Winston Reid
Winston Reid is likely to leave West Ham United at the end of the season Getty Images

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce is right to prevent defender Winston Reid from joining Arsenal or Manchester United during the January transfer window, according to ex-midfielder Steve Lomas.

Reid is out of contract at the end of the season and Allardyce is confident the New Zealand international will leave Upton Park on a free at the end of the campaign, hinting many rival clubs may have already made illegal contact over a deal.

Reports suggest the 26 year old would be available for as little as £3m should the Hammers decide to part ways with Reid during the mid-season window, with both Arsenal and United interested in the centre-back.

The former Denmark youth international has been among West Ham's most consistent performers this season and with the club only able to garner a small fee for the player, they may surmise running down his contract and strengthening their Champions League bid might be a risk worth taking.

Lomas told Talksport: "Whenever I was there helping with the Under-21's Winston, he had all the attributes. But he wasn't really producing. Over the last few years, he's been arguably West Ham's best and most consistent player. I think he'll be a massive loss.

"What Sam is saying is they might as well try and keep him than sell him for £2m-£3m and if they go up two or three places up the league they'll get the same amount money from Winston staying, so why weaken your squad? There is no point.

"Agents will be talking with other clubs and they'll be something lined up and maybe Winston sees that as a bigger club. Unfortunately, from West Ham's point of view, you don't want to be losing your best players but it's just the way of it.

"Sam has taken the right view. He'd rather keep him and see where West Ham finish up than sell him for a cut price."

Based on last season's prize fund, West Ham could expect £17.3m should they finish in their current position of seventh but ending the season inside the Premier League top four – hopes that would be improved should Reid be retained – would see them awarded £21m.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has made signing a defender a priority during the January transfer window, with just six players to choose from in his back four.

Mathieu Debuchy and Laurent Koscielny have spent lengthy spells out injured this season, while Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs's fitness has been a cause for concern, leading to an uncertain start to the season for the north London club.