Reported £18m West Ham and Southampton target is a 'born competitor'

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl celebrates at the final whistle during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Everton FC at St Mary's Stadium on January 19, 2019 in...

Premier League trio West Ham United, Saints and Crystal Palace are all reportedly battling to sign River Plate's Argentina international Gonzalo Montiel.

Gonzalo Montiel de River Plate reacts during a match between Estudiantes and River Plate as part of Superliga 2019

This may not be a golden generation of Argentinian footballers but, where quality is arguably lacking, at least the Albiceleste are not short of character.

In Gonzalo Montiel, the sleeping giants of South American football have a rampaging right-back who embodies the sort of never-say-die spirit epitomised by the likes of Diego Maradona, Roberto Ayala and Gabriel Batistuta.

 

"He is my firefighter. He is a born competitor,” River Plate boss Marcelo Gallardo told Infobae of a man who shone during the 2019 Copa Libertadores-winning campaign.

No wonder Gallardo is determined to keep Montiel in Argentina for as long as he can.

Arguably the most respected tactician outside Europe slammed a ‘ridiculous’ offer from West Ham United during the January transfer window when David Moyes’ side made a £9 million loan-to-buy bid for the 23-year-old.

Gonzalo Montiel pass the ball during a match between River Plate and Defensa y Justicia as part of Superliga 2019

Montiel has an £18 million release clause in his contract with West Ham, along with Premier League rivals Southampton and Crystal Palace, expected to renew their interest during the summer (Goal).

A swashbuckling, typically modern full-back who has been likened to Brazil great Dani Alves, the rising star of Argentinian football is a natural born winner who brings a positive mentality both on and off the pitch.

Just ask Gallardo.

Wilmar Barrios (L) of Boca Juniors and Gonzalo Montiel (R) of River Plate fight for the ball during the first leg match between Boca Juniors and River Plate as part of the Finals of Copa...

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