David Moyes looks like he’s forcing Fabian Balbuena out of West Ham United with his plans to promote winter signing Frederik Alves to the first-team next season
What’s the word?
According to Football Insider, the Hammers intend to promote Alves to the senior fold for the 2021/22 campaign and hand the Denmark Under 21 international a prominent role.
It is said that the centre-half has impressed the Irons coaching staff in training and with his appearances in Dmitri Halajko’s U23s, where he has started all four available Premier League 2 fixtures since finalising a £1.5m move from NordicBet Liga outfit Silkeborg IF.
Should Moyes promote Alves to the first-team?
Yes, he has real potential
No, he isn’t ready yet
Moyes and his backroom team allegedly have no doubt that the 21-year-old is capable of playing in the Premier League next term, despite him being left an unused substitute in each of his six sporadic inclusions in a first-team matchday squad to date.
West Ham did not envisage Alves competing for a first-team role when they finalised his arrival in December, having returned to Silkeborg to complete the transfer which fell through on Deadline Day in October.
Moyes’ role in negotiations is thought to have been key to the Irons beating competition from Leeds United and Norwich City, after the Hammers boss went out of his way to speak with Alves and his representatives to explain how he saw the defender developing in east London.
Alves in, Balbuena out?
West Ham planning on awarding Alves a prominent role in Moyes’ centre-half group next season could be a further sign that Balbuena’s time in claret and blue is nearing its end, with the Paraguayan’s contract due to expire in the summer.
Reports have suggested that four sides are monitoring the defender’s situation with a view to signing Balbuena in the off-season, with Flamengo, Internacional, a Saudi Arabian outfit and a team from Major League Soccer all keeping close tabs on developments.
The 29-year-old would prefer to secure a move back to Brazil following his time in South America with Brasileirao side Corinthians, from whom West Ham signed the 16-cap international for £6.5m in 2018.
Irons insiders Claret & Hugh have also suggested that Balbuena has made his mind up and will leave the Premier League in the summer, feeling that his future is no longer at the London Stadium after losing his place in the side to Craig Dawson in December.
Balbuena opened 15 of the Hammers’ initial 18 fixtures across all competitions during the 2020/21 campaign, but has only featured for 90 minutes in the club’s following 14 games played since after starting January’s FA Cup win over League One side Doncaster Rovers.
West Ham being 99 per cent certain of retaining Dawson beyond his season-long loan from Watford would also see that minutes will be thin and far between for Balbuena next term, especially if Alves is promoted to the first-team.
So, all things considered, it seems as if Moyes is forcing Balbuena out at West Ham as he looks to stamp his mark even further on the squad assembled by Manuel Pellegrini.