Although West Ham aren’t flying quite as high in the Premier League as they were just a few months ago, 2014/15 has nonetheless been a very successful season for Big Sam’s Hammers. The Upton Park faithful have seen their side become prolific in front of goal, try to introduce a more possession-based style of play, and despite recording only five clean sheets this season, Allardyce’s side have become rugged and resolute at the back.
The defensive side to West Ham’s success this season has largely been brought about by New Zealand international, Winston Reid. Alongside both James Tomkins and James Collins, West Ham’s no. 2 has been strong in the tackle and excellent at reading the game.
Such good form has therefore seen Reid draw attention from a whole manner of different admirers. As his contract is due to expire in the summer, Arsenal have reportedly become front runners to land the New Zealander’s signature, even though West Ham would be reluctant to let him leave in January.
In light of this news, Marseille’s Cameroonian centre-back, Nicolas N’Koulou, has emerged as a potential replacement for Winston Reid should the Hammers be forced into selling him. And while West Ham’s recent transfer policy has seemed spot-on recently, would N’Koulou serve as an adequate replacement for Reid, and how will Big Sam’s side adapt to life without their star defender?
While any deal linking Winston Reid to Arsenal is far from complete, the current feeling around Upton Park reveals an air of inevitability on him leaving the East End soon. Nicolas N’Koulou would represent a good deal for Sam Allardyce however, especially if the Hammers don’t have to break the bank to get him.
The 24-year-old Cameroonian, who is currently away on African Cup of Nations duty, has become known in Ligue 1 for his versatility. He can play anywhere across the back four, thriving in the heart of defence as well as at full-back. N’Koulou may not be the finished article, but if his proposed move to Upton Park manages to take place, the up-and-coming young centre-back would bring bags of experience with him, both domestically and on the international scene.
Although the Ligue 1 star would certainly offer a great deal for West Ham on the pitch, with his effective defensive style and aggressive tackling nature, the list of reasons to bring him to Upton Park doesn’t just end there. The Cameroonian international’s potential arrival in the East End could be also be part of the grand plan to get Alex Song tied down permanently at Upton Park
The two international teammates are thought to be friends off the pitch, and if Nicolas N’Koulou eventually signs for the Hammers and gets Song to follow suit, the disappointment of losing Winston Reid will be long forgotten.
If such a deal fails to take place however, and Nicolas N’Koulou shuns his potential new life in London, the West Ham board have apparently singled out a few other defensive names to sure up their side’s back-line. In the wake of Winston Reid’s likely departure, Palermo’s Ezequiel Munoz has reportedly been highlighted as another suitable replacement, joining 21-year-old Canadian defender Doneil Henry, who has already signed for West Ham this window.
Despite not wanting to lose one of their best players during such a good spell for the club, West Ham fans, for the most part, have now come to terms to losing Winston Reid due to his failure to sign a new contract.
While no team wants to see their best players leave just when things are going well, Marseille’s Nicolas N’Koulou could be the next best option for Big Sam in his quest to take the Hammers up the league table.