West Ham have lined up a couple of alternative targets despite preparing another move for Burnley defender James Tarkowski, according to reports.
Defence is a clear area for West Ham to reinforce in January after Angelo Ogbonna suffered an ACL injury recently. Without the Italian, David Moyes has a lack of depth to pick from. Given they are competing domestically and in Europe, they need to bolster the ranks.
They were already aware of this over the summer, when they tried to take Tarkowski from Burnley. The two-time England international is in the final year of his contract at Turf Moor. However, the Clarets still did not want to sell.
According to The Sun, though, West Ham are ready to test their resolve again. If Tarkowski does not renew his contract, January will be Burnley’s last chance to get a fee for him.
Therefore, West Ham are ready to put around £7m on the table. Even then, Burnley may not be willing to let go of the 29-year-old.
With that in mind, The Sun claim David Moyes has identified two Liverpool defenders as ideas for his list of plan B targets. It is claimed that West Ham could be interested in Nat Phillips or Ben Davies.
Phillips impressed when covering for Liverpool’s more senior centre-backs amid an injury crisis in the second half of last season. It was thought he would then move on for a regular role elsewhere. But he signed an improved contract instead.
Still, chances have been few and far between for the 24-year-old. Once again, he may have to consider his future in the New Year. The report claims he could be available for a bargain fee or a loan deal.
Meanwhile, Liverpool signed Davies to plug the gap in January 2021 after the injuries that ravaged their backline. However, he has never made an appearance for the club.
Over the summer, the former Preston North End man returned to the Championship for a loan spell with Sheffield United. But that stint could be interrupted if Liverpool get a better offer from West Ham, again either for a loan or permanent deal.
Reports have indicated that West Ham would not be afraid to look to the second tier for potential targets. Therefore, Davies may fit in with their plans if they can hijack his deal with Sheffield United.
Phillips and Davies are both under contract with Liverpool until 2025. However, they are behind Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez in the centre-back pecking order at Anfield.
West Ham face James Tarkowski wait
A report earlier this month revealed that West Ham will struggle to sign Tarkowski in January for two reasons.
First, they are facing competition from Newcastle. The Magpies now have huge financial power following their Saudi-backed takeover.
Regardless, the second factor is that Burnley would prefer to keep Tarkowski until the end of his contract.
They have even held some optimism of convincing him to stay by making him their best-paid player. But it seems he has other intentions and will be on his way out in 2022.
He would then be free to choose his next club, but would have to wait until the summer to do so. With West Ham needing a reinforcement now, it makes sense for them to be looking at other options.
Only time will tell what happens with their pursuit of Tarkowski further down the line.