English-born and donning a 6 foot 2, thirteen stone frame, on paper Rickie Lambert is the epitome of the Sam Allardyce mould of striker.
Yet the Southampton star is anything but; since arriving in the Premier League with the south coast side in summer 2012 after helping them secure promotion from League One and the Championship, Lambert has impressed fans, pundits and Roy Hodgson alike through his quality on the ball and natural creativity, interestingly infused with his stocky and lofty build.
If a striking spectrum had Andy Carroll at one end Dimitar Berbatov at the other, the former non-leaguer would be slap-bang in the middle, best illustrated by his ten assists this season – the second-highest set-up return in the Premier League – and current average of 1.6 key passes per game.
The 32 year-old is a consistent goalscorer too; he’s netted an impressive 25 times in 69 outings since his top flight ascension nearly two years ago, including ten goals this season.
Lambert would be an ideal bridging signing for the Hammers, encompassing the Allardyce ethos but also possessing the natural quality that the Upton Park faithful are crying out for.
Furthermore, the West Ham boss has been eyeing up the England international for some time, and considering he’s already reached veteran age, the logical assumption is that Southampton would be prepared to sell this summer if a decent offer came in.
Financially, that probably translates to a bid around the £7million-£10million mark.