By Harvey Byrne
West Ham are readying a two-year deal for Manchester City right-back Pablo Zabaleta, according to a report.
ESPN have claimed on their website that the Hammers are confident of securing a deal for the 32-year-old right-back, whose contract is set to expire at the end of June.
The report details that the east London club will offer an initial two-year deal with the option of a further 12 months for the 58-time capped Argentina international.
It is also stated that West Ham are leading the race for Zabaleta and manager Slaven Bilic has identified the right-back position as a key priority this summer.
Now, Zabalete would join the Hammers with plenty of experience having starred in 230 Premier League matches for Manchester City since making the move from Espanyol in 2008.
He has helped the cash-rich side win two Premier League titles and he has even played in 20 top-flight matches for Pep Guardiola’s side this season.
However, it is believed the Spanish boss will now be looking for younger legs and the loss of Zabaleta for City could very much be to West Ham’s gain.
The Hammers have struggled in the right-back position this season with summer signings Alvaro Arbeloa and Havard Nordtveit failing to impress in the role, while Michail Antonio and Cheikhou Kouyate have looked out of place when being drafted into the full-back role.
Football Insider verdict:
It is clear that West Ham need a new right-back, but the signing of another player nearing the end of their careers may not be the wisest additions. The east London club have already seen this season’s signings Alvaro Arbeloa, Jose Fonte and Robert Snodgrass struggle at the club despite their Premier League experience and it could be the same for Zabaleta. The Argentine was once considered one of the best full-backs in England, but those days are well behind him and this could be another deal West Ham look back. It is also likely that Zabeleta will demand high wages after his years at Manchester City and despite joining on a free he may certainly be a costly gamble.
In other West Ham transfer news, the Hammers have made contact with this free agent.