West Ham closing in on 23-year-old Argentine ace – A good defensive addition for Moyes?


Why Gonzalo Montiel would resolve West Ham’s right-back issues

According to widespread reports in Argentina (h/t Football.london), West Ham United are closing in on the signing of River Plate defender Gonzalo Montiel in the summer transfer window.

The 23-year-old Montiel is a product of the River Plate academy. He made his first-team debut back in 2016 and has gone on to feature 91 times for the club till date, scoring one goal and assisting seven more.

During his time with the first-team, Montiel has won the Copa Libertadores, along with a Copa Argentina and two Recopa Sudamericana.

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 (Getty Images)

West Ham United, meanwhile, have endured a disappointing 2019/20 campaign. The Hammers are staring at the possibility of relegation. They are currently 16th in the Premier League table, level on points with 18th-placed Bournemouth.

This poor form saw West Ham sack Manuel Pellegrini earlier in the campaign and bring back David Moyes to guide the club to safety. However, things have failed to improve as they have picked up just one win in their last nine league matches.

West Ham are in need of a right-back

Irrespective of their league status next season, it is clear that West Ham are in need of strengthening the squad, with the right-back slot being one particular area which the club should reinforce.

The Hammers have veteran Pablo Zabaleta and Ryan Fredericks as the options at right-back currently. Then there is also academy prospect Jeremy Ngakia, who broke into the first-team this term.

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

However, Zabaleta’s contract will expire at the end of the season, post which he will be leaving the club. Fredericks, on the other hand, hasn’t been able to make the desired impact since signing for the club from Fulham in 2018. In the ongoing campaign, he has started 19 Premier League matches, assisting two goals.

And Ngakia, while showcasing potential, is far too inexperienced to be relied upon, week in week out. Hence, bringing in a right-back would be the right decision for West Ham. And in that regard, Montiel would be a viable option for the East Londoners.

The 23-year-old has been on a steady rise at River Plate since breaking into the team four years ago. In the ongoing campaign, Montiel has played 20 times across all competitions, assisting three goals in the process.

On the back of his impressive performances for the club, Montiel also broke into the Argentine national team last year and has made four appearances so far.

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 (Getty Images)

Montiel’s career graph has followed an upward trend in recent years and given the lack of quality options at right-back for West Ham, he would add some much-needed depth to the squad. Furthermore, he is entering the final year of his contract with River Plate and will cost around £7m-£10m only, making him a bargain.

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With Pablo Zabaleta’s contract expiring, West Ham are in need of a new right-back to maintain squad depth. And Montiel, to that end, would be a handy addition for the club.

The 23-year-old has been impressive for River Plate and the Argentine national team so far. And with his contract expiring in a year, he will be available for a cut-price fee, making him an attractive prospect for the Hammers.