West Ham United are reportedly interested in signing Paddy McNair, although Middlesbrough have no intentions of letting go of their defender.

According to the Northern Echo, West Ham United have identified Middlesbrough defender Paddy McNair as a potential transfer target ahead of the January transfer window.

The 26-year-old came through the ranks at Manchester United. He had a stint at Sunderland between 2016 and 2018 before signing for Middlesbrough. Since arriving at the Riverside Stadium, McNair has been a regular fixture either in a defensive midfield role or at the heart of the defence, racking up 133 appearances. He has contributed with 11 goals and 14 assists.

This season, McNair has been in impressive form for the Teessiders, helping make them a push for a playoff spot, chipping in with three goals and a couple of assists from 19 games. The Northern Ireland international has made a big mark playing in the three-man backline under new manager Chris Wilder.

Now, it seems like his displays for Boro have sparked the interest of Premier League high-fliers West Ham United. The Hammers have been hit hard with injuries in the defensive department as Kurt Zouma has been sidelined for close to 12 weeks, while Angelo Ogbonna is unlikely to play again this season after suffering an ACL injury.

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It has left David Moyes with just Issa Diop and Craig Dawson as senior centre-back options, something that the manager is keen on addressing in January. It has led to West Ham being linked with several defenders such as Liverpool’s Nathaniel Phillips and Konstantinos Mavropanos of Arsenal, who is currently away on loan at VfB Stuttgart.

Now, McNair, too, has popped up on the radars of the east London giants. The 26-year-old has previously worked with Moyes; after all, the Scotsman signed the defender at Sunderland from Manchester United back in 2016. A versatile operator who can play at centre-back and defensive midfield with equal comfort, the Middlesbrough star would add some much-needed depth to the West Ham squad.

However, the Teessiders’ manager, Chris Wilder, has made it clear that the club would not offload McNair in the January transfer window. “Paddy is a really good player and is somebody we want to keep and build around because he’s got all the attributes,” the Middlesbrough boss said recently.

So, unless West Ham come up with an irresistible offer, it could prove to be difficult for them to pry McNair away from the EFL Championship side next month.

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