The genius West Ham free agent swoop that could seriously scupper Liverpool and Tottenham transfer plans

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The Hammers have been linked with a move for Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo.

It was always going to be a gamble. By refusing to sell during the January transfer window, Fulham essentially took one look at Tosin Adarabioyo’s contract situation, sighed a heavy sigh, and shoved all of their plastic chips into the centre of a big felt table. Early reports would suggest that their Hail Mary has backfired a little.

According to Football Insider, the Cottagers have presented a number of prospective extensions to their talismanic defender, but the 26-year-old has, thus far, rejected all of them. The expectation is that negotiations will continue in this vein until, inevitably, Adarabioyo becomes a free agent in the summer. Suddenly, a player who would once have fetched a pretty penny will be permitted to leave for absolutely nothing.

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Of course, that is bad news for Fulham, but that faint noise you can hear in the distance is David Moyes squealing in delight from the other side of the capital. You see, Football Insider also state that West Ham are monitoring Adarabioyo’s situation closely, and are eager to provide him with a new home, if and when he leaves Craven Cottage.

They are not alone, though. It is understood that a number of Premier League clubs, including Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, are also keeping an eye on the centre-back, with view to potential charm offensives of their own. Meanwhile, on the continent, the likes of AS Monaco, AC Milan, and a smattering of other Serie A clubs watch on intently. In short, Adarabioyo, presuming he does indeed decide to leave Fulham in the coming months, will not be lacking in willing suitors.

But for all of the interest in him, this is a race that West Ham must be looking to win. Defensively speaking, the Hammers are not short on first team talent at the present moment in time. Kurt Zouma is trusted to such an extent that he sports the captain’s armband these days, while Konstantinos Mavrapanos and Nayef Aguerd are also perfectly decent options to partner the Frenchman. Even the veteran Angelo Ogbonna, now 35, is capable of putting in a shift.

That being said, the Italian will not be around forever, and with Thilo Kehrer out on a loan that could quite easily morph into a permanent departure, the notion of bringing in another high quality centre-back is one that makes sense - especially when they are available on a free transfer, and especially when they are as good as Adarabioyo.

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Because, in truth, the Fulham stalwart would arrive at West Ham with both the potential and the pedigree to seize a regular starting role for himself. Adarabioyo would not just be cover and competition, but a signing worthy of challenging his new teammates for frequent minutes. Presumably, that will be the pitch presented to him, and may even be the advantage that the Irons hold over the likes of Liverpool or Spurs.

If all goes to plan, West Ham could be in the running to pull off one of the bargain coups of the summer transfer window. And while it will be low down on Moyes’ list of priorities, their gain could very well be to the detriment of some of their more auspicious Premier League rivals.

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