Allardyce weighing up moves for Alderweireld and Wollscheid

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The focus on adding firepower to things at Upton Park seems to have shifted in recent weeks, with sources linking West Ham to a number of more defensive minded players.

With Winston Reid coming under increasing interest from Arsenal, Sam Allardyce knows that he cannot afford to be left with just James Collins, James Tomkins, and at a push Cheikhou Kouyate as his only senior centre backs.

Reports are circulating that the Hammers have inquired about the possibility of taking Bayer Leverkusen’s Phillip Wollscheid on loan at the Boleyn in a move that could alleviate the pressure on their back-line should Reid depart.

The 25-year-old has twice featured for the German national team so clearly carries a certain air of class about him.

With Leverkusen unlikely to be willing to take a loss on the man they paid €11m for three years ago, a certain amount of spare funds may have to be found in the pockets of David Gold and David Sullivan in the East End.

Competition for the 6ft 4in centre back could be fierce with Southampton, Sunderland and Newcastle all reported to be in for his signature.

But he isn’t player forging a career on the continent linked with a move to the capital.

Atlético Madrid’s Toby Alderweireld is rumoured to be surplus to requirements at the Vicente Calderon and a move to the Premier League looks on the cards.

Southampton, again, are thought to be competing with West Ham to bring the Belgian to the English game, with Ronald Koeman’s previous experience with the defender possibly proving key.

But Allardyce won’t roll over and miss out on his targets. Although having picked up a league winner’s medal in each of the last five years of his career (four times at Ajax before moving to Spain), how he will feel about languishing in mid-table obscurity is yet to be seen.

Having picked up 37 international caps, and competed at the highest level he would surely slot into the claret and blue backline regardless of whether West Ham kept hold of their current number two.

Reid’s movements or lack of could determine the success of either move for the Hammers, and it could be a case of who blinks first.

Following their victory over Crystal Palace at the weekend, West Ham host Southampton next in the league, with successive victories priced up at 6/4.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.