He may not have enjoyed unbridled access to the West Ham first-team last term, but Winston Reid is regarded in several circles as one of the finest centre-halves plying his trade outside the top-four.
More than once has the New Zealand international been linked to the Premier League’s big guns, with Arsenal and Liverpool two of the names most commonly mentioned as prospective next employers.
After finishing second last season, the Reds can be backed at 6/1 to win a first top-tier title since its 1992 rebrand with the centre of defence the area of their team in greatest need of renovation – would Reid prove a strong enough adhesive to seal the cracks in their backline?
Despite turning out for a significantly weaker side, the former Midtjylland man’s stats measure up with those holding the fort at Anfield.
His 1.8 interceptions per outing bests the highest total managed amongst the four most used centre-halves in the Liverpool ranks.
Arsenal are another outfit who are set to invest in their rearguard as they prepare for another top-four tilt masquerading as a title challenge for a few months of next season.
Only Laurent Koscielny outdid the Irons stopper with regards to interceptions, but not one Gunner made more clearances on average than Reid.
Injury and those who shone during his enforced absence conspired to limit the 25-year-old to just 18 league starts in 2013/14, but he was present for seven of West Ham’s 14 seasonal shut outs.
Their clean sheet to Reid appearance ratio from the 2012/13 campaign provides greater clarity into the Kiwi’s ability to marshal a defence, with the Hammers preventing just one foe bagging when he was omitted.
A total of ten opponents were unable to sully the eastenders’ laundry when he was present that year.
The sacred art of clean-sheet keeping is something Liverpool in particular must brush up on if they are to consolidate their top-four standing for next season, let alone win the league, after performing successful stymie operations on a meagre ten adversaries.
Signing Reid – a player schooled by Sam Allardyce, the bagel-brandishing business’ Dumbledore – could go a long way to ensuring their porous defence is much less colander-like next season.