West Ham Opinion: Why Pellegrini should sign Hugo Mallo in the summer?
Pablo Zabaleta’s future with West Ham appears to be up in the air. The Argentinian is considering retiring at the end of the campaign, and could be offered a backroom role at Manchester City, according to The Sun.
And with Zabaleta potentially retiring in the summer, a replacement should be West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini’s one of the priorities in the transfer window.
Some could argue that Pellegrini already has a tailor-made replacement in the squad in Ryan Fredericks but the summer signing has failed to have the kind of impact at West Ham that he’d have liked to.
Fredericks has made just seven Premier League appearances for the Hammers, of which only five have been starts. An ankle injury has also not done him any favours either, but the 26-year-old full-back appears to have turned a corner lately.
However, Pellegrini can’t completely rely on Fredericks if Zabaleta decides to hang up his boots at the end of this season. That’s when signing another right-back will be important and West Ham should target Celta Vigo star Hugo Mallo.
Hugo Mallo, 27, has spent his entire career at Celta Vigo and extended his stay at the club by signing a five-year deal last summer. He is now contracted to Celta until 2023, meaning West Ham will have to spend big to acquire his services.
And West Ham should not think twice before splashing the cash on Mallo as the Spaniard is a highly-experienced full-back who is known for his pace, agility, game-reading skills and crossing abilities.
He is an accomplished passer of the ball and has the athletic qualities required to compete with Premier League’s nippy forwards.
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At 27, Mallo is playing at the peak of his powers and would add another voice of leadership into the West Ham dressing room, plus his experience of playing over 300 times for Celta should come handy.
A move for Mallo does make sense as Zabaleta appears keen to bring curtains down to his footballing career in the summer. Zabaleta is 34 and no more is the marauding force he once was in his prime years.
There is a need for a full-back to add cover and competition for Fredericks and Mallo would be the perfect candidate for the Hammers.