West Ham may have edge over Man City for valuable free agent

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Manchester City may be interested in acquiring free agent Royston Drenthe to strengthen their squad, but it is West Ham that look more likely to seal his signature.

Striker Carlton Cole believes that West Ham are capable of finishing in the top half in their first season back in the Premier League and this is available to punters at 11/4.

The bad news for Hammers fans is that only once since the second tier was renamed the Championship in 2004 has a team won promotion via the play-offs and then gone on to finish in the top ten in the next Premier League season.

This was West Ham in 2006 and it is largely gloomy reading for the London club considering the six attempts at following suit since.

Four play-off winners have been immediately relegated, while Hull only survived on the final day of the season by a single league place.

Swansea must represent the example West Ham need to follow when finishing 11th last season and a signing of the calibre of Drenthe would be a significant boost to their chances.

Everton’s loss percentage reduced substantially with Drenthe in their side last season from 33 per cent to just 14 per cent.

Meanwhile, his three league goals from 21 appearances, 11 of which came via the substitute’s bench, is a return that West Ham would gladly accept.

The consensus is that Manchester City would offer Drenthe higher wages than the Hammers, but first-team opportunities would appear scarce at the Etihad.

West Ham would still offer strong wages in excess of £50,000 a week and the Dutchman would almost walk directly into their starting line up.

However, interest is also prominent abroad, with a host of Italian clubs including Inter Milan monitoring the situation, alongside Turkish champions Galatasaray.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.