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Sam Allardyce: West Ham goalkeeping jersey is up for grabs

PUBLISHED: 08:30 26 December 2013 | UPDATED: 08:30 26 December 2013

Jussi Jaaskelainen of West Ham. Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Jussi Jaaskelainen of West Ham. Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

2013 Getty Images

Veteran goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen cannot hold off Spanish rival Adrian forever at West Ham, according to boss Sam Allardyce.

West Ham manager Allardyce believes he has unearthed a first-class gem in Adrian, signed from Real Betis in the summer.

Allardyce thinks the 26-year-old is vastly underrated simply because he moved on a free transfer.

Allardyce has long admired Finnish stopper Jaaskelainen’s abilities, since managing the 38-year-old at Bolton.

Former Bolton boss Allardyce brought the Finland keeper to Upton Park last summer, but conceded he had to identify his long-term successor.

“I would say the goalkeeping jersey is up for grabs, I wouldn’t say it’s either’s now,” said Allardyce.

“It was Jussi’s most of the season but Adrian’s slowly been introduced into the phrase of this fantastic football league we have in this country, by playing in some really big games in the Capital One Cup.

“We played Cardiff and Burnley, and Cheltenham was a hard game first just to get through that.

“Then the way he played against Tottenham, to perform like he did, he deserved an opportunity to go in again at Old Trafford.

“There’s not a lot between them in goalkeeping terms at the moment.

“The Juss man can’t go on forever, but he’s doing an unbelievable job by still playing at this level at his age.

“He’s fantastically fit and extremely dedicated, and that’s why he’s where he is today.

“If I had paid £10million for him everybody would be talking about him.

“But because I’ve done the job and got him for nowt everyone asks who he is.

“He played every game for Real Betis last year and they finished fifth in La Liga.”

Allardyce admitted the toughest part of trying to recruit a defender in the January transfer window will be convincing a rival club to accept a loan deal, not a permanent move.

He said: “We’re having to use George McCartney as a cover centre-half if

anything happens to James Tomkins or James Collins, so that area we’re looking at in January.

“The hard part for us, it’s a loan player we’re looking for.

“And at this early stage of the transfer window most clubs if they are letting a player go would prefer to sell them rather than loan them.

“But we’ll keep going and going and going until we find somebody.”

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