Transfer news: West Ham close to completing deal for Everton defender Johnny Heitinga

'We've had the OK from Everton,' claims Hammers manager Allardyce

West Ham are closing in on the signing of Everton defender Johnny Heitinga, according to Hammers manager Sam Allardyce.

“We’ve had the OK from Everton and we’re talking to his agent at the moment so hopefully that will happen in the next day or so,” Allardyce told reporters before West Ham’s crucial relegation-zone clash with Fulham.

The Hammers currently lie 19th in the Premier League table, and with centre backs James Collins and James Tomkins out injured, Allardyce has moved quickly to bolster his side’s defence.

Dutch international Heitinga has found himself out of favour at Goodison Park under Roberto Martinez, with the new manager preferring to field Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz at the centre of his back four.

Heitinga, 30, was Everton’s Player of the Season in 2011-12 but has slid down the pecking order after a series of costly mistakes last season.

He will likely be keen for first-team football as he seeks to secure a place in Louis van Gaal’s squad for this summer’s World Cup – after being sent off in the final of the 2010 tournament.