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West Ham on brink of signing World Cup finalist to help avoid relegation

Having been reduced to two League Cup appearances this season and being out of contract in the summer, it is no surprise to see Johnny Heitinga being touted for a move in the January transfer window.

And the speculation suggests that a deal is in place with West Ham, with £1.5m changing hands, which is effectively the cost of the remainder of the Dutchman’s contract.

West Ham’s decision to release Mladen Petric will free up the funds for the deal and given Heitinga’s experience and versatility in being able to play centre back, right back or at the base of the midfield, he looks a decent acquisition.

However, the price does look a little on the high side, especially as Tottenham paid a similar amount to acquire Lewis Holtby, who offered far more potential.

Even though Heitinga has proved surplus to Roberto Martinez’ requirements, it should be remembered that he started the 2010 World Cup final before being sent off and is still only aged 30.

Some extra central defenders would certainly help West Ham at present, as injuries to Winston Reid, James Collins and James Tomkins resulted in them ending the 3-3 draw with West Brom with four full-backs on the field.

The Hammers have conceded 13 goals in their last five Premier League games and have taken just two points from the last 18 available.

A striker is also a must for West Ham, as only three victories in the opening half of the season has left them stuck in the relegation zone.

West Ham’s odds are currently 9/4 to be relegated ahead of their London derby next away at Fulham, opposition they defeated 3-0 at Upton Park in November.

Another Hammers victory is priced at 2/1, but the smarter money may be on the 4/6 for over 2.5 goals at Craven Cottage.

Not only did the previous showdown between these two see a minimum of three goals scored, but so have their last four head-to-heads at Fulham.