West Ham should swoop now for Nicolas N’Koulou to replace departing Reid

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Arsenal are circling and with contract talks seemingly going nowhere it looks as if Winston Reid’s time at the Boleyn Ground is coming to an end.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce today confirmed that he is expecting the New Zealand international to leave at the end of the campaign, when his current two-year deal comes to an end.

And while it may not be wise to sell him for an arbitrary amount that could be lost in a fall in league position between now and May, the Hammers must move now to buy a future replacement.

One man that the club have been linked with for a number of weeks now is Nicolas N’Koulou.

The centre-back has been a mainstay for Marseille since moving from Monaco four years ago, and certainly fits the Allardyce mould.

Big, strong and a powerful header of the ball, he looks the type of player the former Bolton boss would turn to, in order to bolster his defensive ranks.

But with interest around the player high, the Londoners must move in this window to bag their man.

The Cameroonian international has just left for the Africa Cup of Nations, and while not a World Cup standard of competitions, an impressive showing in the tournament could lead in a rise in asking price for the 24-year-old.

So making the approach now could assure they get their man for a decent price.

What’s more, the French club might be more susceptible to a cut price deals than other selling sides.

In 2012, L’OM spent a whopping £43m on young, unproven players and it back-fired; the club suffering a severe financial crisis in the months that followed.

Club president Vincent Labrune has overseen a cut in spending recently to counteract this, much to the annoyance of current manager Marco Bielsa, and with the club deficit potential reaching €40m by the end of the season, a solid bid for N’Koulou in January may tempt them to play ball.

All Odds and Markets are 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.