Why West Ham should reignite interest in Gustavo Cuellar
Back in May 2019, a report from Brazilian outlet Futebol Globo (h/t Daily Star) claimed that West Ham had had a £24million bid accepted for Colombian international midfielder Gustavo Cuellar, who was plying his trade with Flamengo back then.
However, the 28-year-old eventually ended up joining Saudi Arabian giants Al-Hilal in the summer of 2019.
A youth exponent of Colombian club Deportivo Cali, Gustavo Cuellar made his first-team debut in 2009 and went on to feature 139 times for his boyhood club in all competitions. He also spent time on loan at Club Deportivo Junior in the Colombian top-flight before completing a move to Brazilian outlet Flamengo in 2016.
Cuellar featured 167 times for Flamengo across all competitions over the course of a successful spell in Brazil and was a part of the squad that lifted the Copa Libertadores title in 2019. The defensive midfielder then signed for Al-Hilal last summer and has made a total of 37 appearances for the Saudi Arabian heavyweights.
A full international for Colombia since 2015, Cuellar has earned 7 caps for his nation so far and was a part of the squad at the 2019 Copa America in Brazil.
Cuellar would add more depth to West Ham’s midfield
West Ham completed a permanent deal for Tomas Soucek in the summer after the Czech Republic international enjoyed a successful loan spell in East London during the second half of last season.
The 25-year-old has flourished as an undisputed starter in David Moyes’ midfield alongside the highly-rated Declan Rice, with both players looking capable of providing long-term stability to the squad in that department.
The Hammers, though, are short of quality alternatives to reduce the workload on their first-choice central midfielders. The likes of Pedro Obiang, Edimilson Fernandes, Carlos Sanchez and Jack Wilshere have all departed the London Stadium in recent times, leaving Mark Noble and Robert Snodgrass as the only back-ups in that area of the squad.
However, with Noble and Snodgrass both nearing their twilight at 33, West Ham should ideally line up some fresh options in the market to replace the ageing duo. And making a renewed attempt to sign Gustavo Cuellar would certainly make a lot of sense in footballing terms.
The Colombian enforcer hasn’t played in Europe before but his glowing track record at the highest level in South America should prompt the Hammers to take a punt on him. Cuellar has plenty of experience under his belt and looks more than capable of competing with Rice and Soucek for a spot in West Ham’s midfield.
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West Ham have some serious squad depth concerns in central midfield and a potential deal for Gustavo Cuellar would go a long way towards offering Moyes some valuable cover in the middle. The Colombian still has several years remaining in his prime at 28 and would therefore be a handy addition to the Hammers’ ranks for the long run.