West Ham United right back Pablo Zabaleta is set to sit down for talks over his future with Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini, according to the Evening Standard.
The newspaper claims that the 34-year-old, whose contract with the club runs out in the summer, is preparing to hold a discussion with the Chilean to thrash out what’s next for him.
There has been talk of a backroom role for the Argentine at his former club Manchester City but Pellegrini is keen to keep the veteran, who is on £75,000-per-week at the club [Source: Spotrac], at the London Stadium for the foreseeable future.
The West Ham chief feels that Zabaleta is a hugely positive influence in the dressing room and would be loathed to lose him when his current deal expires.
This is an interesting one. From an on-the-pitch standpoint, Zabaleta has declined tremendously over the past few months. His early season form was terrific, he even pushed summer signing Ryan Fredericks out of the starting line up, but since the turn of the year he simply hasn’t been the same. However, Pellegrini clearly feels that his leadership qualities and his influence in the dressing room is positive enough to paper over the occasional dodgy performance. Whether that’s accurate is a matter of perspective, but Zabaleta has clearly done something right to have two teams fighting over him like this. It all depends on how long he wants to keep playing, really. If he wants to carry on then it seems that West Ham will happily keep him around, but if he decides it’s time to hang up his boots then he has a backroom role ready-made for him at his old club City. Either way, it will all be discussed when he sits down with his fellow South American Pellegrini.