Argentine publication El Intransigente reported earlier this week that West Ham United are interested in signing River Plate right-back Gonzalo Montiel, and it could prove to be bad news for Ryan Fredericks.
Claims over the past month have cast a dark shadow over Fredericks’ long-term future at the London Stadium, with David Moyes thought to be open to parting ways with the Manuel Pellegrini signing.
Fredericks has even been touted to be at the top of the Hammers’ shortlist of players they are looking to sell in the January transfer window, having fallen heavily out of favour this season following the £5.5m million arrival of Vladimir Coufal in the summer.
Moyes had started the season with Fredericks firmly his first-choice option at right-back, but has only trusted the 28-year-old to play 91 minutes of Premier League football since limping off early into the second half of September’s 4-0 win over Wolves with a hamstring injury.
Coufal has been without a serious rival for the right-back spot since making his Irons debut, with the 28-year-old playing all but 95 minutes of top-flight action since joining from Slavia Prague, having only sat out last month’s goalless draw with Southampton.
Moyes has even taken to omitting Fredericks from his 18-man matchday squad for five league games and counting, plus Monday night’s FA Cup third round win at Stockport County, and any interest in Montiel would suggest the former Fulham defender has reached the end of the line in east London.
Montiel is said to have many suitors assessing his situation in Argentina, with AS Roma, Bologna, Olympique Lyonnais and West Ham all presenting potential offers of life in Europe to the 24-year-old.
He is a key player at River Plate, where he graduated from the club’s academy to make his senior debut in 2016, starting 11 of their 12 Copa Libertadores ties this season while offering one goal and six assists.
It remains to be seen if Montiel does leave the Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti this winter, but his efforts under Marcelo Gallardo would suggest he would be a far superior rival to Coufal than Fredericks has been.
Fredericks has been a creative option during West Ham’s Premier League fixtures when given a chance to show his worth this season, yet has failed to match his offensive contribution of 2.0 key balls and 0.6 accurate crosses a game with the same defensive support, per SofaScore.
The 28-year-old makes just 0.8 successful tackles and wins only 1.8 of his ground duels, to allow Coufal to retain the position with ease through his 3.1 successful tackles, 1.5 interceptions, 4.2 ground duels won, 1.5 accurate crosses and 1.5 key balls.
As for Montiel, the eight-cap Argentina international boasted 1.8 successful tackles, a strong 2.2 interceptions and won 3.2 ground duels a game to help River Plate keep six clean sheets in the Copa Libertadores on route to the semi-finals.
The £7m-rated talent also offered 1.2 accurate crosses, 1.6 key balls, took 0.8 shots and never shied from the ball with 68.8 touches on average.
With Montiel four years younger than both Coufal and Fredericks, he also has longevity over the pair, and should prove a true rival for the right-back role if Moyes is backed in the transfer market.