West Ham United Closing In On This €28m South American Ace: The Right Choice By Pellegrini?

According to Futglobaradio journalist, Gustavo Henrique Dande Choque, West Ham United have agreed on a deal to sign Gustavo Cuellar. The Hammers will pay €28m in three instalments for the Flamengo defensive midfielder, who could receive €2m signing-on fees.

The journalist further claims that Cuellar may not join West Ham in the summer and could stay at Flamengo till December. The Londoners were reportedly monitoring the progress of Cuellar since last year. But is he the right choice by Manuel Pellegrini?

What can Cuellar offer on the pitch?

Cuellar has emerged as one of Flamengo’s main components in midfield since joining the club in 2016. Since then, he has already made almost 100 competitive appearances for the Brazilian outfit.

He has mostly operated in the holding midfield role in Flamengo’s double-pivot system in midfield. And The 26-year-old has impressed the onlookers with his fierce tackling and an incredible fighting spirit. Last season, the Colombian averaged almost four tackles per game – indicating his willingness to close down the opposition.

Cuellar is also known for his ability to read the game, having averaged 1.7 interceptions per game in the Brazilian top flight last year. He is strong. He is aggressive and has a natural authority about him that makes him an intimidating presence in midfield.

Why do West Ham need Cuellar next season

West Ham may have to settle for life without Declan Rice next season. The 21-year-old is a subject of transfer speculation linking him with a move away from London Stadium this summer. There are, however, a few options Pellegrini could explore in the event of Rice’s departure. But, the addition of someone like Cuellar could make a world of sense for the Hammers.

One of the key aspects of Cuellar’s game is his willingness to track back. He often tends to drop deep to initiate the build-up play. During the defensive phases, he can also operate as an auxiliary centre-back. And this could make him a tailor-made fit for Pellegrini, who always demands that his players track back.

Aside from that, his high-defensive work-rate coupled with his strong stature in midfield, will add more steel to the West Ham midfield. It could also allow the likes of Jack Wilshere or Manuel Lanzini to become more expressive in the creative department. However, his lack of exposure in the Premier League might make it difficult for Cuellar to integrate himself to the fast-paced nature of English football. Hence, there is certainly some risk involved should West Ham end up signing this combative midfield enforcer next season.

Stat courtesy: Whoscored

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Anas Molla

An ageing teenager who apparently still likes Twenty One Pilots and HIMYM. Also fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythology and history. Still waiting for my man Milos Raonic to win a Grand Slam.

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