By Will Butcher
West Ham are set to rival West Brom for Bristol City defender Aden Flint in the summer transfer window, according to a report.
The Sun claims both Premier League sides are interested in the 6ft 5in giant, who has starred at the back for the Robins in their fight against relegation to the third tier of English football.
Robins manager Lee Johnson was quoted as saying that the 27-year-old could leave Ashton gate in the summer, if the defender’s valuation is matched by any interested sides.
“I can’t give any assurances to be honest. We know what football’s like,” Johnson said, when asked about Flint’s future with Bristol City.
“This happens at Man Utd, Bristol City or Rochdale if a club comes up with a figure that’s big enough to matches the club’s valuation.
“If you feel that the player wants to go, then it’s again just part of football.
“You try and guard against that by giving your better players new contracts, like we did with Aden at the start of the season.”
Flint has made a huge 52 league and cup appearances for the Championship side this season, proving effective at both ends with five goals and two assists in the final third.
At the back, Flint has helped keep 11 clean sheets in a side that have suffered 21 losses in their 45 league games, as they now sit in 17th place and safe from the drop to League One.
It remains to be seen how much the Hammers or indeed West Brom would have to spend on the goalscoring defender, with more than three years still to run on his current Bristol City deal.
Football Insider verdict:
The Hammers do not need a centre-back, or must offload a current central defender if they are to bring in City stopper Flint. Slaven Bilic currently has Jose Fonte, James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid, while Reece Oxford remains out on loan with Championship outfit Reading. If Flint is signed in the summer, one of these must leave to make room for Flint, if not two. The Hammers must also move quickly if they are keen to sign Flint, with West Brom more suited to his style of play. Tony Pulis is renowned for his desire to include players with aerial prowess in his Baggies side.
In other West Ham transfer news, the Hammers had a £43million bid for this European hotshot rejected.