Talk of West Ham ‘option’ leads to confusion over Balbuena future

Date published: Thursday 18th February 2021 1:38 - Neil Foster

Fabian Balbuena 2020 TEAMtalk

Fabian Balbuena has denied that Lazio ever made an approach to sign him and expects to start talks with West Ham over a new deal soon.

Balbuena, 29, was linked with a move away from the London Stadium during the January transfer window. From being a regular starter in the first half of the season, he is now on the peripheries.

The Paraguay defender started 12 of the Hammers first 15 Premier League games. But he has now been relegated to the bench, with a last league appearance against Brighton on December 27.

His last outing was in the 4-0 FA Cup thrashing of Doncaster Rovers on January 23. It seemed as though the South American might have been on his way in the winter window.

His agent, Renato Bittar, confirmed a bid from a Middle East club but played down reports Lazio were keen. And now Balbuena has reiterated his representative’s comments while suggesting his time at West Ham is far from over.

“I never received anything from Lazio, I only read the rumours on social media,” he told Versus Radio (via Sport Witness). “Certainly, in the coming days we will sit down with the management to talk about it, West Ham have an option to renew.”

Balbuena joined the Hammers from Brazilian club Corinthians in July 2018. He started 23 matches in his first season in the East End but game time has since diminished.

It seemed as though things were picking up this term but David Moyes has clearly had a change of heart.

Confusion over defender’s contract

Balbuena’s words that West Ham have an ‘option to renew’ are hard to decipher. It was not thought that there was an extension clause in the three-year deal signed in July 2018.

Therefore if the club want to extend, they will need to negotiate a new contract. That suggests that dialogue may already have opened or will certainly begin in the near future.

But a lack of action since the turn of the year does not back up those claims. West Ham’s next task is to take on capital rivals Tottenham on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho’s men have slumped to ninth in the top-flight standings. West Ham sit fifth after an excellent run and are pushing for a Champions League spot.

They will welcome Spurs having beaten Sheffield United 3-0 last time out. The north Londoners have lost four of their last five league games.

 

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