, a great lad, we love him to bits. I feel the best thing for Divin is to sign a contract at West Ham.

“He’s got competition in front of him but he’s only young. If I can get him more opportunities I will do. But he’s an 18-year-old centre forward and there’s not many of them playing in the Premier League.”

West Ham have been frustrated by a steady stream of prospects leaving the club in recent years. Jeremy Ngakia made his first-team debut just before the Covid suspension in 2020 but then refused to sign a contract extension and joined Watford on a free transfer the same summer, while full-back Harrison Ashby was sold to Newcastle in January this year for a cut-price fee, having made clear he would not sign on beyond the final six months of his deal.

Ashby is currently on loan in the Championship with Swansea, while teenager Sonny Perkins, whose exit for Leeds 18 months ago left West Ham publicly furious, has been farmed out to Oxford United in League One in search of more playing time.

"A lot of [young players] are getting impatient but the bigger problem is their agents want to take them away and get games elsewhere,” Moyes added. “So many are making the wrong decisions. There’s a few boys that have left here who have made incredibly wrong decisions. They’re in a great environment here. We’re a football club who want to put young players in. In the main we don’t have huge squads, we’re not buying all the time.

“There’s a few who left here and made big mistakes. If they are not careful they can get bad information about what they are doing and how their career path should go.”

Mubama came on in the final minutes of West Ham’s Europa League victory over Olympiacos on Thursday night and was given a rousing reception by the London Stadium crowd and it was telling that Moyes turned to the youngster ahead of either Michail Antonio or Danny Ings with the game still in the balance at 1-0.

Dropped: Michail Antonio has lost his starting striker berth to Jarrod Bowen (Getty Images)
Dropped: Michail Antonio has lost his starting striker berth to Jarrod Bowen (Getty Images)

Antonio began the season as West Ham’s first-choice strike but the Jamaican has not scored since August and Moyes has made clear he now sees Jarrod Bowen as his best option in the position, leading to renewed speculation over Antonio’s future.

“Micky has got competition, he has always had that,” Moyes said. “We need Mick to score goals. He started the season really well but we need him to score. If you’re going to be a No9 you need those goals.

“All players who don’t get in the team can look like [they may want to leave] but you hope they fight, compete for their position, get their form back, get into goalscoring form. That’s what we want. He has been part of a team and has a been a hugely important member.”