With less than a year to run on his current contract at West Ham, Pablo Zabaleta has recently been linked with a move away from the club, speculation which the Argentinian has only fuelled after his latest comments about his future.
“My heart tells me I would like to play forever, but I will be 34 in January and I need to listen to my body at that time,” Zabaleta told Arab News when quizzed on his career plans.
“At the end I will know what I want to do and where to go, but I would like one or two more years to carry on playing. At 34 I think it might be the right time to try something different, have a new experience.
“If I carry on playing in Europe, Italy is one of those leagues I haven’t played, but I have always been thinking about the Middle East. I first went to the UAE for the Under-20 World Cup in 2003 and have seen how much the region has changed.”
Based on Zabaleta’s words, it is quite clear that he is leaning towards leaving West Ham next summer in a move that would devastate the supporters Transfer Tavern found on Twitter urging him to stay.
The West Ham faithful have really taken to the £4.5m-rated (via Transfermarkt) 33-year-old since he arrived at the London Stadium on a free transfer from Manchester City last June, largely due to the sort of effort he puts in game after game.
But most importantly, the former Manchester City man has proven he is still a very capable defender. He did a fantastic job of neutralising the threat of Eden Hazard in the Hammers’ 0-0 draw versus London rivals Chelsea back in September, showing he can still perform at this level.
With that in mind, West Ham should do all they can to keep Zabaleta at the London Stadium beyond his current deal.