There is a ‘very firm possibility’ that River Plate defender Gonzalo Montiel will be a West Ham United player next season but only if David Moyes can save them from the drop, Marca reports.
A transfer rumour that has been dominating the Argentinian press since the early days of the January transfer window is not going away any time soon.
And with good reason.
Because, as Montiel’s agent himself has admitted to TNT, West Ham are still very much in the race to sign an international right-back despite having a £9 million bid laughed out of the door by River Plate five months ago.
With the 2018 Copa Libertadores champions under pressure to raise funds via player sales this summer, the Albiceleste starlet looks set for a move to Europe with Roma, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Betis and more all linked.
According to sources close to the player, however, West Ham are still in pole position.
In fact, Marca claims that there is a ‘very firm possibility’ that Montiel will be heading to the London Stadium, possibly as a replacement for retiring compatriot Pablo Zabaleta.
But relegation to the Championship would be a dagger not just to Moyes’s managerial reputation but also his hopes of signing a long-term target.
Montiel’s camp have made it clear that, if The Hammers go down, he will not be wearing claret and blue in the second tier.
Interestingly, Montiel has an £18 million release clause in his contract but River are willing to sell for about half that price, meaning West Ham can get him for just £9 million – five months after they had an offer of exactly that amount rejected.