West Ham United have reportedly struck a transfer agreement with River Plate to sign star Gonzalo Montiel in the next window.
That’s according to a report from Spanish website Estadio Deportivo, which claims West Ham have a deal lined up for the 23-year-old Argentina defender.
The Hammers have reportedly been tracking the Argentinian ace for some time.
West Ham tried to sign Montiel in January, according to TyC, which claimed the east London outfit made a £400,000 loan offer for the right-back, with an option to buy for £8.3 million in the summer.
West Ham have agreed Montiel deal – report
But while an agreement has been struck between West Ham and River, Estadio Deportivo warns any move is dependent on work permit issues.
Hammers boss David Moyes has obviously identified right-back as an area that needs urgent attention.
And Montiel’s fellow Argentine Manuel Lanzini fanned the flames recently when he revealed Moyes wants the right-back in east London (Ole).
“I think Montiel would fit well at West Ham,” Lanzini told Ole.
“I know they have looked at him and could not bring him. He asked me, I spoke to him, and told him the coach (Moyes) likes to play with three or five defenders behind.”
Bitter blow for Hammers duo, particularly Fredericks
The news will come as a bitter blow to West Ham duo Ryan Fredericks and Jeremy Ngakia.
Fredericks has failed to establish himself since joining West Ham on a free transfer from Fulham in the summer of 2018.
Barring the odd solid game, the pacy right-back has looked a bag of nerves. Fredericks has also proved to be injury-prone.
That has opened the door for academy starlet Ngakia to surge into the first team.
And ‘Jez’ as he is affectionately known among his teammates, has not made the same mistake as Fredericks.
Ngakia and Johnson to provide back-up if Argentine arrives
The 19-year-old has made the right-back position his own with a string of excellent performances. His progress was curtailed by the global health crisis shutting West Ham’s season down.
West Ham look set to replace one Argentine right-back for another.
Pablo Zabaleta is on his way out this summer. So news of the deal in place for Montiel could be bad news for Fredericks in particular.
He is already on a list of players reportedly up for sale (Claret & Hugh).
And with Ngakia and Ben Johnson emerging West Ham would be well covered with young, hungry players in the right-back position.
The news will come as a blow to Ngakia who will be reluctant to give up his starting spot.
But perhaps Moyes feels it would be foolhardy to put too much pressure on either him or Johnson too soon whereas Montiel is a fully fledged Argentina international playing for one of the world’s biggest clubs.