COMMENT By Will Butcher
West Ham need to bring Newcastle’s utility man Vurnon Anita to East London to ease their right-back crisis.
The 27-year-old’s future on Tyneside is in doubt with his contract set to expire in just over six month’s time.
Slaven Bilic’s side have struggled to fill the void left by injured right-back Sam Byram. Michail Antonio has failed to provide adequate cover at the back for the Hammers while Alvaro Arbeloa turns 34 in January.
Despite being a central midfielder by trade, Anita has been moulded into a right-back by Toon manager Rafa Benitez this season as Newcastle sit at the summit of the Championship table.
His ability and calmness on the ball, twinned with a combative desire to regain possession has seen him star in the Magpies’ title chase this season, despite a new contract yet to materialise.
Anita is also equipped with a quick turn of pace that allows him to match his left-wing opponents stride for stride, which will suit him well in the Premier League.
Although free to talk to non-English clubs over the possibility of a free transfer in less than a month, the Hammers could look to sign the three-time Holland international in a cut-price deal in January to provide cover and balance to their defence.
Signing a five-year deal in the summer of 2012 with Newcastle after moving from Ajax, Anita has made a total of 140 league and cup appearances during his time in the North East.
With DeAndre Yedlin also on the books at St. James’ Park, Benitez could be tempted to cash in on Newcastle’s number eight before his contract expires in June.
In other West Ham transfer news, Bilic could move for this bench-warming Chelsea ace as rumours continue to circulate over the future of two of his senior stars.