Why West Ham already have Winston Reid's replacement in their squad

West Ham United's Cheikhou Kouyate has been in superb form over recent games playing in the heart of their defence.

West Ham United's injury crisis has highlighted just how important Cheikhou Kouyate is at the Boleyn Ground.

Kouyate arrived at the London club last summer as a relatively unknown prospect, but he has wasted no time in making an impression and his standing continues to rise by the game.

Kouyate was signed as a midfield enforcer. Capable of being destructive, but also gifted in offensive scenarios, Sam Allardyce had spotted him as the perfect man to push the Hammers on to the next level.

He has performed that function brilliantly, too, strengthening their midfield to great effect, but it has been at centre-back where he has really shone.

With a clutch of players on the treatment table, Allardyce has been forced to field makeshift backlines against Manchester United and Southampton in recent matches, but Kouyate's displays have proved that he is unquestionably capable of performing a role in the heart of the defence.

Kouyate was the Hammers man of the match in their 1-1 draw with United at the weekend and was pivotal in helping them secure a clean-sheet against Southampton on Wednesday night.

  TacklesHeadersInterceptionsBlocksClearancesAppearancesMins Played
Cheikhou Kouyaté 2 3 6 2 10 1 90

The Senegalese international made two tackles, completed six interceptions, won three headers and managed to clear the ball 10 times in a complete defensive performance. 

It means that West Ham's need to sign a centre-back could be significantly reduced. Allardyce has been chasing a defender throughout the past few transfer windows, with the side preparing to cope without Winston Reid. 

Reid has been the Hammers' star defender over recent seasons but his contract expires in the summer, meaning there will be a void in the squad that needs to be filled. 

Kouyate is proving that he has the credentials to do just that, though, and it may be that he has just forged a new role for himself in the side over the past two games. 

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