West Ham ace Pablo Zabaleta’s admission that he is finding the pace and intensity of the Premier League difficult goes to show that Manuel Pellegrini should have strengthened his right-back department earlier this summer.
The Hammers do have Ryan Fredericks, but should he suffer a long-term injury, Pellegrini would then have to rely on the ageing Argentine or the totally unproven Ben Johnson.
In his heyday, Zabaleta was one of the very best. At 34 now, however, time seems to have caught up with him.
The former Manchester City ace told the club’s official website:
“It’s definitely the best league in the world and I’ve been enjoying my time in England, playing in this league, but honestly I’m not getting any younger and the pace and the intensity of the game are getting really high every year and it’s getting difficult.”
And Pellegrini would surely have noticed a dip in his performances both on the pitch and the training field.
So why did he not attempt to sign Djibril Sidibe?
The 18-capped France international ended up moving to Everton on a season-long loan (BBC Sport), but he really would have been ideal for West Ham.
The 27-year-old is quick, plays with an attacking mindset, and he would have provided really stringent competition for Fredericks.
It’s all just a case of what might have been, however.
There is nothing Pellegrini can do about his options at right-back now until January.
And the Chilean will just be hoping that he doesn’t live to regret not bringing Sidibe to West Ham.