Denis Kolinger can be West Ham’s ideal James Collins replacement

According to reports in The Sun, Brighton and Hove Albion are tracking £1m-rated Lokomotiva Zagreb centre-back Denis Kolinger, and their Premier League rivals West Ham United should look to hijack any deal.

What’s the word, then?

Denis Kolinger in action for Croatia

Well, The Sun says that the highly-rated has been an impressive performer in the Croatian top flight this season and is attracting interest from the Seagulls, as well as Championship sides Middlesbrough and Reading.

The Sun says that while the 24-year-old, who was born in Germany but qualifies for Croatia through his parents, has two years left on his contract with his current club, he could still leave for just £1m this summer as he looks to make the move to England.

Meanwhile, West Ham are certain to be looking for at least one – and potentially two – new central defenders during the close season, following Jose Fonte’s departure to China in February, James Collins’ contract expiring next month and Winston Reid continuing to be hampered by injury issues.

How has Kolinger done this season?

The 6ft 6in tall centre-back has been an impressive performer for Lokomotiva Zagreb, making 33 appearances in all competitions.

As well as his defensive abilities – he is a renowned tough tackler – he has also shown the presence and threat his height gives him in the opposition penalty area with four goals this term.

Would he be a good signing for West Ham?

He certainly would be – especially if they are planning to sign two centre-backs.

While the east London outfit may be willing to splash the cash on one central defender, they probably will want to save some of their budget for other parts of the tea rather than spending big on two of them.

Bringing Kolinger to the London Stadium for around £1m could prove to be a bargain in the long run, and he could be a cut-price replacement for Collins who is unlikely to be handed a new deal – much to the frustration of Irons fans on Twitter.