West Ham are linked with Southampton’s Cuco Martina, but face Hull City for the Curacao international's services, according to ESPN. The Hammers have faced a hole at right back for much of the Premier League season, with Michail Antonio and Havard Nordtveit filling in for the injured Sam Byram and Alvaro Arbeloa.
Sam Byram played for the Premier League 2 side to face Norwich City on Monday, and could make his return to the first team side as soon as Saturday. Byram will be the only natural right back fit to play, so the Hammers could look to bring in another full back even if Byram proves his ability for first team minutes.
Martina can play either full back position, or in the central midfield. The 27-year-old was nearing a move to Everton in the summer, but an injury to Jeremy Pied held the move up.
Thanks to Squawka.com’s comparison matrix, Martina’s average defensive score is just below Byram’s, while far outranking either Nordtveit and Antonio. Martina does lead the group in defensive errors leading to efforts on goal, but has the highest success rate for challenges.
Martina provides attacking ability going forward, but has been criticized in the past for his defensive ability. Last season, Martina scored a phenomenal goal against Arsenal for Southampton’s 1-0 win in December.
Hull City are looking to bring Martina in for cover while Ahmed Elmohamady is playing with Egypt at the African Cup of Nations, and Moses Odubajo is out with a long-term injury. The Hammers were also linked with Elmohamady, but with the 29-year-old at the AFCON, he is unlikely to be a top priority for West Ham.
Tottenham’s Kieran Trippier appears to be the main target for the Hammers, but to sign the 26-year-old right back will be quite the challenge. The Spurs do not want to part with the full back until the summer at the earliest.