If national speculation is to be believed then West Ham are resigned to losing fans favourite Winston Reid in January.
The New Zealand international has just six months remaining on his contract so the owners may be forced to make a cut-price deal during the transfer window in order to avoid losing him on a free this summer. Everyone associated at the club will be sad to see him move on, but that mustn’t halt the progress currently being made both on and off the field. Here are four players that I believe could be used to plug the gap if the 26-yearold departs:
1) DAN BURN One name being heavily linked with a potential move to E13 is Fulham youngster Dan Burn, with rumours suggesting that a fee of £4million will be enough to secure a deal for the 22-yearold giant. At 6ft 7in, Burn is already a commanding figure and is probably best remembered for his stunning performance in last season’s 2-2 draw at Old Trafford. On that occasion, his 18 clearances were instrumental in helping the Cottagers to a point despite the hosts making a record 81 crosses.
However, the defender only boasts over 100 professional appearances to his name including nine in the Premier League. He would be one for the future, but would be more than capable of stepping into the starting line-up whenever James Tomkins or James Collins are absent. A lack of pace would make it a gamble but, considering the relatively low price tag, it could well be one worth taking.
2) FABIAN SCHAR Some might dismiss talks of a bid for the Swiss international as overly ambitious, but if Big Sam persuaded the likes of Alex Song and Enner Valencia to join the West Ham cause then there is no reason that the Hammers can’t aim to land the FC Basel star.
Schar is only 22 but already has experience of the Champions League and World Cup, acquiring widespread praise from across Europe. The defender is already reportedly on the radar of Arsenal but if Reid was to join Arsene Wenger’s squad then that could pave the way for Allardyce to make a swoop on the highly-rated youngster. With just six months remaining on his contract, Basel are likely to accept a cut-price deal. Alternatively, the club could look to broker a summer deal for free.
3) DANIEL AGGER Arguably a fantasy pick rather than a realistic target but the former Liverpool man could be an avenue worth pursuing. The entire football world was left flummoxed by the £3million move back to Denmark this summer, but the Brondby man has openly cited Brendan Rodgers as the sole reason for his decision to quit the Premier League.
Whilst it is no secret that he loves his boyhood club dearly, there is little doubt that the 29-year-old harbours hopes of another crack at the big leagues. East London might not be the most obvious destination for the Danish international but it would be far less surprising than his most recent move. Agger would be a huge coup for the club and a future at the Olympic Stadium could be used as a source of temptation. Is seeing Agger in a West Ham shirt likely? Probably not. But we can all dare to dream.
4) REECE BURKE Last month’s issue examined the possibility of Burke making the step up to a senior role and the academy star certainly boasts all the credentials to force his way into Allardyce’s plans. It might be a little premature for the 18-year-old to play a central role but big things are expected of the Newham-born youngster and he may well be called upon at various stages during the season. In an ideal world, though, his first team involvement will be limited to sporadic substitute appearances as he continues his development. In terms of playing a string of matches, Burke is definitely a last resort.