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The Pablo Zabaleta Verdict

BTH staffers weigh in with their thoughts on the likely summer transfer

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Pablo Zabaleta has been one of the most decorated players in a Manchester City kit, perhaps ever. Go ahead! Try to name another player in powder blue who has won two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups, and championed an FA Cup as well. The list of those who have accomplished more is quite short, I assure you. Unfortunately for the Argentinian international, he doesn’t seem to be in City’s immediate plans. Pep Guardiola has mostly utilized Zabaleta in a situational role, starting him just 11 times this season in the Prem. Though, he has called upon the veteran when he needed a big time performance, such as we witnessed in the Champions League.

Rumors have suggested Kyle Walker of Tottenham Hotspur as the right back, heir apparent. The young English international has fallen out of favor with Mauricio Pochettino, who has been opting to start Kieran Trippier these last few weeks. So how do Hammer fans feel by the prospect of this proven champion joining their ranks? We check in with the Brace The Hammer staff to find out.

Jack Kavanagh

Signing Pablo Zabaleta for the wages that are rumoured would be a mistake, £100,000 per week for a 33-year-old is more ridiculous than giving Andy Carroll a six year contract

I respect Zabaleta's central role in the very successful Manchester City teams of the 2010s, but those days seem to be over. It could benefit the West Ham squad to have a veteran with the Argentine's experience in the dressing room; someone who can inject the squad with a winning mentality - particularly our horrendous defence. I can't see Zabaleta letting his team lose 4-0 at home after keeping three consecutive clean sheets. Furthermore he is a durable player [at the moment] who could really add stability in the backline by playing over 30 games every season.

My issue with this transfer is that is smacks of the David Sullivan transfer philospohy of getting in big names on high wages to make the fans feel like progress is being made. For the reported wages, West Ham could invest in a couple of young defenders to really make improvements to the defence - we should be looking to raid the relegated clubs because there have been some promising performances from their players. Particularly Middlesborough, they have been defensively solid all year long.

I doubt this will happen, Zabaleta will probably be the only defender signed this season and the glaring centre back issue won't be addressed. Plus he's 33! This is a short-term solution to a much larger issue.

Geo Mackie

Originally I was against it, 33 years old and free, as well as big wages? No thanks. But the same stats can be using as a persuasion, an experienced right back who, arguably, was the best right back in the world during his best years at city, who will be free.

Priority is striker this season and with doubts over the keeper and some decent pair of hands on the market (I am not convinced we would be looking for one if Hart, Begovic & Pickford weren't on the move) so you can see the budget disappearing fast if we are true to the word and go for quality

Ginge has shown just what an experienced leader can give you on the pitch and Pep, while not automatically starting, has trust Zabaleta in big games while Mancini and Pelligrini had him as a key player, these managers are not fools.

But 100k a week is alarming. That's going through our wage ceiling and a dangerous game, hopefully it is a lot less with bonuses or the 40k a week as a signing on fee lump sum, keeping his wage in line with the club policy. We will need to break it soon, but am not sure Zabaleta is the man to be worthy of it. The top striker however, that's maybe a different story.

Chad Hoy

Zabaleta would be too expensive for his age, and if we could sign someone young and talented like Kevin Malcuit instead it'd be a win-win. Byram is good, but we still need depth at RB. Why sign someone who will retire in 3 seasons?

Trevor Criswell

I just don't see it being the inspirational singing that the team needs to move forward. It is a ‘treading water’ move that relegation threatened sides make to help ensure survival, not a signing by a team with European aspirations.

Andy Kostka

He's made 19 Premier League appearances this term for Manchester City, which is promising. Zabaleta could still have something to offer to West Ham, and his signing would be invaluable if Slaven Bilic really does not trust Sam Byram to start every game yet. Still, his wage is reported to be around the highest earners in the club, and I'm worried it could divide a locker room, like the Jose Fonte and Robert Snodgrass deals made Michail Antonio clammer for more money. At the end of the day, he fills a positional need, but I have flashbacks to the hopes I held for Alvaro Arbeloa, which didn't work out. I think chasing a younger right back, such as Kevin Malcuit, would be better for the long term goals of the club.

Pete Schlenker

I'm on my phone, so I don't know if I can type 70,000,000 words about how much I hate this signing.

Wallace Milner

Four years ago, it would have been a dream signing. Today it feels much less exciting. Zabaleta is still a decent right back, but he has been deteriorating for about three years. It's a shame to say, as he used to be one of the league's best, but at this point, Zabaleta would be a waste of money.

Jackson Schmidtke

I'm not wild about it. I think he'd be a great addition for leadership and learning. He's aging and on 100k a week I think that's a high price to pay for someone we get for two years at most. If we get him in like 60k I would be more excited about it.

Andrew Jones

I was originally for it, but he has declined more than I expected this season with City, where I don't want another old right back to contend with Byram for. He has much more than Arbeloa had in his tank, but I'm tepid on him joining us, which looks like it will happen.

Jonathan Liebling

There are tons of reasons to dislike this move, should it actually transpire, but the most frustrating of all is this signing would make the 32 year old the second highest wage earner in West Ham United history. Second only to the turncoat, Dimitri Payet. Think about that. We’re not signing some 24 year old talent who will have a lasting impact on the squad moving forward, but rather, a last stop in the long and already proven career of Pablo Zabaleta. He has nothing to prove and has no ties to the club. Alvaro Arbeloa all over again.