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West Ham eyeing freebie centre half to bolster survival bid

| 04.09.2012

Sam Allardyce is targeting a new centre back following his Andy Carroll coup and free agent, John Mensah, is now on the radar.

The Hammers are pretty much unfancied to be relegated at 7/2 following Carroll’s arrival – a signing which Allardyce dubbed would ‘guarantee’ his side top flight safety – and the addition of an experienced defender of Mensah’s pedigree will do nothing to hinder their survival chances.

With QPR, Wigan and Aston Villa all currently favoured to fall through the top-division trap door ahead of West Ham, signing a player of Mensah’s ilk could see their price drift even further.

The only question mark hanging over the Ghanaian international’s head is his woeful injury record but when he’s fit, his quality is obvious, as his time at Sunderland will attest.

He managed 34 appearances at the Stadium of Light across two season-long loan spells with his first stint emphasising how much of an asset he was to the Black Cats.

In the 17 appearances he made Sunderland kept five clean sheets and conceded just 19 goals, as opposed to the 39 goals shipped when he was absent from the back four.

He couldn’t keep the defence as stringent when he returned for the 2010/11 season, but he helped his side to six shut outs before returning to Lyon.

Injury prevented him from turning out for the French giants last term and his contract eventually expired without renewal.

At international level he hasn’t endured such problems. He has represented Ghana 73 times and captained them to the quarter-final stage of the 2006 World Cup.

Mensah will provide the east-London club with some much needed backline experience; him and James Collins providing balance alongside young, talented duo Winston Reid and James Tomkins.

With no transfer fee involved, Mensah would provide excellent cover for a team like West Ham, whose primary aim is to avoid the drop.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



James Middleton