West Ham’s revival this season has been down to several important factors; Big Sam’s boys have been rejuvenated by their new signings who have brought about a distinct improvement in front of goal, and solidified by strong leadership at the back which is in no small part down to Winston Reid.
The New Zealand international has gained many plaudits throughout his time in the Premier League for his tough tackling and solid aerial qualities, despite an uneasy start to his East end career back in 2010. With the January transfer window now upon us and West Ham’s defensive leader slowly moving out of the shadows and into the spot-light, would a reported move to Arsenal really suit Winston Reid? Or would it simply be a step too far for the towering centre-back?
The Kiwi star didn’t exactly have the greatest start to life at Upton Park, as playing at right-back under Avram Grant, his Premier League debut ending in a resounding 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa. Since West Ham’s timely relegation to the Championship that season however, Reid has come on in leaps and bounds to be one of the most promising centre-backs in English football.
The 26-year-old, who previously plied his trade with Danish outfit Midtjylland, has subsequently become a main-stay in the West Ham back four for his more than solid performances. His reading of the game is near flawless, he has the calmness necessary to make it in the Premier League, and his strength in the tackle would leave even the most burly strikers bruised.
One area of Reid’s game that has not received as much praise however is his often unpredictable distribution from the back. The New Zealand star isn’t exactly the most confident on the ball and he lacks the pace to get himself out of tricky situations, with the defender’s touch often cause for concern around Upton Park.
Such technical deficiencies would seem to throw his potential move to Arsenal remain in doubt. We all know that Arsene Wenger prefers players who are comfortable on the ball and can be categorised as ‘proper footballers.’ Whilst Reid may be one hell of a ‘proper defender’, it takes a certain style and finesse to play at the very top. At this current stage in time, that particular area of Reid’s game may be holding him back.
The West Ham man would nevertheless provide the Gunners with some much needed tenacity and resilience at the back. Wenger’s side have displayed a distinct lack in defensive meanness in recent years, with some pundits even going as far as labeling them as push-overs. In that respect, the promising centre-back could be the perfect addition down at the Emirates.
Perhaps Arsenal will decide to wait until the summer on this one as with Reid’s contract with the Hammers is due to expire. Wenger could be shrewd enough to pick him up on the free should an club not come in for the Kiwi first.
Wherever Reid eventually ends up he will likely prove a success, even if that means he loses the hero status he currently has at Upton Park. With any move to the Emirates requiring the utmost ability with the ball however, perhaps Winston Reid’s defensive qualities won’t be enough to see him make it to the Emirates this January.