In a recent interview with Clarin (transcripted and translated by Sport Witness), River Plate right-back Gonzolo Montiel’s agent, Marcelo Carracedo provided an update on West Ham United’s pursuit of his client when he said,
“They (West Ham) had already been interested in Gonzalo and continue to be, so they may appear in one of the upcoming markets. Now they have to see how the team ends this tournament and then resume negotiations.”
The same source has also revealed that the South American full-back has a release clause of US$20m in his contract. This latest development follows Ole’s claim earlier this month which suggested that the Hammers have ‘set their sights’ in bringing the Argentine defender to the English capital this summer (via Sport Witness).
Montiel’s Rapid Rise At The El Monumental
The 23-year-old has enjoyed a fruitful season in the Argentine Superliga after performing at a high level on the right side of the River Plate backline so far. He has been involved in 20 matches for Marcelo Gallardo’s side this term, grabbing three assists in the process on all fronts which showcases his growing influence in terms of creativity going forward.
Montiel has averaged 2.0 tackles, 1.2 interceptions, 1.3 clearances, 1.1 key passes and 0.9 dribbles per game in the Argentine first division this season (stats via whoscored). His stats highlight just how impactful he can be at both ends of the pitch, but there are still some question marks over his productivity in the final third.
The talented defender has secured four international caps for the Argentine national team but is yet to open his goal-scoring account for his country. Maybe a change of scenery this summer could provide Montiel with a more prominent platform to showcase his skills and catch the attention of Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni before next year’s Copa America after the competition was postponed due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
What Will The Argentine Full-Back Add To David Moyes’ Team?
Montiel can put his speed and acceleration to good use when making runs out on the wide areas. He has primarily been deployed in the right-back position but is versatile enough to operate as a centre-back or fill in a more advanced role as a right-sided wide player if needed. His outstanding versatility, coupled with his incredible burst of pace, makes him a constant menace for the opposition.
The South American star is also a capable defender at the back as he is not afraid to get stuck in with a few well-timed tackles to earn the ball back for his side. Plus, he can also scan the danger quicker than most others around him and can position himself ideally to pull off some vital last-gasp clearances inside his own half. However, Montiel has been guilty of being a bit untidy when distributing the ball out from the back after completing 76.3% of his attempted passes in the top tier of Argentina this season (stats via whoscored).
The River Plate defensive ace will not only bring more creativity and pace to East London but also add some much-needed solidity to David Moyes’ backline. He will also offer more competition for the likes of Ryan Fredericks, Pablo Zabaleta and Jeremy Ngakia at the London Stadium in the coming seasons.
Furthermore, Moyes will have the freedom to tweak his formations, tactics and teamsheets more often in the upcoming campaign if he can figure out a way to agree on a transfer for the four-time Argentine international in this off-season.
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