West Ham United defender Fabian Balbuena will leave the Premier League club in the summer transfer window, agent Renato Bittar has told Radio 970, translated by Torcedores.
You have to feel for the Paraguay international.
Not so long ago, Balbuena was one of the first names on David Moyes’ team sheet, forging a superb centre-back partnership with Angelo Ogbonna and shining in three and four-goal thrashings of Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
But after an ill-timed injury kept him out of a 0-0 draw with Southampton in December, Balbuena has hardly been seen since.
Craig Dawson and then Issa Diop have moved ahead of the 29-year-old in the pecking order, with Balbuena going from second choice to fourth choice in the blink of an eye.
And, with his £40,000-a-week contract expiring in July, it’s tempting to wonder whether we’ve seen the last of the experienced centre-back in claret and blue.
“He will not continue at West Ham,” says Bittar, before confirming Balbuena won’t return to his native South America either.
“But he will continue (to play) in Europe. We are talking to several teams.”
Il Messaggero has suggested Balbuena could join Serie A giants Lazio in a deal that would see goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha (pictured below) go in the other direction.
But with the former Corinthians defender now expected to leave on a free transfer, West Ham will no longer be able to use him as a makeweight in a potential swap deal.