Gonzalo Montiel of River Plate kicks the ball during the final of Copa Argentina 2019 between Central Cordoba and River Plate at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas on December 13, 2019 in Mendoza, Argentina. (Getty Images)
Gonzalo Montiel of River Plate kicks the ball during the final of Copa Argentina 2019 between Central Cordoba and River Plate at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas on December 13, 2019 in Mendoza, Argentina. (Getty Images)
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West Ham would do well to sign this 23-year-old in the summer for £10m and here’s why

Why West Ham should go all out to sign Gonzalo Montiel from River Plate

According to TyC Sports (h/t The Daily Star), West Ham United are interested in bringing River Plate right-back Gonzalo Montiel to the London Stadium. They have proposed an initial six-month loan deal with a £10m purchase option in the summer.

Gonzalo Montiel, 23, has impressed for River Plate in Argentine Primera División, assisting once in 12 appearances. He has made 64 appearances for River since breaking into the team in 2016. The full-back’s performances have caught West Ham’s attention, with David Moyes keen to strengthen the defence, the report (h/t The Daily Star) adds.

Gonzalo Montiel of River Plate drives the ball during a match between River Plate and San Lorenzo as part of Superliga 2019/20 at Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti on December 08, 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Getty Images)
Gonzalo Montiel of River Plate drives the ball during a match between River Plate and San Lorenzo as part of Superliga 2019/20 at Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti on December 08, 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Getty Images)

The Hammers have two right-backs in the squad — Pablo Zabaleta and Ryan Fredericks. The former turned 35 earlier this month and his contract at West Ham expires in the summer. If the Londoners don’t hand him an extension, they’ll be left with Fredericks as the only natural right-back in the squad.

Fredericks, meanwhile, has flattered to deceive at West Ham since joining from Fulham on a free transfer in the summer of 2018. And with Fredericks omitted from three of Moyes’ four matchday squads — most recently in the 4-1 defeat to Leicester City — there’s a clear need for the Hammers to reinforce the right-back position.

Thus, interest in Gonzalo Montiel does make sense. Montiel, who can also play in central defence, has averaged 2.1 tackles, 0.9 interceptions, 1.8 clearances and 1.5 successful aerial duels per game. He has only been dribbled past an average of 0.8 times per match. [Courtesy: WhoScored]

As far as Zabaleta is concerned, he has averaged 1.9 tackles, 1.4interceptions, 1.7 clearances and 0.8 successful aerial duels per game. He has been dribbled past an average of 0.7 times per game. [Courtesy: WhoScored]

West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta smiles during a training session. (Getty Images)
West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta smiles during a training session. (Getty Images)

There’s little to differentiate between Montiel and Zabaleta but the River Plate defender would be a good option to add strength to the right-back position.

Verdict

Zabaleta has done a decent job this season but he is not a long-term solution at right-back for West Ham. He is 35  and is seemingly reaching the end of his career. On the contrary, Montiel is 23 and irrespective of the statistics, this is one good reason why the Hammers must consider signing Montiel.

Thus, it would be wise to land the Argentinean from River Plate before the transfer window slams shut.

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