Report: West Ham want Lyon defender Rafael on free transfer

Manuel Pellegrini of West Ham United during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Everton FC at London Stadium on March 30, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

West Ham United could reportedly make a move for Rafael when his contract expires in the summer.

Lyon's Brazilian defender Rafael da Silva celebrates after Lyon won the French L1 football match Stade Rennais vs Olympique Lyonnais (OL), on March 29, 2019 at the Roazhon Park stadium in...

According to a report from The Sun on Sunday (31/3; page 59), West Ham are interested in signing Rafael when his Lyon contract expires in the summer, while the defender is keen on making the move to the London Stadium.

The Hammers have largely enjoyed a encouraging season. But their recent results have arguably highlighted that Manuel Pellegrini needs to do some substantial work to his squad in the summer if they hope to progress further.

 

Right-back has been a problematic area for the Irons at times this season. Pablo Zabaleta has been an extremely popular signing but he is well into the twilight of his career, and Ryan Fredericks appears to have taken a little time to adapt to life in the Premier League - though there have been some glimpses of outstanding quality from the summer signing.

Unfortunately for Fredericks, it appears that he may have more competition in the summer. The Sun on Sunday (31/3; page 59) reports that the Irons are keen on signing the former Manchester United man.

Manuel Pellegrini of West Ham United during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Everton FC at London Stadium on March 30, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

And the report adds that the 28-year-old - who is out of contract at the end of the year - would 'welcome' the chance to join Pellegrini's side four years after leaving the Premier League.

Interestingly, Rafael has recently made a return to the Lyon starting lineup, having been rotated for much of the campaign. He played the full 90 minutes in the 1-0 win against Rennes on Friday. He also made three Champions League appearances earlier in the season.

He is perhaps not the kind of marquee signing that West Ham fans would have been hoping for - especially after Saturday's defeat to Everton - but a deal could have the potential to be a decent piece of business, particularly as it will leave Pellegrini with funds to strengthen in several other areas.

Rafael of Olympique Lyonnais during the Group F match of the UEFA Champions League between Olympique Lyonnais and Manchester City at Groupama Stadium on November 27, 2018 in Lyon, France.

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