West Ham set to snap up Catania defender

West Ham United are expected to step in and sign out-of-contract Catania defender Pablo Alvarez, who has been a target for months.

Catania have been relegated to Serie B and are awaiting a string of departures likely to include Pablo Alvarez heading to West Ham.

The Argentine stopper's contract expires at the end of the current campaign and Catania won't attempt to keep him.

Despite a brief renaissance, Catania have been doomed to relegation from Serie A for weeks and will bow out this weekend, signalling the beginning of an exodus of players.

Alvarez, who is 30, was linked with West Ham back in January but no concrete talks took place and Catania will now lose him for free.

Helpfully, Alvarez also holds a Spanish passport and so counts as an EU player and he is well regarded in Italy as a solid defender who makes few mistakes.

He has played 18 games and 1465 minutes in Serie A this season but has been struggling for fitness over the last few weeks and had to watch from the stands as the Sicilian side's relegation was confirmed.

Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport is convinced that Alvarez is on West Ham's shopping list and will agree a deal shortly.

Catania are also set to lose defender Norbert Gyombert to either newly promoted Palermo, Udinese or Parma and goalkeeper Alberto Frison is likely to join Cagliari.

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