Villa flop Makoun could be set for Premier League return with West Ham

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West Ham are set to battle Sunderland to bring former Aston Villa flop Jean Makoun back to the Premier League.

The Cameroonian could be available at a cut price of around £1m, as his contract with Rennes in Ligue 1 is due to expire in the summer.

And with a 66-capped midfielder available at such a small fee, the Hammers are prepared to pounce in January to bolster their midfield options, according to the Daily Mirror.

The east Londoners could be left short for a few weeks in the New Year with Alex Song and Cheikhou Kouyate set to leave for the Africa Cup of Nations, leaving Sam Allardyce’s men short in the middle of the park.

And while Makoun’s Cameroon have qualified for the tournament, the defensive midfielder retired from international football after the World Cup in Brazil.

Some fans will remember a less than fruitful first attempt to make it in the Premier League for Makoun, so he will have to prove the English fans wrong if he is to cut much ice this time round.

Having arrived at Villa Park for a fee of just over £6m from Lyon, there were high-hopes for the then 27-year-old.

But things did not go to plan, and he made just nine appearances in two seasons at the club, before Paul Lambert made it clear he was not in his plans.

A loan spell to Rennes in August 2012 ensued, and having shown he hadn’t lost his ability signed a two-year contract at the end of the season, after making 28 appearances for the Brittany club.

While he would not be a marquee signing at Upton Park, Makoun could certainly be needed in a busy period for the Hammers.

They bid to bounce back from their defeat to Everton last weekend, with a very winnable run of games against Newcastle, West Brom, Swansea, Sunderland and Leicester, and will be keen to press on over the festive period and secure a top half finish at the very least.

Odds of 17/20 suggest that should be within their reach, but at 14/1 to grab a top six spot, will have to work to trouble the European places.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.