Brazilian reports claim West Ham have agreed a deal to sign Corinthians defender Fabian Balbuena, and he could be the dominant leader at the back the Hammers have been crying out of.
According to Cesar Merlo of Tcy Sports, West Ham have agreed a deal with Corinthians to sign the towering centre back, who has six caps for Paraguay.
The fee is expected to be in the region of €4m (£3.5m), and the report goes so far as to say they have already agreed a four-year contract for the player
The official Corinthians club website has even released a statement thanking the 26 year-old for his services, and the player is now expected to undergo a medical for the Hammers.
David Sullivan has an infamous reputation for signing unknown South American players, but one would have to assume this is Pellegrini’s pick.
Balbuena earned his big move to Corinthians, one of the biggest clubs in Brazil, in 2016, and has been an absolute brick wall for them ever since.
The 6 ft 2 centre back is one of the toughest defenders you’ll ever come cross, and is well liked by Corinthians fans because of his tenacity and fight. He is never afraid to throw his body on the line for the cause, something that the fans in East London will love.
The Brazilian season is still in its infancy, but across the opening eight games the 26 year-old is winning three aerial duels per game and making over five clearances per game. He is an absolute beast in the air and is extremely vocal and commanding, which should help the Hammers fix their vulnerability from crosses.
As much as he is known for his rough and tumble defending, the big man can play as well, boasting an impressive 86 per cent pass success rate so far this season and completing over four long balls per game.
The step up to the Premier League will be steep, but Balbuena jumped to one of the biggest clubs in Paraguay as a youngster and transitioned to Corinthians seamlessly just a few years later. He is technically sound, tough, wears his heart on his sleeve, and may just be a future captain if he settles quickly in the Premier League. His leadership could also be all that’s required to get the best out of young Issa Diop.
So, West Ham fans, would you like to see a move for Balbuena? Or should you be targeting players from better leagues? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…