River Plate right-back Gonzalo Montiel has reportedly agreed a pre-contract with West Ham United, although the move relies upon the Argentinian securing a valid work permit.
Montiel has been River Plate’s first choice right-back for the past three seasons as the Buenos Aires club reached back-to-back Copa Libertadores finals – the South American equivalent of the Champions League – in 2018 and 2019.
The 23-year-old has already twice been capped for the Argentinian national side and attracted the attention of numerous European clubs, despite the advanced stage of the negotiations Montiel has reached with West Ham.
Spanish publication Estadio Deportivo claim that Montiel has verbally agreed a pre-contract with West Ham after first attempting to bring him to east London in January, only to be prevented by financial fair play regulations.
The deal at the end of the season is reportedly worth in the region of £10m but could be called off if Montiel is unable to secure the necessary work permit, with his future ‘in the hands of the Home Office’.
Montiel’s agent has already confirmed that West Ham have been monitoring his client but should the transfer fall through, there will be no shortage of European destinations for the full-back to choose from.
Real Betis, Valencia, Celta Vigo, Bayer Leverkusen and AC Milan are all listed as interested parties, while West Ham also have to contend with competition from fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson’s team seem to be finally searching for a replacement for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, having relied upon Joel Ward so far this campaign.
This season Ryan Fredericks has overtaken Montiel’s compatriot Pablo Zabaleta as West Ham’s first choice right-back. The 27-year-old Englishman hasn’t looked wildly out of place but his side have been poor defensively, with the fourth-worst defensive record in the Premier League – leaving the Hammers teetering above the relegation zone on goal difference.