With 35-year-old Pablo Zabaleta due to expire at the end of the season, reports from South America suggest that the former Manchester City hero could be replaced at the London Stadium by his young compatriot.
According to AS, West Ham offered to take Montiel on loan for the rest of the season with an option to sign the two-cap defender for a fee of £9 million.
The offer falls well short of the £17 million release-clause in Montiel’s contract, however, and River coach Gallardo pulled no punches in his response to the Hammers’ interest.
“If you come with a loan offer to sign a valuable player of ours, I say 'thank you, but no',” fumed arguably the greatest tactician outside of Europe right now.
“It is not what we want. It would be ridiculous if we agreed to start a conversation with a proposal like that.”
As Gallardo makes fairly clear, West Ham will have to go back to the drawing board and restructure their entire bid if they really want to bring Montiel to the English capital before next week’s transfer deadline.
Triggering his £17 million release clause would leave River powerless to prevent the departure of a player who won the 2018 Copa Libertadores - but that is a hefty fee to pay for a young man yet to prove himself in Europe.
With West Ham’s recruitment record coming under severe criticism, a much-maligned board may opt to avoid an expensive risk.
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