Manuel Pellegrini has already set about overhauling West Ham’s leaky defence with the acquisition of Ryan Fredericks, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena and looks set to trade the five-man backline preferred by David Moyes for a more conventional four at the back.
However, the pursuit of another central defender still looks to be occupying Pellegrini. The rumoured chase of World Cup finalist Domagoj Vida has reportedly subsided to make way for a £10m swoop for 20-year-old Le Havre defender Harold Moukoudi.
After Declan Rice and Angelo Ogbonna impressed so much last season and the arrival of two new central defenders already this summer, Pellegrini’s intense pursuit in another player at the heart of the back four surely leaves one player most at risk – Winston Reid.
Ruled out of the opening weeks of the season with an injury suffered last term, Pellegrini’s new-look defence may well have already taken shape by the time the New Zealander returns.
Young blood Diop and Balbuena prove that the former Manchester City boss wants a more modern, mobile defensive unit, capable of offering an athletic foundation to a team that will look to press high up the pitch to win the ball.
Reid, for all his qualities – and he has been an exceptional servant – is unlikely to be able to provide that at this stage of his career, with his injury problems.
Pushing Reid further down the pecking order to accommodate Moukoudi would represent a risk from Pellegrini, no doubt about it.
Leaving Ogbonna as the only centre-half of any great experience and jettisoning a player who is popular with the fans is a gamble, but it is one that the former Real Madrid boss may feel he needs to take in order to freshen up his backline.
Moukoudi’s arrival could make Reid sixth choice and sidelined through injury. It wouldn’t look good for his chances of a return from there…