West Ham and Saints set for tug-of-war over Danish defender


Europa League entrants West Ham and Southampton have more in common than just a place in the qualifying stages of the competition; they both want to land Lille central defender Simon Kjaer.

According to various media outlets the Danish centre-back is up for sale at the Ligue 1 outfit, immediately rousing the interests of the Premier League duo.

Although Kjaer has regularly been identified as one of Lille’s most polished performers over his two seasons at the club, making 74 appearances, Les Dogues are reportedly willing to cash in for a fee in the region of £7.5m.

Having earned 48 Danish caps, the 26-year-old should be approaching the peak of his powers and would surely be a welcome addition at either club, but more especially it’s the Hammers’ need which appears greater.

Thanks to a steely combination of skipper Jose Fonte and one of Maya Yoshida or Toby Alderweireld at the heart of it, Southampton’s defence conceded the second fewest goals after Premier League champions Chelsea last season.

West Ham were porous in comparison, conceding 14 more goals than the south coast club, although did receive boosts by tying down first-choice pairing Winston Reid and James Tomkins on long-term deals.

Ronald Koeman is resigned to losing Atletico Madrid loan star Alderweireld to bigger fish this summer, so it’s no surprise to see the Dutchman making contingencies either.

Much may depend on how quickly the Irons can replace Sam Allardyce at the helm, although proposed talks with Unai Emery of Sevilla have seen a rush of support for the new 4/5 favourite.

With a coach of Emery’s distinction in place, the Hammers will be in a stronger position to tussle the Saints for the Dane.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.