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Pellegrini closing in on Barcelona defender

New manager set to make first signing

International Champions Cup 2016 - Celtic v Barcelona Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Multiple reports indicate that new West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini is set to make his first signing of the summer in the form of Barcelona defender Marlon Santos.

West Ham ITK ExWHUemployee tweeted not so cryptically:

The 22 year-old defender is currently halfway through a two year loan move to Nice in France but according to Nice-Matin Barcelona have received an offer in the range of €18 million.

It has yet to be made official but his Wikipedia page has already been updated to say he plays for West Ham.

Santos has been surplus to requirements at Barcelona and at 22 he certainly has a promising future. He made 27 appearances for Nice last year and has caught the eye of fellow premier league club Leicester City.

He seems to be an excellent addition to a center back crew that’s been less than impressive and injury struck for the past few years. Angelo Ogbonna, Winston Reid, James Collins, and Jose Fonte have all had varying levels of success in a West Ham defense that has been shredded the past two years.

Declan Rice has been the lone bright spot in a defense that’s had more holes in it than a block of Swiss cheese. Reece Oxford will return from his loan in Germany and with the addition of Santos there is quite of bit of young blood to test out for the Hammers.

Santos previously played for Fluminense and was loaned to Barcelona for a season before signing permanently for €5 million this past summer. He has represented Brazil at the U20 level but has not made an appearance for the full national team.

International Champions Cup 2017 - Juventus v FC Barcelona Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Santos would surely challenge for first team minutes at West Ham but a lot will depend on the formation that Pellegrini decides to play. You have to imagine that Declan Rice will be close to cementing a permanent spot as a starter next season. Which would leave Winston Reid, Angelo Ogbonna, and Santos to battle out for one or two other spots at CB.

Reid has been a great servant to the club but has recently had a rash of injuries and poor form. Ogbonna bounced back this season after a very shaky beginning to the campaign. While putting together good performances in Ligue 1 Santos will have to adapt to Premier League life and the more physical style of play. At just under six feet tall he’ll be a sturdy body but a bit undersized for a Premier League center half.

Keep an eye out for what looks to be West Ham’s first signing of the Pellegrini era.