West Ham to ramp up pursuit of Saint-Etienne man after Jan snub

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West Ham United may now have reached the top-half of the Premier League table thanks to a marked improvement in form. But Slaven Bilic remains on the hunt for defensive reinforcements, with Saint-Etienne’s Kevin Malcuit still his number-one target.

The Irons had a bid of around £7m rejected for Les Verts’ right-back in January, but reports suggest that Bilic is willing and able to stump up £10m to get his man this summer.

While the Hammers have begun to click up front in the past month, their defence has remained ropey, and with Alvaro Arbeloa having struggled for form and fitness and Sam Byrom far from the finished article, there’s little doubt they need a fresh option at right-back.

Step forward Malcuit. The 25-year-old’s importance to his current club can be more or less summed up by their results in Ligue 1 without him. With the right-back installed, they’ve taken 35 points from 20 games. In the six matches where he’s been absent, they’ve taken just four points.

That’s no surprise when you consider the Chatenay-Malabry native’s talents. A skilful, energetic performer with a real creative streak, he’s been reliable in defence as well as chalking up four assists (and counting) this term.

Having spent over £70m since last summer, it’s fair to say that £10m is definitely within the Irons’ budget – and even if the Ligue 1 outfit ask for another improved offer, it looks likely that Bilic will get his man in time for next season.

For now though, the current crop of West Ham stars will be focused on Saturday’s trip to Watford.

It’s 9/5 for the Hammers to enjoy victory at Vicarage Road, a result which could see the 4/7 for a top-half finish continue to tumble.

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

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.