West Ham have been heavily linked with Fulham defender Dan Burn in recent weeks, but the club would perhaps be better off opting for someone with more Premier League experience.
The 22-year-old has himself played down the reports linking him with a January move to east London and insisted he is happy to remain at Fulham, which is perhaps better for all parties involved.
West Ham are thought to be seeking a replacement for the imminent departure of Winston Reid, who could be sold in January or let go for free in the summer if he continues to quibble over signing a new deal, but is Burn an adequate replacement?
The young Englishman has impressed at the back for the Cottagers this season despite their turbulent start to life in the Championship. He’s a commanding, towering centre-half who is strong in the tackle and excellent at clearing the ball out of defence.
In 14 league matches so far Burn has won 25 tackles with a success rate of 68%. He has made 24 interceptions, 159 clearances and 11 blocks. These stats are impressive and indicate that he has the potential to be a top defender, but they may also be a reflection of the standard of football in the lower leagues.
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The 6ft7in man has contributed to his side at the other end of the pitch, too, using his height to pose a major threat from indirect set-pieces. He has provided two goals for the club – against Doncaster in the Capital One Cup, before a stoppage time equaliser away to Rotherham.
He is a handful when in the opposition penalty area and is very good with his head, which also stands him in good stead when defending against the more direct opponents that he often comes up against in the Championship.
Burn has limited experience at Premier League level, though, making just nine appearances for Fulham in the disastrous season that saw them suffer relegation.
Furthermore, he is prone to play the ball long and is not comfortable with it at his feet, bringing it out of defence and passing it accurately to a team-mate – something that West Ham defenders have clearly been trying to implement this season.
His lack of pace is also a worry as England’s top flight is on another level and he could struggle to come to terms with the speed and intensity of the game. But, on the other hand his physicality and leadership attributes could compensate.
At a reported £4million he would be a big gamble by Allardyce, he is not near the level of Reid and would be required to significantly step up his game. Another more experienced, accomplished centre-back could be the better option for this ambitious West Ham side.
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