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West Ham Opinion: Hammers should sign Guillermo Maripan next summer

According to claims from Spanish source La Segunda, West Ham were interested in signing Deportivo Alaves centre-back Guillermo Maripan in the January transfer window but the Hammers were unsuccessful in their pursuit of the Chilean international.

West Ham submitted a €10million bid for the 24-year-old, which was rejected by Alaves but they are expected to come back hunting for the in-form centre-back once again in the summer. (h/t La Segunda)

A youth product of Chilean club Universidad Catolica, Maripan made his move to Alaves in 2017 and has made an instant impact in the La Liga. Maripan has contributed with 2 goals and 2 assists from 22 appearances this term, helping his team to 5th place in the La Liga standings.

West Ham, though, should probably hold more interest in his exploits on the other side of the pitch. Maripan has been an integral part of a Alaves backline that has shipped a miserly 31 goals in 28 La Liga games.

The 24-year-old Chilean has caught the eye with his consistently impressive performances at the heart of the defence, putting some of the top clubs across Europe on red alert.

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It has been a bit of a topsy-turvy tale for West Ham in the Premier League this season, with the Hammers struggling for consistency despite showing plenty of promise. Injuries have played a major role as well and Pellegrini needs to reshape his squad in the summer to avoid similar problems next season.

While overhauling the forward line and adding a central midfielder remains a priority for the Hammers in the summer, they should also look to add more depth to their defensive options. The future of Winston Reid is still a big question mark as the Kiwi hasn’t played all season due to an injury, while summer recruit Fabian Balbuena is yet to work his way back to fitness following an injury which stalled his progress after a bright start to the season.

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Issa Diop has proven himself to be an absolute gem of a signing but Angelo Ogbonna has struggled for consistency. The fact that West Ham have conceded 5 goals in their last two Premier League outings against strugglers Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town further epitomises the need to invest in defensive options.

To put things into perspective, Pellegrini should reignite his interest in Guillermo Maripan next summer in a bid to bolster his leaky backline. Standing at 6ft.4 inches with a towering frame, Maripan is more of an old-school centre-back who excels with his physicality and aerial ability. To add to that, he is also a good reader of the game, both in the air as well as off the ground, and he never hesitates to stick his foot out to make tackles and blocks. Known as a no-nonsense defender, Maripan is mostly spot on with his positioning and decision-making, often preferring to stay back and clear the ball to safety.

The 24-year-old averages 4.1 aerial duels, 2.1 tackles, 1.8 interceptions and 5.7 clearances per game in the La Liga this term, figures which speak volumes of his well-rounded abilities as a central defender. He is tall, strong and powerful, attributes which should help him to adapt to the Premier League in a short span of time.

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The Hammers need to mount a stronger challenge for a Europa League spot next season and the acquisition of Maripan can add the necessary depth and solidity to their defensive options to help them reach greater heights in the Premier League next season.

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