West Ham currently find themselves between a rock and a hard place regarding star centre-back Winston Reid.
The New Zealand skipper is yet to extend his current contract past the end of the season and according to Hammers owner David Sullivan, wants European football.
That could be with the Irons come the end of the campaign, who are currently in 6th place, but the impetus on Sam Allardyce’s part is to sell in January rather than risk losing Reid for free in the summer.
Either way, some replacements for the 26 year-old need to be considered and just in case Big Sam is surprisingly short on ideas, here’s FIVE courtesy of Football FanCast…
The West Ham boss was largely dismissive about reports linking the East Londoners with Fulham’s Dan Burn during last week’s press conference:
But measuring in at a whopping 6 foot 7, everything about the young centre-back screams Sam Allardyce.
Not to suggest height is the only thing Big Sam looks for in a transfer target and the technical side of Burn’s game still requires some work. But the 22 year-old’s an unstoppable force in the air and at his best when sticking to the basics – headers, tackles, clearances – which fits perfectly into the defensive mantra West Ham have adopted since 2011.
Here’s a look at his stats over the last few campaigns:
Some sources have mooted a £4million bid in the New Year, but Cottagers gaffer Kit Symons has made his feelings abundantly clear, recently telling reporters; “I want to keep Dan. He’s a big part of how we play and he’s been excellent since he’s come in – he’s one of our leaders.”
Curtis Davies has been in consistently exemplary form since Hull City returned to the Premier League in summer 2013. Last season, he captained the Tigers to within minutes of winning the FA Cup against Arsenal and this year Whoscored.com rate him as the best centre-back in the Premier League, alongside partner Michael Dawson:
The 6 foot 2 defender has spent the vast majority of his career bobbing between English football’s top two tiers and now 29 years of age, appears to be finally hitting his footballing peak. Here’s a look at Davies’ stats over the last two campaigns:
Currently, there’s not much noise suggesting the former West Brom, Aston Villa and Birmingham centre-back would be interested in a move away from the KC Stadium.
But there will be just a year left on Davies’ contract come the summer, which could give the Hammers a way in.
Much like Winston Reid, Ron Vlaar’s contract is up at the end of the season and he’s resultantly been linked to some top Premier League clubs:
— Metro Sport (@Metro_Sport) November 6, 2014
The Netherlands international’s domineering World Cup performances verged upon talismanic, helping Louis van Gaal’s side win the third-place playoff. Here are Vlaar’s highlights from Brazil 2014:
He’s never quite matched that form during 63 Premier League outings for the Villains, but the World Cup displays demonstrated Vlaar’s potential to play at a much higher level.
Furthermore, it appears a Villa Park departure is now inevitable, with boss Paul Lambert claiming Vlaar’s agent gave him a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ in regards to a new contract.
As previously mentioned however, West Ham will have to fend off some strong competition for the 6 foot 2 centre-back’s signature.
Certainly not someone you’d describe as a traditional Sam Allardyce centre-back, but recent reports claim the Hammers could be in for Celtic star Virgil van Dijk:
— Sports Mole Football (@SMFooty) October 20, 2014
The Dutch youngster’s developed at a sensational rate since joining the Scottish champions last summer, winning the Bhoys’ Player of the Year award last season, and it now seems inevitable that he’ll swap Celtic Park for the Premier League at some point in the near future.
Unlike West Ham’s current centre-back mould, the 23 year-old is famed for his front-front style, technical quality and potency from long range – take this free kick against Hibernian for example:
But the Hammers have undergone a mini-revolution under Allardyce this season and in that regard, the former Oranje U21 fits the bill perfectly.
Once again however, the £7million-rated defender has attracted some major suitors over the last eighteen months, including Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United.
Most likely the priciest defender on this list, West Ham reportedly sent scouts to watch Austria centre-back Aleksandar Dragovic in action during the international break:
— Sean Whetstone (@westhamfootball) November 14, 2014
The 23 year-old is best famed from his time at FC Basel, where he won three consecutive Super League titles and continually earned rave reviews before joining Dynamo Kiev in summer 2013. Here’s a look at some of his highlights for Bebbi:
He followed that up with a Ukrainian Cup last year, but it’s believed the 6 foot 1 centre-back is growing increasingly concerned with the political and military unrest in Ukraine.
A winter move could resultantly be on the cards and the Hammers are known suitors. But they’ll have to act quickly to land Dragovic, with reports last week claiming Spartak Moscow have already tabled a £12million offer.
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