West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta has revealed that this will be his last season in the Premier League, The Mirror reports. Speaking in a press conference in China, Zabaleta all but confirmed that he would be leaving West Ham in summer 2020.
However, he has not ruled out finding a new club abroad. Zabaleta could continue playing but it will not be at West Ham after he revealed his plan to quit next summer.
Pablo Zabaleta on his future
In Nanjing, Manuel Pellegrini and Pablo Zabaleta shared the press conference duties ahead of West Ham’s match with Manchester City. Zabaleta was questioned about his future after signing a one-year extension until summer 2020.
As reported by The Mirror, he said: “It will definitely be my last season in England. This is something I know. I will try to enjoy it as much as I can. I’ve been in the Premier League a long time and I know I will miss it when the moment arrives that I leave.”
What can West Ham do when Pablo Zabaleta leaves?
Zabaleta is now 34 so it makes sense for him to leave next summer. Towards the end of last season, there were signs of fatigue; he is not quite the energetic player he once was.
Ryan Fredericks has now overtaken Zabaleta in the pecking order so the veteran Argentine will only play a reserve role next term. But this gives West Ham an ideal one-year window to blood Ben Johnson into the side.
Johnson has been taken on the pre-season tour to China, offering cover at right-back and left-back. But the 19-year-old could be sent out on loan for one year – until Zabaleta leaves – and then he will be ready for first-team action.