West Ham eye a free transfer for former £20m target – A move Moyes should rather avoid?


Why West Ham would be better off dropping their interest in Marcelo

According to The Sun, West Ham are eyeing up a free transfer for Brazilian centre-back Marcelo when his contract at Lyon expires next summer. 

The 33-year-old had been close to joining the Hammers for a reported £20million earlier in the year in January. A move fell through back then but the veteran could still complete a dream switch to the English capital at the end of the season. (h/t The Sun)


Marcelo started his professional career with Santos in Brazil before moving to Europe with Polish outfit Wisla Krakow, where he won the domestic title in his first season. The defender’s growing reputation in Poland paved the way for a move to PSV Eindhoven in 2010 and Marcelo quickly established himself as a regular starter for the Dutch giants.

The Brazilian made 139 appearances for Eindhoven over three seasons, winning the KNVB Cup in 2011-12. He subsequently had successful stints at Hannover 96 in the German Bundesliga and Besiktas in Turkey before moving to France with Lyon in the summer of 2017. Marcelo has been an undisputed starter for Lyon at the back over the past three seasons, clocking up 141 appearances. 

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Metz’s French forward Thierry Ambrose (R) fights for the ball with Lyon’s Brazilian defender Marcelo during the French L1 football match between Metz (FC Metz) and Lyon (OL) at Saint Symphorien stadium in Longeville-lès-Metz, eastern France, on December 06, 2020. (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

The 33-year-old was instrumental in Lyon’s march to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League last season and has carried his rich vein of form into the ongoing campaign as well. Marcelo has started 13 out of the club’s 14 league fixtures so far but his long-term future remains up in the air. 

West Ham should look at younger alternatives 

West Ham conceded 62 goals en route to their 16th-place finish in the Premier League last season. However, a loan deal for Watford’s Craig Dawson was all that the Hammers could manage in the summer to shore up their backline.

David Moyes deserves all the credit in the world for shoring up a backline that leaked goals far too often in the previous campaign. The East London outfit have enjoyed an impressive start to the season with 20 points accumulated from 12 games so far, conceding only 15 goals in the process. Indeed, that record represents a massive improvement for a side that somehow survived relegation last time around. 

Dawson is still awaiting his debut for the Hammers, with Moyes happy to stick with Angelo Ogbonna and Fabian Balbuena as his first-choice central defenders. Aaron Cresswell has rejuvenated his career as a left-sided centre-back in a back-three system, although Issa Diop has fallen out of favour this term. 

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Bayern Munich’s German forward Thomas Mueller (R) challenges Lyon’s Brazilian defender Marcelo during the UEFA Champions League semi-final football match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on August 19, 2020. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Regardless of that, the need for some long-term reinforcements at the back certainly can’t be ignored. Dawson is only seen as a temporary fix while Ogbonna (32), Cresswell (31) and Balbuena (30) aren’t getting any younger. 

To that end, however, Marcelo doesn’t fit the age profile of defenders West Ham should be looking to target in the coming windows. Indeed, the Brazilian is expected to be available on a free transfer next summer but he would be 34 by the time he potentially completes his move to East London. 

Despite being an experienced defender with Champions League pedigree and more than 500 club career appearances under his belt, Marcelo wouldn’t represent a long-term solution that West Ham so desperately need. With plenty of ageing defenders already at the club, bringing in someone at the twilight of his career would hardly make a whole lot of sense.

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LISBON, PORTUGAL – AUGUST 15: Moussa Dembele of Olympique Lyon celebrates with teammate Marcelo after scoring his team’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match between Manchester City and Lyon at Estadio Jose Alvalade on August 15, 2020, in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Franck Fife/Pool via Getty Images)


West Ham haven’t had a lot of luck with ageing recruits in the form of Javier Hernandez, Carlos Sanchez and Andriy Yarmolenko. Marcelo, though an established defender in Europe, falls in the same bracket and is pretty much past his prime at 33. 

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Moyes has remodelled the club’s transfer policy with the acquisition of talented youngsters like Benrahma, Bowen and Soucek. West Ham’s recent change in fortunes clearly prove that they should continue to bring in quality young players with room for development. Marcelo doesn’t fit the bill in that regard and he isn’t a player the club needs at the moment.