Allardyce identifies Reid replacement, West Ham 'step up interest' in international defender

Marseille Velodrome

West Ham are reportedly set to ramp up their interest in Marseille defender Nicolas N'Koulou.

With question marks over the future of defender Winston Reid, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce confirmed today that he can't see the New Zealand international staying at Upton Park.

"It's highly unlikely Winston is going to sign for us based on what people have said to me," said Allardyce. "There is no future for Winston Reid at West Ham at the moment as his contract finishes on 30 June. He hasn't said he is or isn't going to sign. You would err on the back that he isn't, by the feel and look of it, at this moment in time."

The Hammers must now decide whether they want to sell the 26-year-old centre back this month or lose him for nothing in the summer, but either way Allardyce must find a replacement.

Canadian international Doneil Henry has already arrived from Apollon Limassol, but Allardyce has already admitted that he's one for the future.

Signing a centre back of similar quality is a must, and new reports suggest that Allardyce is set to ramp up his interest in Marseille defender Nicolas N'Koulou.

The 24-year-old has been a mainstay of the Marseille side since his 2011 move from Monaco, and has recently been tracked by Arsenal having impressed in France.

The Cameroonian is a team mate of Alex Song at international level, and the Barcelona loanee could well tempt N'Koulou into a move to East London.

In order to afford a deal to sign N'Koulou permanently, West Ham may well need to sell Reid - something Hammers fans may not be keen on, but are realising may have to happen.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch