Everton defender Johnny Heitinga will likely join Newcastle United, frustrating West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, who had set his sights on the Dutch international, reports Mirror Football's Darren Lewis.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew made his interest known Monday night, and with the opportunity of joining a team fighting for a place in Europe, Heitinga is set to head to St James’ Park and snub the relegation-threatened Hammers, per Lewis.
Heitinga is out of contract at the end of the season, and it is thought he discussed a deal with West Ham, as reported by Mirror Football’s David Anderson, in a bid to bolster his chances of making the Netherlands team for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
However, Newcastle's interest has turned the defender's head.
Gerrit van Leeuwen of Sky Sports reports Heitinga rejected West Ham because he did not feel it represented a good career move.
Heitinga, through a statement released by his agents Sport Promotion, said:
At my age it's important to make the right decisions.
Then it's not all about the money, as that wasn't a problem at West Ham United. You have to be fully convinced that you will make the right step and I didn't have that.
Therefore I have cancelled (the move to) West Ham United and we will now wait for the interest of other clubs.
The interest is there already, so I am confident I will find another club before January 31st. That's the date the transfer window will close.
High-flying Everton haven’t required Heitinga’s services this season, with the defender not playing a single minute of Premier League football under Robert Martinez.
Allardyce was hoping that the Dutchman could fill the void at the back after seeing a string of injuries plague his defence. The Hammers have kept eight clean sheets, the joint second highest along with Tottenham Hotspur and Everton, as per ESPN, but in December alone conceded 15 goals in the league.
With James Tomkins and fellow centre-back James Collins both out, Heitinga would have provided the cover and the experience to help steer West Ham out of the relegation zone.
Heitinga's rejection of the Hammers will come as a boost for Newcastle, which are looking to replace the injured Fabricio Coloccini, who could be out for six weeks after picking up a knee injury in the club's 1-0 defeat to West Brom, as reported by BBC Sport.
After right-back Mathieu Debuchy was red-carded in the match, Pardew faces a defensive crisis with the Frenchman set to be suspended for three games, forcing Newcastle into the transfer market.