West Ham United are reportedly interested in signing Sao Paulo midfielder Pablo Maia, as David Moyes looks to reinforce his squad for the gruelling second half of the campaign.
The Hammers are closing in on Sao Paulo’s Luizao having agreed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the talented young centre-back. Luizao, 20, arrived in England on Monday ahead of a planned medical, and the east Londoners will welcome him to the London Stadium once his contract at Sao Paulo expires at the end of January.
According to 90min, West Ham have also held initial talks with Sao Paulo over a deal for Pablo Maia, although the two clubs are yet to agree the structure of a potential move. The Hammers would like to bring the midfielder on loan with a view to a permanent deal, but Sao Paulo’s preference is to sell the player outright in January.
The report adds Fulham have already seen a bid rejected for Maia, while Tottenham are also monitoring his development at the Brazilian club.
Pablo Maia to West Ham—A good long-term option?
West Ham spent over £150m in the summer transfer window, bringing in as many as eight new players to the London Stadium, but have struggled for form this season. David Moyes’ side have lost nine of the 15 Premier League games they have played so far and sit just a point above the relegation zone.
Luizao’s potential arrival after January would boost West Ham’s defensive ranks, providing Moyes with another option to rest and rotate with the current crop of players in what is expected to be a taxing second half of the season. The Hammers are also seemingly planning for the future of Declan Rice, who has 18 months to run in his contract with the club having the option to extend it by a further 12 months until 2025.
Rice, 23, who was a solid performer for England at the World Cup, has rejected a contract extension from West Ham earlier this year as he wishes to leave for a club that fights for trophies and plays in the Champions League. Thus, it is very much possible Moyes and the club sanction the England international’s departure at the end of the season and replace him with Pablo Maia.
Maia made the move to Sao Paulo in 2017 from Portuguesa Santista and has gone on to rack up over 60 first-team appearances, scoring two goals and registering an assist. Primarily a defensive midfielder, the young Brazilian has even played further forward for Sao Paulo and also at centre-back, and such traits make him the ideal player to potentially replace Rice in the long run at the London Stadium.
At 20, Pablo Maia is far from a finished product and could develop well under the guidance of Moyes. As his contract at Sao Paulo expires in September 2023, West Ham should aim to secure Maia’s signature on a cut-price deal as quickly as possible with Fulham and Tottenham lurking in the background.