West Ham are lining up a move for Genk’s Kara Mbodj in the summer having failed in an attempt to land the player during the January transfer window, reports The Mirror.
It is thought that the Senegal international is being lined up as a replacement for Winston Reid who has been tipped to join Arsenal in the summer when he will be a free agent.
The 25-year-old could, though, provide cover in a number of positions in the West Ham side as he’s very versatile which may be what has attracted Sam Allardyce into making a move.
The huge powerhouse can play at either centre-back or in defensive midfield which bodes well for the Hammers as he could also be considered as a replacement for Alex Song should they fail to tie him down to a permanent deal in the summer.
He’s strong, quick and seemingly suited to the English game with a great physicality and tenacity to his play.
Mbodj has 15 caps for Senegal and primarily plays as a defender for both club and country although he’s more than capable of fulfilling a midfield role, however it is thought Allardyce wanted him in January to help ease the current defensive crisis at the club.
Should the Hammers land the Genk man in the summer he will become the third Senegalese to sign for the east London outfit in the last 12 months as the African contingent continues to grow.
Diafra Sakho and Cheikhou Kouyate are both international teammates of Mbodj and would be able to ensure he settles in quickly which would help him hit the ground running in the Premier League.
The fact that those two have adapted so well to the English game and had such an impact in their first campaign for the club suggests that Mbodj will prove a success too.
Although the player is not a household name the Irons’ scouting network has excelled when sourcing talent from the Belgian league, evidenced by the arrival of Kouyate from Anderlecht in the summer.
Genk is currently managed by Alex McLeish, who West Ham chiefs David Sullivan and David Gold used to employ at Birmingham City, so they may be able to strike up a deal for the player in the summer despite failing with a bid on transfer deadline day.
The deal may have gone through had Mbodj returned from AFCON duty earlier, but he wasn’t due back until Tuesday which is thought to have scuppered the move.
McLeish rates the defender highly and believes he will continue to improve having been impressed by his performances at centre-back this season. He’ll be well aware that he faces a battle to keep the star, though, should another approach from the Hammers come in the summer.