Sources: West Ham plot January swoop to replace senior defender quitting next year
West Ham are plotting a January move for a new right-back to replace Pablo Zabaleta, Football Insider understands.
The 34-year-old has entered the final six months of his contract and won’t be offered an extension by the club.
A West Ham source has told Football Insider the club have set their sights on a new right-sided defender who can compete with first choice Ryan Fredericks for a starting spot.
However, Zabaleta is likely to stay on and see out his contract even if the new man arrives in the forthcoming window.
Zabaleta has made just two Premier League starts among seven appearances in all competitions for Manuel Pellegrini’s struggling side this season.
The low point was when he was captain in the 4-0 cup humiliation in September at the hands of Oxford United, who are 12th in League One.
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He also struggled when starting his last Premier league match, the 3-2 home defeat to Newcastle United on 2 November, when he was subbed after 72 minutes.
Zabaleta joined West Ham on a free in the summer of 2017 and signed a 12-month contract extension in May that keeps him at the club until the end of the season.
But Fredericks has now supplanted the veteran Argentine as the first choice right-back, starting 15 of their 17 league matches in this campaign.
Zabaleta has made 73 appearances for the Hammers on top of the 333 he accumulated an Man City while winning two league titles.
In other West Ham news, a big earner said to be “brilliant” in training is set for the January scrapheap.