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Don’t you worry Wollscheid: West Ham want Leverkusen defender

West Ham United, 9/4 to finish in the top 10 with Coral, have identified out of favour Bayer Leverkusen centre back Philipp Wollscheid as a potential player to bolster their defence, after inquiring about the Germany international’s availability.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce steered the east London outfit to an impressive 3-1 away victory across the capital at Crystal Palace, but his side have kept just one clean sheet in their last 14 Premier League outings.

Backed by club owners David Sullivan and David Gold to spend on strengthening the Upton Park squad this summer, Big Sam has made six permanent signings in this transfer window, plus the loan capture of Arsenal right back and England cap Carl Jenkinson.

No centre halves are among those West Ham arrivals, however, with the focus largely on freshening up midfield and substantial investment in new attacking options.

Wollscheid, 25, has fallen down the pecking order at Leverkusen, who have first-team players on their books that can play in the heart of defence. The loan signings of Schalke’s Greece international Kyriakos Papadopoulos and highly-rated Roma and Croatian youngster Tin Jedvaj mean new Bayer boss Roger Schmidt is willing to sell the 6ft 3in centre back.

The Hammers’ Premier League rivals Hull City and Southampton were interested in Wollscheid too, but have turned to alternative targets. Steve Bruce’s Tigers are closing in on Spurs skipper Michael Dawson, which could be part of a transfer chain that brings Argentina international Federico Fazio to White Hart Lane.

If Tottenham’s Dawson passes a medical at the Humberside outfit, it will give Hull a potential makeweight in their pursuit of Blackburn Rovers and Scotland striker Jordan Rhodes, with Burce willing to offer son Alex in a player-plus-cash deal. The Saints, meanwhile, are ready to rival Monaco and Arsenal for the signature of Belgium and Atletico Madrid defender Toby Alderweireld.

Earning two caps for Die Mannschaft in 2013, Wollscheid may need a move to earn an recall from World Cup-winning coach Joachim Low, even though the likes of Germany skipper Philipp Lahm and fellow centurion Per Mertesacker have retired from international football.

At West Ham, Wollscheid would compete with Winston Reid, James Tomkins, James Collins and utility player Cheikhou Kouyate, who has played the first two Premier League games of the season as a holding midfielder, for a starting spot. It’s 5/1 that the Hammers are relegated.