​West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta looks likely to be staying at the club for a third season after triggering a clause in his contract.


The experienced full-back started Saturday's 2-2 draw with Leicester at the London Stadium, following on from his start last weekend in the narrow defeat to Manchester United.

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Those two recent appearances take Zabaleta up to 23 Premier League starts for the season, which as reported previously by the ​Evening Standard, takes the 34-year-old past the threshold of starting 60% of West Ham's league games this season - automatically earning him a 12-month extension to his deal.


Indeed, Zabaleta confirmed at the time that the clause did exist in his contract, though he did admit that he expects to see a reduced role at the club going forward. 


“There is a clause in the contract," Zabaleta said. "If I do stay then I would have a different role in the team, not to play as much. I know in myself that I cannot play the same amount of games that I have over the past two seasons.”


The Argentine, who has won two Premier League titles with ​Manchester City during his time in England, was named as runner-up last year in ​West Ham's Player of the Year awards, and has regularly fought off competition from Ryan Fredericks this season to maintain a starting berth.

The Hammers are likely to be in the market for a new full-back, though, with Manuel Pellegrini likely to want further reinforcements ahead of next season. Inconsistency continues to hinder his side's progress despite forking out around £100m last summer on new recruits, and recruiting a fresh faced full-back could be high on the Chilean's agenda.