West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta started his 23rd game of the season against Leicester City on Saturday to earn himself a new contract, according to previous reports.
In early April, The London Evening Standard reported that Zabaleta would earn a contract extension after 23 starts.
Zabaleta had a clause in his current deal which would see his two-year contract extended by an extra 12 months if he started 60 per cent of West Ham’s games.
The former Argentina right-back confirmed: “There is a clause in the contract. If I do stay then I would have a different role in the team, not to play as much. I know in myself that I cannot play the same amount of games that I have over the past two seasons.”
Back at the time of this report, Zabaleta had 21 starts to his name. But after being named in the starting line-up against Manchester United and Leicester, it seems that Zabaleta’s contract clause has been triggered.
Pablo Zabaleta at West Ham
Zabaleta signed a two-year deal in summer 2017 after leaving Manchester City on a free transfer. In his first season, the veteran full-back played 39 games, including 37 in the league.
But the 34-year-old has had a slightly reduced role this season. With age no longer on his side, he has shared the right-back duties with Ryan Fredericks.
However, it seems like Zabaleta will be sticking around for one more year. After admitting that he would be playing even less, West Ham still might sign another right-back to compete with Fredericks.