Resolute Kjaer showed experience that could help Rice and Diop at West Ham

After losing Jose Fonte to China, James Collins through choice and Winston Reid through injury, West Ham needed central defensive reinforcements ahead of Manuel Pellegrini’s maiden season in charge.

Issa Diop’s club-record arrival to join the ranks alongside Declan Rice and Angelo Ogbonna was the ideal start but there is still the prospect that the former Manchester City manager will want more ahead of his first campaign.

There was not much to see in France’s exceptionally drab 0-0 stalemate against Denmark, which was arguably the worst game of the World Cup so far but guaranteed both sides’ progression, but one man may have caught Pellegrini’s eye.

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That man is Danish captain Simon Kjaer, whom the Hammers reportedly sniffed around previously under Slaven Bilic, who plies his trade at club level for Sevilla, who knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League last season.

In a game where defences were on top, Kjaer made an incredible ten clearances, also winning three headers en route to a clean sheet against a talented frontline including Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar and Ousmane Dembele.

Youngsters Diop and Rice will likely be at the heart of Pellegrini’s defensive plans but the experience of Kjaer could complete an enviable back three to form the bedrock of his east London revolution.

Longer term, he could allow Ogbonna to come back in and move Rice into midfield, where his technical quality can shine, which is just another potential benefit of landing Kjaer.