Five budget centre-backs West Ham should consider this January

With Winston Reid’s future still in the balance, West Ham may be looking to strengthen the centre their defence this month. Although the centre-back position is a priority, there is little money available for big transfers this month.

Instead Allardyce believes that loan signings are the only possibility for recruitment this January due to the financial fair play regulations: “There is limited finance for us, as I have said before, on the financial fair play side of it.

“So anybody coming in on a permanent basis wouldn’t be possible for us, I don’t think, based on the budgets that we have got available.

“Maybe a loan player or two, but not a permanent deal.”

West Ham will be looking to grab a bargain in the winter window in order to provide further depth to a squad that has just three senior centre-backs. The addition of Canadian defender Doniel Henry this month is a signing for the future but Allardyce knows that he needs to sign a player that can immediately settle into the first team in order to provide competition for Winston Reid, James Tomkins and James Collins.

Here are FIVE budget centre-backs West Ham should sign this January…

Azubuike Egwuekwe

Scotland v Nigeria - International Friendly

Recent reports suggest that West Ham have taken the Nigerian international on trial with a view to signing the centre back permanently. The 25-year-old has 33 caps for his country but is yet to play club football outside of Nigeria.

The Warri Wolves defender has talent but the leap from Nigerian football to the Premier League could be a problem. A bid of around £1 million should be enough to sign the defender and the fee would not break the financial fair play constrictions that West Ham have to adhere to.

Efe Ambrose

Efe Ambrose

Another Nigerian defender, Efe Ambrose has become a regular starter at Celtic alongside the impressive Virgil van Dijk. He has 46 senior caps for his country and can play in both the centre-back and right-back positions of defence, something that will appeal to Allardyce.

He could be available for around £3 million which means West Ham may have to sell to buy. The  defender has been strongly linked with a switch to the Premier League for a number of transfer windows and could be the cheap but effective option that West Ham need.

Nicolas N’Koulou


The Marseille defender has enjoyed an excellent season so far with Marseille as the French club currently sit 2nd in the league. The 24-year-old’s contract runs out at the end of the season and there is no sign of the Cameroonian committing himself to a new deal.

Therefore, Allardyce may choose to wait until the summer to snap up the talented centre-back. N’Koulou is understood to be good friends with Alex Song so a potential deal for the defender could persuade Song to join West Ham in the long run as well.

Lewis Dunk

Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion - FA Cup Third Round

Dunk has enjoyed a fine season with Brighton so far, often being the only shining light in a defence that has struggled this season. The 22-year-old has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs and West Ham feel that he could be the ideal Winston Reid replacement if the new Zealander decides to leave.

A bid in the region of £5 million would be an attractive proposition for the Championship side but again, it’s a case of one out, one in at West Ham if they wanted to pay the fee and sign Dunk.

Dan Burn

Fulham v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet Football League Championship

Another young Championship defender that has impressed this term, Fulham centre-back Dan Burn has been attracting interest from the Premier League this window. Standing at 6’7, the defender would fit the bill for Allardyce, as Burn is a threat from set pieces as well as being a commanding figure in the heart of defence.

Similarly to Dunk, a bid of around £4 million could see the young Englishman leave Craven Cottage this month.