In Focus: West Ham will be determined to beat Southampton to £1.5m Hendry deal

According to reports in the Dail Mail, West Ham United have joined Premier League rivals Southampton in the race to sign highly-rated Dundee defender Jack Hendry, who is valued at £1.5m by the Scottish Premiership club.

What’s the word, then?

Well, the Daily Mail says that the Irons, along with top flight rivals Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United will all watch the 22-year-old in action for his club when they face Hibernian on Wednesday night.

The Daily Mail also reported on December 26 that Saints watched the stylish defender in action against Celtic, who were expected to sign the centre-back this month.

However, no deal has materialised yet and there could be a scramble for Hendry’s signature in the remaining days of the January transfer window – especially if he impresses against Hibs.

How has Hendry done this season?

He has done very well.

The 22-year-old has been a regular in the Dundee backline – making 27 appearances in all competitions and scoring two goals – and he has been likened to Manchester City and England centre-back John Stones because of his style of play.

Would he be a good signing for West Ham?

He certainly could be, yes.

Hendry is highly-rated and looks to have a bright future ahead of him, and the Irons certainly need to start thinking about the future when it comes to their central defensive options.

With Jose Fonte and James Collins already well into their 30s and Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna celebrating the milestone birthday this year, David Moyes will be looking for a centre-back for the future and Hendry may well fit the bill.

Can they sign him?

It will be difficult given the competition for his signature, but to pick up a player that has been compared to Stones for £1.5m is an opportunity West Ham can’t afford to miss out on.

Even if he fails to make the grade it’s not as though he cost a huge amount, and in many ways he would be a risk-free addition to the team.

If West Ham don’t necessarily need him right now, they could propose a deal that would see Hendry loaned back to Dundee for the rest of the season – something that could give them an advantage over their Premier League rivals.