Could this West Ham star be set to leave for free in the summer?

Winston Reid has been locked in a contract deadlock with West Ham United since the end of last season and it seems like the highly rated defender could be stalling contract talks to leave the door open to a free transfer at the end of this season.

The east London club are keen to secure the services of the Kiwi defender; he is a key player in the heart of their defence and has firmly established himself as one of the top centre backs in the league since joining the Hammers back in the summer of 2010. Reid was a relative unknown before making a name for himself in the 2010 World Cup with a goal for his country and since coming to West Ham he has become something of a fan favourite.

Not only is he a very solid and reliable defender but he has also got himself on the scoresheet on a number of occasions, the most memorable for the Irons being in a derby against fierce rivals Millwall where he scored a 20-yard volley at The Boleyn to secure a 2-1 win for his side in February of 2012.

The rumour mill was in overdrive this summer with a year remaining on Reid’s contract. He has attracted the attentions of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in the past and it was thought at one point during the last transfer window that the Gunners were going to come in with an offer for the player, but that never materialised.

Reports from sources close to the club were suggesting that the only reason Reid was stalling on putting pen to paper on his new contract despite the wages being raised considerably was due to the style of play and the manager. It was understood that the player was left disheartened with the style of football the team were playing last season and lacked belief in the manager’s ability to take the club forwards from having been in a relegation dogfight for most of the campaign.

If that is the case, then at the moment the defender has nothing left to worry about as it seems that West Ham’s football has improved a lot in the first seven games of this season – as have the results which leave the Hammers sitting pretty in the top half of the table and not struggling to avoid being in the bottom three anymore.

The club certainly looks like it is on the up with an imminent move to the Olympic Stadium on the horizon and some decent players having been recruited over the summer, Reid finds himself in the company of some big name players yet still a key player in the West Ham line-up with a pretty big pay rise on the table. It seems that all is left to do is for him to sign the paperwork and put the whole uncertainty behind him.

The player, however, is still stalling and this has put not only Arsenal but Liverpool and Manchester United on high alert. Such attention is likely to be quite flattering for Reid and it could be quite tempting to join one of those clubs, with the move to Man Utd being quite an important one to them as well as the player as they currently have a severe lack of any quality in the centre back position.

Some newspaper reports have linked the player with a £15 million bid, but that would just be ludicrous, and despite some of the crazy fees being paid in football these days, there is no way a player with six months left on his current deal would leave for such a premium. It could well be that the player ends up running out his contract till the end of the season, leaving possible suitors open to snapping the defender up on a free transfer.

This would be a great blow to West Ham but a massive boost to anyone who snaps him up, considering that if he had signed a new deal at Upton Park his transfer fee would have potentially been quite high. It is starting to look more and more likely as the clock ticks on this matter that the player is on his way out of West Ham and will end up signing for one of the “big teams”- for free at that matter.