West Ham may turn their attention to Lazio’s Abdoulay Konko as they look to bolster their defence in the January transfer window, according to The Mirror.
The 30-year-old is out of favour with the Italian giants, who have recently appointed a new head coach – Stefano Pioli – and he is reportedly willing to offload Konko when the transfer window opens.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce is in the market for another defender as loan signing Carl Jenkinson has been out injured and is struggling to regain his fitness. While sought after Winston Reid could be heading for the Upton Park exit. The centre-half is demanding a pay rise to bring him in line with West Ham’s top earners, but it is understood contract talks have reached a stalemate.
Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United are all said to be keen on the New Zealand international and to avoid losing him for nothing in the summer – when his current contract expires – the Irons may cut their losses and let him go in January.
Konko, predominantly a right-back throughout his club career, would not be an ideal replacement for Reid – the club’s best and most reliable defender who has been a prominent figure in the heart of the side for the past few seasons.
He would, however, provide competition with Jenkinson in the full-back role, leaving Guy Demel free to return to his more comfortable position at centre-back. Although a more quality addition will surely have to be brought in, if not in January, then in the summer to cover the potential loss of Reid.
West Ham have also had their eye on VfB Stuttgart defender Antonio Rudiger. The Germany international has a host of top club’s tracking his progress and the Hammers, who had a bid rejected for him in the summer, have sent scout George Dixon over to watch him this season.
Rudiger, 21, would be a great acquisition and an adequate replacement for Reid in terms of quality, although with the calibre of club’s Allardyce must compete with to sign him it is unlikely he will choose to move to east London.
Co-chairman David Sullivan has revealed the Hammers do not have the money to bring in any players in January, either, which could scupper their chances of signing the highly rated centre-half. They must sell before they can buy due to Financial Fair Play regulations, so it would seem any business is dependent on the outcome of Reid’s situation.
Konko could probably be brought in on loan or for a very small fee, but as the Hammers are right on the limit of their wage cap they may miss out.
Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp is also interested in the defender.
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