West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has seemingly zeroed in on a centre back as his desired final recruit in the summer transfer window.
Football Insider revealed recently that the club have put together a three-man centre half shortlist consisting of New York Red Bulls star Aaron Long, Alaves stalwart Guillermo Maripan and free agent veteran Gary Cahill.
However, the budget restrictions that director of football Mario Husillos is working under at the moment was laid bare by a report from Claret & Hugh earlier this week. The reliable Hammers news source claims that the club have under £5million left to spend on a centre back.
That leaves things in a precarious situation, but it does push Long to the fore as the team’s likely only option. Sky Sports claimed recently that work permit issues are delaying a move for the United States of America international, but that he has a £4million release clause and wants to move to the Premier League.
Football London reported earlier this summer that Maripan would be available for between £10-12million, meaning that the Chilean is now too expensive for West Ham.
Long, though, is right in the sweet spot in terms of price, and the release clause means he will be easy to bring in, as long as the work permit issues can be sorted out.
Cahill would obviously come without a transfer fee, but his wages would likely be astronomical. The former England international was on £100,000-per-week [Source: Spotrac] at Stamford Bridge last season, which is far too much money for a third choice centre back.
Long’s wage demands would undoubtedly be less than that, while his transfer fee is affordable as well. It seems, then, that from a financial point of view, the American is the only option left for the Hammers.