Arsenal and Manchester United fans are desperate for their teams to sign a commanding central defender that can shore up their unconvincing backlines, but have delusions of grandeur and need to start being far more realistic about the calibre of player their clubs can attract in the January transfer window.
The likes of Mats Hummels and Raphael Varane are simply not going to be available in the middle of the season, its time to look elsewhere for a proven, reliable centre-back with Premier League experience that can immediately improve their squad at a reasonable asking price.
Step forward Winston Reid, a player who has come on leaps and bounds over the last 18 months and has shown consistently at West Ham United that he offers a physical, commanding presence and the kind of natural leadership that just about every top club minus Chelsea and Manchester City continue to cry out for.
Reid for £3m is an absolute steal
The New Zealand international's contract stand-off with West Ham United has created the grounds for Arsenal, United or even Liverpool to secure the 26-year-old for just £3 million, which could represent a terrific piece of business in the inflated mid-season market.
Reid has dug his heels in and stubbornly refused to sign a new deal with the Hammers in the hope a top club will come calling, with the defender now free to talk terms with any interested parties over a Bosman summer switch as a result of that stance.
Arsenal in particular can't afford to wait until the end of the season to sign a centre-back though, so it's time to strike while the iron is hot and finally improve an area of their squad which continues to look embarrassingly weak.
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Arsenal favourites, but don't discount United
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has put himself under a pile of unnecessary pressure in January by failing to sign a capable replacement for Thomas Vermaelen last summer.
The Belgian's move to Barcelona made perfect sense, but Wenger's gamble to not land adequate cover has left the Gunners horribly exposed throughout the first half of the campaign.
Laurent Koscielny has been injured for long spells, Per Mertesacker continues to struggle for anything like his best form and Calum Chambers has been thrust into the first-team picture too quickly in truth.
Wenger could trust Reid to finally fill Vermaelen's void and bring the strength Arsenal's rearguard currently lack, on a £3m deal with a reported salary of around £60,000-a-week.
Reid's signature won't have Arsenal fans bouncing around behind a Sky Sports new reporter outside the Emirates in delirious scenes, but it may well prove the difference between finishing in the top four or missing out on Champions League football this season.
The latter is unthinkable for Wenger or indeed Louis van Gaal, who has trusted youngsters to play in defence all season long with mixed results. Why should either take a risk and pass on Reid this month? It's time to put the long-term push for Varane or Hummels on hold and go with a sure thing before the opportunity is gone for good.
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