This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
West Ham United are closing in on the signing of Boavista defender Goncalo Cardoso, per Sky Sports.
The Hammers are set to pay £2.75m for the centre-back, reinforcing manager Manuel Pellegrini’s backline prior to Thursday’s transfer deadline.
Indeed, the Irons endured a difficult pre-season, conceding 12 goals in six fixtures.
Cardoso is unlikely to go straight into Pellegrini’s first-team, as he already has the likes of Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid to call upon, he is more likely to be a rotation option.
This is a surprising deal from West Ham.
They have been linked with New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long for some time but it now appears that they have turned their attentions to Cardoso.
Born in 2000, the 18-year-old has made 18 appearances for Boavista since making his debut and is also a Portugal Under-19 international.
But few fans at the London Stadium will be aware of who he is and what he brings to the team; the likelihood is he will spend the first few months of the season on the bench.
But this is where the Hammers are right now. Having splashed a great deal of cash on Sebastian Haller and Pablo Fornals, they simply can’t afford to bring in an experienced centre-back. ClaretandHugh reports that they currently have a transfer budget of less than £5m.
That is despite the club’s startling lack of depth in the position.
Indeed, Reid has struggled with a number of injury woes throughout his career and missed the entire 2018/19 season with a knee issue.
That leaves just Diop, Balbuena and Ogbonna with the fitness to play the entire season. The club could have done with an experienced head, a player willing to come in and potentially play through 15-20 games in a season with a minimum of fuss and a knowledge of the top-flight.
Instead, they have been forced into a deal for a teenager largely because the money isn’t there, and it doesn’t really do a lot to plug the hole in their squad.
He will have to suffice. He still might not be enough.