By Harry Sykes

West Ham have opened talks to sign Manchester City icon Pablo Zabaleta, according to a club insider.

Blogger and Hammers expert Ex-WHU Employee took to Twitter on Friday night to give some insight into the club’s pursuit of the right-back.

Reports emerged in Italy on Thursday that West Ham were ready to steal a match on their rivals by signing Zabaleta.

Ex-WHU employee, who is renowned for delivering accurate information about West Ham, including transfer, contract and team news, explained on his personal Twitter account that Zabaleta “is aware of our interest and initial discussions have begun”.

Zabaleta is out of contract at City at the end of the season and talks over an extension have not got off the ground.

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But his place in the club’s history is secure following his huge impact since joining from Espanyol in 2008 for £7.4million.

Zabaleta has been an integral figure in the Manchester club’s transformation into one of Europe’s elite clubs over the last decade, winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and two League Cups.

Zabaleta has made 26 appearances under Pep Guardiola this season and, in total, has played 327 matches for City, scoring 11 goals and providing 27 assists.

The capture of such a proven Premier League performer would be a coup for West Ham, who have had great difficulties finding a reliable right-back in the last two seasons.

Slaven Bilic has been forced to turn to stop-gaps including midfield anchorman Cheikhou Kouyate and talismanic attacker Michail Antonio.

In other West Ham transfer news, Karren Brady has showered Tottenham with praise for this deal.

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