Mansfield Town bolster strikeforce with hot West Ham prospect Dapo Afolayan on loan

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Mansfield Town have fought off competition from other clubs to land exciting forward Dapo Afolayan on a half-season loan from Premier League side West Ham United.

The injury-hit Stags have had nine first teamers out recently and with the summer transfer deadline ahead on Monday have managed to get this deal over the line while hoping to also bring in a defender.

Afolayan, 21, joined the Hammers on transfer deadline day from National League side Solihull Moors in January 2018 and Dempster said: “I am really pleased to get it over the line. Dapo will be coming in on loan until January.

“He is someone who will bring something different to the team We’ve done a lot of research on him.

“He is a good character and is someone who wants to play football and score goals. He will certainly add to our squad.”

Dempster continued: “He had some success at Solihull and then got a move to West Ham. They paid money for him.

“But it hasn’t quite worked out for him at West Ham. As you can imagine, it’s a Premier League club and very difficult to progress into the first team there.

“So when the opportunity came up for loan until January we were in the race for him with some other clubs and really pleased to get him on board.

“He is full of energy, someone who will run in behind and stretch teams, and someone who will bring a lot of value to the squad.”

Dempster has no hesitation in pitching him into the squad at Exeter this weekend.

He said: “We had him watched on Friday and he performed very well.

“So he is match fit, though we know U23 games can be slightly different to League Two games - we’re not stupid.

“But he is a fit boy and a good professional, so he will be ready to go.”

A quick, direct centre forward, Afolayan spent six years in Chelsea’s academy as a youngster, before moving to Canada with his family aged 15.

The striker then trained with Toronto FC academy, making appearances for the MLS club’s reserve team.

Upon his return to England, he enrolled onto a civil engineering course at Loughborough University, before signing permanently for Solihull Moors in January 2017.

Afolayan scored on his debut for the Moors in a 3-0 home win over Sutton United, netting 11 goals in 30 National League appearances that season.

The striker scored a total of 16 goals in 38 matches during his time in the West Midlands.

He then moved to Premier League West Ham on a three-and-a-half-year contract for an undisclosed fee in 2018, appearing in Hammers’ colours for the first time in their Premier League 2 Division One encounter with Sunderland just five days after joining the club.

Last season, Afolayan gained experience at League Two level on a half-season loan at Oldham, going on to make 10 league appearances for the Latics.