Both West Ham and Southampton look set to battle it out for Hamburg winger Nicolai Muller as he heads into the final months of his contract. According to the German publication Bild (via Sport Witness), the Hamburg board have blocked any attempt to renew Muller's contract at the Bundesliga club.
Muller's contract ends in June, opening up the chance for the Premier League clubs to sign him on the cheap, although, this is all hinges on the German's health.
Last summer saw interests from the Premier League, as well as the Bundesliga, generated for Hamburg's Muller, for a reported fee in the region of €8-10m. Though the German club chose to bat away his suitors, instead hoping the 30-year-old would renew his contract.
However, a series of unfortunate events of Muller suffering a cruciate injury at the start of the season coalesced with financial difficulties and the prospect of impending relegation have forced the board to block any attempts of a contract renewal.
Both Southampton and West Ham will be encouraged to know that they won't have to splurge to get their man, though they'll have to exercise caution with Muller's health a cause for concern. The German has the possibility of still featuring this season, which could be the audition needed to prove that he can return to his old self.
For Hamburg, they'll be hoping that his return is imminent, as they'll need all hands on deck to stave off yet another bout with relegation. The German club currently sits 17th in the Bundesliga.