West Ham or Southampton should make a statement by signing Karim Bellarabi in January

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West Ham United or Southampton should make a move for Karim Bellarabi in January.

Expectations at Southampton and West Ham United are rising. 

The Premier League duo went into this seasons harbouring ambitions of a top-half finish, but they have turned out to be two of the division's surprise packages. 

The struggles of regular top-four contenders and the form of the pair has launched them into European contention and both occupy spots in the Champions League qualification spaces as things stand.

It has been a remarkable start to the campaign by both sides and they will be determined to hold onto their lofty spots for as long as possible.

Consolidating their positions looks difficult but the January transfer window is imminent and it offers both teams the chance to add further strength to their squads. 

West Ham and Southampton are both likely to invest at the next available opportunity, to give themselves the best possible chance of claiming an unlikely finish and they could make a statement by their additions. 

The two had fine summer windows, which increased the quality of their squads, and a similarly positive recruitment drive in January could be the difference maker.

Moving to St. Mary's or the Boleyn Ground looks an attractive proposition to any potential new arrival at the moment and the pair could both take advantage of this to announce their intentions. 

One player whose arrival would make the rest of the Premier League's top-four hopefuls take notice would be that of Karim Bellarabi. 

The Bayer Leverkusen winger has been in fine form this season, but he is yet to sign a new contract with the German side and his future is very uncertain. 

The German international is available on a pre-contract in January and, therefore, Leverkusen may have to accept a cut-price deal or risk losing their prized asset on a free in the summer. 

Bellarabi has been linked with the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in recent times, but the Hammers and the Saints could sneak to the head of the queue by showing their interest.

The 24-year-old is a classy operator and would enhance the quality of either team. A natural dribbler, he has also netted seven times in all competitions this season.

Convincing Bellarabi to join may be a tough test, given the rising interest in acquiring his services, but if either side have serious aims of capitalising on their opportunity to break into the top-four then this is the standard of player they must aim to bring in. 

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