Wednesday, December 7, 2022

West Ham United ‘Set Their Sights’ On Talented Full-Back: What Will He Bring To The London Stadium?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent print edition of Ole (transcripted and translated by Sport Witness), West Ham United have ‘set their sights’ on recruiting Gonzalo Montiel from River Plate this summer. However, the same source has also stated that the Hammers could face stiff competition from Valencia, Real Betis and a few undisclosed Italian clubs in pursuit of the Argentine full-back, who has a €20m release clause in his contract.

Montiel’s Impressive Form In The Argentine Top-Flight

The 23-year-old has experienced a solid season at the El Monumental after putting in a string of eye-catching displays on the right side of Marcelo Gallardo’s defence so far. He has featured in 20 matches for the Argentine giants this term and has three assists to show for his efforts across all fronts which highlights his creativity going forward.

The South American sensation has averaged 2.0 tackles, 1.2 interceptions, 1.3 clearances, 1.1 key passes and 0.9 dribbles in every 90 minutes of league football this season (stats via whoscored). His numbers prove that he can influence the game at both ends of the field which has enhanced his reputation in Argentine football.

Montiel has also earned four senior caps for the Argentine national side thus far but is still waiting to net his first goal for his country. Maybe a summer switch to Europe could provide him with a bigger platform to catch the attention of Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni ahead of next year’s Copa America after the competition got delayed as a result of the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

West Ham United set their sights on Gonzalo Montiel who is in action in the picture
Gonzalo Montiel of River Plate fights for the ball with Cristian Vega of Central Cordoba during a match between River Plate and Central Cordoba de Santiago del Estero as part of Superliga 2019/20 at Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti on February 2, 2020 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images)

What Will The Argentine International Bring To The English Capital?

Montiel can use his quickness and turn of pace to make some decent runs down the right flank. He is primarily a right-back but is versatile enough to fill in as a centre-back or operate in a more advanced role as a right-winger if required. His incredible versatility, coupled with his sprint speed, makes him a potent threat going forward.

The Argentine talent is also a reliable defender inside his own half as he can make a few well-timed tackles to win possession back for his side. He can also read the danger quickly and has built a reputation for pulling off some crucial last-ditch clearances at the back. However, Montiel can be a bit sloppy with his ball-distribution after completing 76.3% of his attempted passes in the Argentine Superliga (stats via whoscored).

The River Plate full-back will not only add more creativity and pace to the Hammers first-team but also serve as a decent defensive option in David Moyes’ squad. He will provide some much-needed competition for Ryan Fredericks, Pablo Zabaleta and Jeremy Ngakia in the race to secure a regular starting berth at the London Stadium next season.

Plus, Moyes will also get a chance to be more flexible with his formations, tactics and team selection if he can find a way to lure the Argentine right-back to East London before the start of the new campaign.

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