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Grading West Ham United's summer signings - Pablo Zabaleta

Pablo Zabaleta of West Ham United reacts to giving a penalty away during the Premier League match between Southampton and West Ham United at St Mary's Stadium on August 19, 2017 in...

West Ham United signed the two-time Premier League winner on a free transfer.

Pablo Zabaleta of West Ham United and Jose Izquierdo of Brighton and Hove Albion battle for the ball during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Brighton and Hove Albion at...

Time is a rare luxury in modern football, and new signings don’t get given too much of it before they are adjudged a hit or miss.

A couple of months on from the summer transfer window, HITC is grading the first impressions made by the new arrivals.

Here we take a closer look at West Ham United’s free signing of Pablo Zabaleta.

Right-back has been a problem position for the Hammers for the last couple of seasons and the veteran Argentine has quickly made the spot his own since joining from Manchester City.

Ben Davies of Tottenham Hotspur and Pablo Zabaleta of West Ham United battle for possession during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at London Stadium...

Now 32, Zabaleta is not as dynamic as he once was, but there has been no decline in his commitment or professionalm while all around him at West Ham have allowed their standards to slip.

Under sacked manager Slaven Bilic, most Hammers players could be accused of showing a lack of effort and desire, but not Zabaleta. His average of 3.7 tackles per game is the second highest in the division.

Some other statistics don’t reflect as well on the two-time Premier League winner, though.

Referee Kevin Friend shows Pablo Zabaleta of West Ham a yellow card during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Huddersfield Town at London Stadium on September 11, 2017 in...

West Ham have the worst defensive record in the league, and he has already collected five yellow cards, one giving away a last-minute penalty which cost the Irons a point in a 3-2 defeat to Southampton.

But if every West Ham player had shown the application that Zabaleta had, Bilic may still be in a job.

As it is, David Moyes is the man tasked with lifting the Hammers out of relegation trouble, and he should be thanking the Croatian for leaving a warrior like Zabaleta behind to help lead this cause.

Grade: B

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