Gonzalo Montiel's Agent Confirms West Ham Are Monitoring River Plate Star

Gonzalo Montiel
River Plate v Defensa y Justicia - Superliga 2019/20 | Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

River Plate defender Gonzalo Montiel is being monitored by West Ham ahead of a possible move to east London this summer

Montiel, a right-back, could provide a solution in a position at which West Ham have been understaffed for some time, with Ryan Fredericks failing to impress thus far after his free transfer to Fulham, and his understudy Jeremy Ngakia only 19 years old.

The Argentine, who is contracted until 2021, has a release clause which stands at around £16m, and River Plate boss Marcelo Gallardo has previously intervened to keep one of his most reliable charges at the club.

Marcelo Gallardo
River Plate v Deportivo Binacional - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 | Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

According to an interview with Montiel's representative Marcelo Carracedo in Argentina's Clarin newspaper, however, the Hammers are keeping a close eye on the man known as "Bombero" and could well move for him in the next few windows.

"They [West Ham] were already interested in Gonzalo, and still are, so they might make a move in one of the next few windows," said Carracedo. "We'll have to see how the team ends the season before resuming negotiations."

Gallardo had previously taken a dim view of the £10m offer that West Ham had made for Montiel in January, fuming: "It's ridiculous that we'd accept an offer like this, let alone start negotiating."

However, this hasn't stopped the likes of ex-River Plate attacking midfielder Manuel Lanzini, now of West Ham, making overtures towards Montiel.

Manuel Lanzini
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

"He's [Montiel is] a wonderful player, with a big future as a defender" said Lanzini. "He spoke with me and asked me a few things about the club."

With the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, West Ham will have to approach negotiations with a different mindset, as a River Plate side in need of cash will be unlikely to accept any loan-to-buy deal.