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Experienced Israeli defender recently left crisis club Portsmouth and could be set for a return to Upton Park to reunite with his former manager in the Premier League

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

West Ham are targeting Tal Ben Haim after he severed his links with crisis club Portsmouth, Goal.com can reveal.

Sam Allardyce wants to make use of the Israeli defender's availability on a free transfer and bring him back to Upton Park.

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Ben Haim spent six months on loan at the Hammers during the 2010-11 season, when the club were relegated from the Premier League during Avram Grant's troubled reign.

The 30-year-old former Chelsea and Manchester City cente-back has seen his stock fall since ending his three-year association with Allardyce in 2007, when he left Bolton Wanderers to move to Chelsea.

But the West Ham manager believes Ben Haim can still be a force in the top tier and is confident he can get the best out of a player who moved to England from his native Israel in 2004.

Ben Haim, who can play at either in the centre of defence or fill in at left-back, is without a club after reaching a compromise deal with Portsmouth last week over his wages.

He had been on a salary of £36,000-a-week and his departure is regarded as a major boost to the financially-troubled south coast club.

Allardyce has already brought one former Hammers defender back to the club during the transfer window having signed James Collins from Aston Villa. He has also completed deals for Mohamed Diame, Alou Diarra, Modibo Maiga and Jussi Jaaskelainen.

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