Opinion

West Ham: Rafael could be the perfect replacement for Pablo Zabaleta

West Ham: Rafael could be the perfect replacement for Pablo Zabaleta

This summer is looking to be a big one for West Ham, and rumours of who Manuel Pellegrini is eyeing up are starting to begin.

From Maxi Gomez to Guillermo Maripan, big names with big price tags are all being linked with a move to east London this summer, but amongst all the names and price tags stands a player who West Ham fans might remember.

According to The Sun on Sunday (31/3; page 59, via HITC), former Manchester United right-back Rafael is on Pellegrini’s radar with the Brazilian defender’s contract with Lyon set to expire at the end of this season.

The 28-year-old would be open to a move back to England per the report, and with his experience and achievements in the Premier League already well known by fans, Rafael could be the ideal signing for West Ham this summer and a perfect replacement for Pablo Zabaleta.

The veteran Argentine defender, who is also out of contract this summer, has been a good servant for the Hammers since his move to the club in 2017, but now entering his mid-thirties and looking slower by the game, it seems like Pellegrini will be looking for a new right-back this summer.

With Ryan Fredericks being unimpressive at best for West Ham since his move from London rivals Fulham, the Hammers will likely be more motivated to sign a new starting right-back, and Rafael could be that man.

At 28, the Brazilian is entering the prime years of his career. A mixed time in France that has this season seen Rafael been in and out of the Lyon side means it is likely the defender won’t be offered a new deal, giving West Ham the perfect opportunity to pick up an experienced defender in a position they need for free.

Although the Brazilian was axed by Louis van Gaal at United, Rafael is a player who is still loved by the fans and was a consistent performer for the Red Devils, especially in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season at the club.

In Rafael – a three-time winner of the Premier League  – West Ham have an experienced and talented player who they can sign for free to fill a position that not only needs improving but also needs getting younger, and the Lyon defender is just the man for the job.

West Ham fans, would you take Rafael in the summer?

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