West Ham United are expected to bring in defensive reinforcements during the summer, and Australia’s Trent Sainsbury could be a perfect signing.
France are one of the favourites to win the World Cup in Russia given their embarrassingly rich stock of talents, but minnows Australia gave them a hard time during their Group C opener on Saturday.
Following a goalless first half, Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann put Les Bleus ahead from the spot two minutes from the hour mark, only for the Socceroos to immediately hit back, also from the spot, via Aston Villa’s Mile Jedinak.
Manchester United star Paul Pogba sealed the victory for France 10 minutes from time, but Australia can hold their heads high after an impressive performance, and West Ham United should keep an eye on Trent Sainsbury in their search for defensive reinforcements.
If the club are to do more than struggle to secure Premier League safety for the third season running next term, new manager Manuel Pellegrini has to address the Hammers’ shortcomings at the back by securing quality recruitments during the summer.
West Ham shipped 68 league goals last term – the most, alongside relegated Stoke City – and, with the ageing James Collins released, a capable replacement for the defensive powerhouse is needed.
Sainsbury delivered a defensive masterclass against the French reminiscent of Collins in his prime, making two timely interceptions and seven clearances.
The Jiangsu Suning centre-back limited the influences of the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Nabil Fekir and Griezmann all game, and would no doubt be a hit in the Premier League with his combative style of defending.
West Ham need a defender like Sainsbury and, following his fine performance against France, a lot of scouts will surely be keeping an eye on him during the upcoming games against Peru and Denmark.
The former PEC Zwolle man spent the last two seasons on loan at Inter Milan and Grasshoppers, and could be playing in the Premier League next term if he continues to impress.
The London Stadium crowd loves a hardworking defender, and Sainsbury could be the perfect Collins replacement.
These Twitter reactions to his display highlight why West Ham should keep an eye on him in Russia:
Anyone seen any players at the World Cup so far you would take at Celtic?— A Grand Auld Team (@FritzAGrandAuld) June 16, 2018
One who caught my eye was Trent Sainsbury at the back for Australia. At a Chinese side but has been on loan to two European clubs recently.
Trent Sainsbury is also a very capable defender. Had a strange move to Inter and has had to resurrect his career. Not only a good physical defender but not bad with his feet too. Would be a cheap signing for any low prem clubs— LFCScout (@LFCScout1) June 16, 2018
Mark Van Bommel got Trent Sainsbury playing like a prime Nesta and Aaron Mooy like a prime Viera— (@ZizouHuweidi) June 16, 2018
Trent Sainsbury a joy to watch on a stage like this. Rolls Royce.— Daniel Garb (@DanielGarb) June 16, 2018