With all of the attention that was paid to the current team in the build-up to the very critical match against Swansea City over the weekend, a few tidbits of transfer rumors got left by the wayside as most West Ham United fans were far more concerned with the results on the pitch.
Now that Slaven Bilic has managed to calm the churning waters of the board for at least another week, some of the focus can return to potential summer transfer window targets that could be arriving. With players who are out of contract in the summer now available to sign contracts with new clubs, some of the names that are ground out of the rumor mill make actually come to pass.
Pablo Zabaleta agrees to join West Ham on a three-year deal when his Manchester City contract ends on June 30. [TMW] https://t.co/pw0iNVg8ae— City Watch (@City_Watch) April 5, 2017
One of the names that has been linked to West Ham since February has been Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta. Our friends over at the SBNation Manchester City blog Bitter and Blue have reported that a deal is pretty much set between Zabaleta and West Ham on a multiyear contract, according to Italian site Tuttomercatoweb.com.
With Sam Byram’s man of the match performance on the weekend, the deal to bring in Zabaleta seems a bit odd. While it is refreshing to see the board go after a player that the team might actually need, it is disheartening to see the team target another player that is out of contract and available on a “free” transfer for a critical position. While Zabaleta is a “big” name and a Manchester City legend, and at 32, his best days are clearly behind him. Injuries have limited him in the past few years and he only appeared in 22 total games for the Citizens in 2015-16 and 26 so far this year and seems to be supplanted by Bacary Sagna as the first choice right back for City.
This transfer appears more to be Álvaro Arbeloa or Jose Fonte than Arthur Masuaku or Winston Reid. Bringing in older players and expecting them to step into the first team and play like they did four or five years ago is exactly the kind of business that the board has done in the past few years, instead of looking for young talent in the lower leagues or in Europe that can grow into first choice players. It is yet more poor business from the board, although they will likely just blame the manager in vague tweets or in planted stories in the press.