West Ham are preparing a move to bring Mainz’s Julian Baumgartlinger to Upton Park at the end of the season, with the east London club’s scouting efforts going up a gear according to reports.
The Austrian international is out of contract in the summer, and despite his current club’s best efforts looks poised to depart the Bundesliga side at the end of the season.
A central defender by trade, the 27-year-old is renowned as a tough-tackling ball winner and could step into the void should Sam Allardyce fail to seal a deal to make Alex Song’s loan move a permanent one.
Having joined the German strugglers at the start of the 2011/12 season, Baumgartlinger has gone on to be a mainstay in the centre of the park at the Coface Arena, making 94 appearances in his three seasons there.
Most recently he featured in Die Nullfunfer line-up that frustrated second place Wolfsburg at the weekend, holding the Wolves to a 1-1 draw , thanks in some part to the former Austria Wien man’s bossing of the midfield at the expense of Kevin De Bruyne.
That performance will have done nothing to put off the Hammers’ scouts, but it wasn’t the first time he would have impressed the Boleyn Ground outfit.
The 30-capped midfielder featured for Mainz when they handed West Ham a footballing lesson in a 4-1 pre-season victory, with Baumgartlinger putting in a solid shift.
His current side may look relatively safe in 11th place, but with just five points separating them and the relegation play-off position it could all turn sour.
A drop down to Bundesliga II for Mainz would surely play into West Ham’s hands with the lure of the Premier League sure to entice.
But before he can think about his club future, he has international responsibilities to see out, with Austria set for a very winnable Euro 2016 qualifier against Liechtenstein.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.