Allardyce looking far and wide in search for new defender

West Ham boss keen on Real Madrid and Leeds duo

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has stepped up his search for a central defender this week and has cast his eye outside of the Premier League.

The Hammers had their first two loan requests for top-flight defenders turned down by Manchester City and Arsenal after asking to borrow Nedum Onuoha and Sebastien Squillaci respectively, and Allardyce is now running the rule over Francisco Pavon and Andy O’Brien.

The Onuoha deal is thought to have collapsed as neither the player or the club were keen on the move, while Arsenal were reluctant to send Squillaci out on loan as it could prevent them selling the Frenchman in the January transfer window.

Former Real Madrid defender Pavon is currently a free agent, having been released by French side Arles-Avignon, following their relegation from Ligue 1.


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The 31-year-old came through the youth ranks in Madrid, and made 106 appearances for the Spanish side and was part of the team that won the Champions League in 2002.

In 2007, Allardyce came close to signing Pavon while he was in charge at Bolton, but the Spanish defender opted to remain in his homeland, and joined Real Zaragoza.

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Following three more years in Spain, Pavon joined Arles-Avignon in 2010, but could not prevent them finishing bottom of Ligue 1, with just 20 points from their 38 games.

Leeds defender O’Brien is another player on the Hammers’ radar, who also has an Allardyce connection.

The former Newcastle and Portsmouth man was signed by Allardyce in 2007 for Bolton and spent three years in Lancashire, making 74 appearances before joining Leeds on loan in 2010.

That loan deal was made permanent last January, but this season the 32-year-old has found opportunities hard to come by at Elland Road, featuring just five times this season for Simon Grayson’s side, with two of those appearances coming in the Carling Cup.

Meanwhile, there was some positive news on the injury front as Matt Taylor was back in full training this week.

It remains to be seen whether the midfielder will be included in the squad for this Saturday’s trip to Coventry, though.

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