Winston Reid’s contract at West Ham United is due to expire at the end of the season. As one of their most important players, if he is to leave the club for free in the summer it would be a massive blow to the Hammers. It would affect the football club both on the field and financially, as the star would command quite a big transfer fee should he not be so close to the end of his current deal.
The Kiwi international signed for the east Londoners on the back of a successful World Cup campaign in 2010, which saw him score for his country and produce an impressive display in the heart of their defence.
Since signing for West Ham, he has impressed everyone at the club with solid centre back displays and has become one of the fan favourites during his four years at Upton Park. Not only have his defensive displays been solid, cementing his place as one of the top centre backs of the Premier League, but he has also got quite an impressive goal scoring record for his club having netted six times already. Of those six goals, any supporter of the Cockney outfit will tell you their favourite was the thunder strike against bitter rivals Millwall in a Championship game in February 2012, sealing a 2-1 victory.
Understandably, the board and manager Sam Allardyce are keen to keep hold of the young ace for the long term. Not only are the club on the way up and starting to look ahead to their future in the Olympic stadium, but the board are also keen to shake the ‘selling club’ tag. It is vital for any Premier League club that wants to compete at higher levels and win honours to keep hold of their best players as well as strengthening their squad.
Up until this season however, West Ham were just a team trying to beat the drop to the Championship, a club that thrived on survival as the most important part of their season. It was always vital to keep this club in the top flight considering their pending move to their new home after next season.
Such ambitions might have been a deterrent to a player such as Reid, who has ambitions of realising his true potential and playing for a club in Europe. These ambitions have not gone in vein either with clubs such as Arsenal and Liverpool rumoured to be interested in securing the defender’s signature and they are closely monitoring the situation regarding his contract.
There is no doubting that with his ability, Reid deserves to be aiming higher than a club threatened with relegation.
The relegation battles were not his only issue when offered a new deal by his club over the summer. It is understood that the player was concerned with the manner in which West Ham were losing so many games, and the style of play and the tactics were of great concern to him. It was also rumoured that he was not happy at being involved with the team during parts of last season, as he was not impressed with how things were shaping up at the club on the pitch in particular.
The Hammers however, against many people’s expectations and all the odds, have turned it around big style this season. They are sitting in the top five in the Premier League table, scoring lots of goals, attacking with flair, and are very entertaining to watch. Not only that but they seem like a club that are focusing on European qualification according to joint chairman David Sullivan, rather than a club merely seeking to exist and survive in the top tier of English football. Reid has played a big part in some of their results this season with some truly outstanding and solid displays in defence, keeping the likes of Manchester City at bay and his team in the game.
It is still early days for the club in this season with only a quarter of the campaign gone. It will be hard for anyone of a sane mind to predict anything other than perhaps a strong top 10 finish for the Hammers, rather than them keeping hold of their current top 5 position. Nevertheless, they have at least started well and are looking a lot better than last season.
Will this be enough to sway Winston Reid into signing the much improved wage increase on the table? As much as their new, exciting brand of football speaks volumes about West Ham, it will probably be the securing of this ambitious player’s signature for another four years that will signal the true success and direction that this club is going in. If he wants to play at the top level and decides that it will be at his present club, that will show everyone in the football world that West Ham are truly a club on the up.
Whatever the speculation, the truth is the player is still to decide on his future and is still to commit to West Ham, keeping his options open. If the style of play and results were holding him back then he has at least been given what he was looking for. It’s Reid’s decision to make now.