David Moyes could land a defender more productive than Craig Dawson by sealing a bargain swoop for Celtic-owned centre-back Jack Hendry this summer.
According to 90min, the Irons have joined the race for Hendry ahead of the next transfer window as interest continues to swell for his services.
Hendry is currently on loan with KV Oostende and is expected to join the Belgian Pro League outfit permanently at the end of the season, owing to a £2m purchase clause in his contract.
But Oostende may look to make a quick profit, as scouts from West Ham, Leicester City, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United are all keeping tabs on his situation, while Burnley saw a bid rejected in January for the centre-back now excepted to be rated at around £10m.
Several Premier League and Championship clubs, along with Bundesliga duo SV Werder Bremen and SC Freiburg, plus AZ Alkmaar, Brondby IF and KRC Genk have also been touted as potential destinations for the 25-year-old previously.
Hendry has not ruled out a return to Celtic, either, with reports by the Mirror over the weekend claiming the three-cap international could chase a second chance at Parkhead while he eyes a return to the Scotland national side.
The centre-half has not represented his country since 2018 but has seen his profile grow this season, having helped Oostende go from a side that narrowly avoided relegation last term to one with a chance of qualifying for the Champions League at the end of the campaign.
West Ham are expected to be in the market for a new central defender at the end of the season, with Moyes said to be on the lookout for at least one or two senior options who can supplement the current group assembled at the London Stadium.
Whether Hendry is in the running remains to be seen, but the Celtic-owned enforcer could represent a cheaper option than most and is currently performing at a more productive level than the Irons are seeing from Dawson – who Moyes has confirmed he wants to retain.
The Hammers were not afraid to submit big bids for defenders last summer, with Sky Sports claiming that a £30m offer was made for Burnley’s James Tarkowski. The Sun also suggested a £25m bid was on the cards for Olympique de Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car, who would have been presented with a £150,000-per-week contract.
Hendry could come at a fraction of those sums and has been lauded by Oostende boss Alexander Blessin, who noted in November: “He’s a great talker in defence. He makes the people he’s playing with better. You can see them listening to him.
“He’s been a tower of experience for us. Jack’s the most important member of the team this season and he’s one of the best defenders in the league. When you get signed by a club the size of Celtic at such a young age, then you obviously must have a lot of qualities.”
Dawson is likewise often lauded for his leadership for West Ham, yet has offered Moyes fewer successful tackles per game (0.5) in the Premier League this season than Hendry has averaged in the Pro League (1.2) to date, per SofaScore.
Hendry also averages more clearances (4.5) than Dawson (4.0), wins possession in the air more often (2.9, 76% to 2.6, 70%) and is yet to make an error that leads to a shot, while the Watford-loanee has committed two thus far.
Moyes may not install Hendry as a starting option next season but if the West Ham boss is looking for depth and does not want to spend excessively, winning the European-wide race may be a reasonable route to go.