Full-back set to join line of Africans to win West Ham hearts

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West Ham are a club on the rise and their defence has been the coiled spring that’s exploded to send them spiralling from 18th to 11th in the last five games.

Everyone who’s ever watched or read a Premier League pundit before knows that standing still is the root of all failure, though, and West Ham are taking measures to ensure they don’t fall into that trap, especially with a 9/2-rated top half finish on the cards.

Guy Demel’s performances at right-back have been made of steel for the Hammers this season – he’s helped them keep 13 clean sheets in 20 Premier League starts – but with Joey O’Brien out of action with a dislocated shoulder, Sam Allardyce has looked for other options to back up Demel next season.

That’s led to links with Ghanaian, Samuel Inkoom, moving to east London this summer, although the Hammers face a fight for his signature with both Werder Bremen and Lyon also keen on acquiring the 24-year-old.

Inkoom’s capture would follow a well-worn strategy for West Ham, with several African full-backs capturing the hearts of their fans in past seasons.

Before Demel stole the show, Herita Ilunga and John Paintsil both provided defensive cover on the West Ham wing and Inkoom would arrive in a similar mould.

A stocky individual, Inkoom’s power shouldn’t harm his ability to adjust to the robust nature of the Premier League and his availability is down to falling out of favour at parent club Dnipro, where former Tottenham boss Juande Ramos is in charge.

Being frozen out in Russia has led to a loan move to Greek outfit Platanias, where he’s made six appearances, but it’s clear a permanent move is required in order for Inkoom to progress his career.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.