West Ham were allegedly scuppered by QPR owner Tony Fernandes in their transfer deadline day pursuit of centre-half Steven Caulker, but according to widespread reports they will reignite their interest if the R’s are relegated.
Their affection for the former Tottenham, Swansea and Cardiff stopper stems from the fact that New Zealand rearguard marshal Winston Reid will be leaving the club for free at the end of the season.
Not in action until Sunday, Sam Allardyce may well use his Saturday afternoon off to observe Caulker’s talents in person as his QPR side attempt to justify odds of 16/5 to beat Southampton next.
If the Irons boss is present, his opinion that the Super Hoops’ star defender is the ideal replacement for his Kiwi contract rebel is sure to be enhanced.
From a statistical perspective, their likeness is alarming.
Reid makes more tackles on average, but Caulker is supreme in the interceptions and clearances departments, while opponents beat him less frequently too.
Blocks made are identical, while the latter tends to play more long balls (which according to popular opinion, is a metric Big Sam regards of the utmost importance) though only just with an average of 2.5 compared to 2.3.
The crucial stat that tips the battle in the Englishman’s favour is his aerial prowess, averaging almost one more duel won per outing than his part-Dane contemporary.
Another important piece of information underlining Caulker’s ability is the direct correlation between his involvement and QPR’s success.
The 23-year-old has been omitted from just four matches this term and the managerless west Londoners have lost each of them.
Losing a player of Reid’s calibre for free would undoubtedly be devastating from a West Ham perspective, but if they can land Caulker, which the R’s 67/100-rated relegation seemingly hinges on, Boleyn Ground regulars won’t realise he’s gone.