By Harry Sykes
Pablo Zabaleta is set to become West Ham’s first signing of the summer following showdown talks between manager Slaven Bilic and chairman David Sullivan on Monday, according to a report.
The Evening Standard claim that Zabaleta is due in London this week to put the finishing touches to a transfer after being released by Manchester City.
It is said that the Argentina international, 32, also has offers from Spain and Italy but the Hammers are hopeful of winning the race for his signature.
This comes after the The Sun reported that West Ham have tabled a two-year contract offer worth £10.4million in total over two years to the defensive talisman.
The London club’s wrap-up of the Zabaleta deal will follow an end-of-season review on Monday that will be conducted by co-owner Sullivan.
Top of the agenda is the injuries that have plagued the team this season, with Bilic and his staff’s training methods, injury prevention techniques and medical methods all under the microscope.
Recruitment will also be a main talking point as the club aim to strengthen in the summer transfer window and right some of the wrongs of their wretched signings of the main 2016 window.
Zabaleta has been targeted due to his experience and pedigree, while he will not command a transfer fee after running down his City contract.
He will go down in history as one of the greatest City signings of the modern era after joining from Espanyol in 2008 for £7.4million.
The Argentine has been an integral figure in the Manchester club’s transformation into one of Europe’s elite clubs, winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and two League Cups.
In total, he has played 333 matches for City, scoring 11 goals and providing 28 assists, and been a mainstay during the golden Abu Dhabi-owned era.
Football Insider verdict:
What a coup for West Ham the signing of Zabaleta would be. He might not be the rampaging force of old who was one of the leading right-backs in the world at his peak. But Zabaleta is a warrior, leader and proven Premier League performer who is still getting regular games under Pep Guardiola. The Argentina international can also be a hugely positive influence on youngster Sam Byram, who has showed signs in recent weeks that he has what it takes to be a top-flight player.
In other West Ham transfer news, Karren Brady has showered Tottenham with praise for this deal.