Continuing concerns over the downward-spiralling form of Thomas Vermaelen and a lack of purpose-built cover could see Arsenal follow up a long held interest in West Ham’s New Zealand international centre-half Winston Reid in the January transfer window.
Arsene Wenger’s men top the Premier League table, but their defence could still do with tightening up if punters on them at 5/1 in the outright betting are to profit, with a mere two clean sheets kept in their opening nine games.
Reid played 36 of the Irons’ 38 league games last term and he’s started all nine in the top flight in 2013/14.
The Metro understand Arsenal to have been trailing the 25-year-old for 18 months with chief scout Steve Rowley giving a move for the player his endorsement.
During that time the object of the Gunners’ glances has been virtually ever-present for the Irons, adapting to the Premier League with aplomb following their promotion and helping them to the tenth-best defensive record in the division.
This term he has featured in every minute of West Ham’s top-flight campaign, helping them to compile the joint-fourth stingiest defensive record.
The Auckland-born defenseman is inside the Premier League top six for both interceptions and clearances.
Squawka.com’s defensive actions statistics paint a picture of a stopper that is as adept at reading the game as he is at the more earthy sides of a centre-half’s trade.
In terms of total defensive action contribution only four players have made more combined interceptions, blocks and clearances according to the aforementioned resource.
Arsenal are to test the Hammers’ resolve with a £6m bid in January.
West Ham activated a two-year extension clause on Reid’s Boleyn Ground deal in January to stave off the risk of losing him when his contract expired last summer.
However, with that deal only lasting until 2015 they may decide to cash in on one of their most saleable assets soon rather than risk losing him for nothing further down the line.
The Gunners’ offer may seem derisory when compared to the £7m Chelsea paid Bolton for Gary Cahill, who had just six months left on his Reebok Stadium deal at the time.
Nonetheless neither of their current centre-back pairing cost more than £8.5m, despite Per Mertesacker being an experienced German international.