Despite ending a run of six games without a victory with a 2-0 win over relegation rivals Cardiff on Saturday, and finishing the game without having conceded for the first time this year, West Ham’s defensive crisis continued to worsen.
Having been forced to play two full-backs in central defence at times this season due to a number of injuries, the Hammers ended the day yesterday with James Tomkins facing a suspension for a late sending off, while Guy Demel remained in hospital overnight after leaving the pitch on a stretcher following a head injury.
The right back is expected to make a full recovery, but given that his replacement – left back George McCartney – was the only defender named among West Ham’s seven subs yesterday, boss Sam Allardyce will know only too well that he is desperate for reinforcements at the back.
It appears that Big Sam is convinced that Manchester City’s Joleon Lescott is the man to solve his defensive headache, and that the money men at Upton Park will back their manager with the necessary funds to get the England defender.
Reports this morning claim that West Ham will match Lescott’s wages for the remainder of this season and offer him a three-year deal regardless of their position come May, an offer that will no doubt tempt a player whose contract runs out in the summer and who is yet to forge his way into Manuel Pellegrini’s plans.
With other Premier League clubs likely to register an interest, with Newcastle known to be long-term admirers, West Ham will be keen to tie up a deal quickly, particularly as the Hammers now lie one spot above the bottom three after their much-needed win in Wales.
Allardyce will therefore feel more confident convincing Lescott that not only can West Ham stay up, (they are now 21/10 fifth favs to go down) but that the defender will get enough football under his belt this season to ensure he makes England’s World Cup squad.
One sticking point could be City’s reluctance to let a reliable squad player go, but with Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis and Matija Nastasic now back fit, West Ham’s generous offer should tempt the title-contenders to release Lescott before the January transfer window closes.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.