By Matt Farr
West Ham are set to win the race for Manchester City right-back Pablo Zabaleta this summer, according to a report.
Italian news outlet Tutto Mercato Web claim that the Hammers have agreed a three-year-deal with the 32-year-old, who is expected to quit Manchester City at the end of the current season.
Zabaleta is out of contract in the summer and is not likely to sign a new deal with the club, as manager Pep Guardiola pushes for younger defensive reinforcements.
West Ham are among a number of sides looking to snap him up once he becomes available, but it is the London club that have reportedly jumped to the front of the queue by striking an agreement.
The Hammers have shown a prolonged interest in the veteran defender, as they seek to make drastic changes to their faltering defensive line up.
Tutto Mercato Web report that the deal is all but done after Hammers expert Ex-WHU Employee, who is renowned for delivering accurate information about West Ham, revealed on Twitter on Friday that talks had begun over a deal for Zabaleta.
👍 Zabaleta is aware of our interest and initial discussions have begun https://t.co/MqdFFrIvKg
— ExWHUemployee (@ExWHUemployee) March 31, 2017
The Argentina international has been an ever-present figure in the first team at the Etihad since his move from Espanyol in 2008, but Guardiola no longer sees him as a long term asset due to his advancing years.
Having reportedly reached an agreement with the Premier League veteran, the deal is set to be rubber-stamped in June when his current deal expires.
There is, however, no official confirmation that any kind of deal has been reached between the two parties.
Football Insider verdict
If West Ham can snap up Pablo Zabaleta, it would be a fantastic piece of business by the club – and a rare one, particularly of late. The right-back position has proven to be one of West Ham’s most problematic areas this season, having failed to find a consistent solution. But Zabaleta is a player with vital experience and teeming with quality, which should bring an end to their right-back woes once and for all. He looks set to leave Manchester City this summer, but that is by no means any indication that he can no longer perform at the top level, and West Ham would reap the rewards of his services for at least the next three years.
In other West Ham transfer news, the Hammers are plotting a swoop for this £16million-rated Premier League winger.