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West Ham and Crystal Palace scrap for highly-rated Championship defender



West Ham United have been joined by Crystal Palace in the race to sign Ryan Fredericks, according to The London Evening Standard.

Fulham defender Fredericks is being targeted by the Premier League duo, who are both monitoring his contract situation.

The 25-year-old is set to become a free agent in the summer if he does not commit his future to Fulham and he is likely to wait to see if they win promotion before deciding on his next career step.

The Cottagers, who finished third in the Championship table, are set to face Aston Villa in the play-off final to battle for a place in the Premier League.

But if they fail to beat the Villains, West Ham and Crystal Palace are ready to make swoops.

The Hammers currently have Pablo Zabaleta as their first-choice right-back, but he is coming towards the end of his career, and back-up choice Sam Byram has suffered persistent injury problems.

Crystal Palace will rival the Irons for the quick right-back, who was named in the PFA and EFL Championship Teams of the Season.

The former Tottenham defender will not be short of suitors should Fulham fail to win promotion.

The Verdict

Fredericks needs to make his Premier League move this summer if Fulham lose in the play-off final against Aston Villa because he is at the stage of his career where he needs to make the step up.

West Ham would be an excellent destination for him as he would learn a lot from Zabaleta and rotate with him before taking the role on in a full-time capacity towards the end of next season.

Crystal Palace could also be a good move for the speedy full-back as Joel Ward and Martin Kelly are out-of-contract.

Fulham fans – Can you keep Fredericks? Let us know below…

NCTJ-qualified journalist - University of Birmingham undergraduate - King's College London postgraduate - Coventry City and West Ham United