West Ham have seen their initial bid to sign River Plate right-back Gonzalo Montiel rejected, with Schalke also harbouring an interest in the player.
The 23-year-old Argentina international has been a target for the Hammers for some time, and now that their Premier League status is secured for another season, they were thought to be favourites to sign the full back.
However according to Marca, the Irons made an initial bid of €7m last week, which was subsequently rejected by River Plate, owing to it not meeting their valuation.
Bundesliga outfit Schalke have also entered the race for Montiel with the German club willing to offer €5m for the 80% of his transfer rights – the portion owned by River Plate. The remaining 20% belongs to his family.
It is thought that the West Ham offer would have covered all of the rights combined, but would still fall well short of the €20m release clause in the players’ contract. Despite the substantial exit clause, River Plate would be willing to negotiate at half the price, closer to the €10m mark.
Initially the sticking point for West Ham was whether they would remain in the Premier League next season with Montiel – who can play on the wing as well as in defence – not wanting to join a Championship side. Now that their status is secure for another year, the Hammers are certainly more appealing for the defender.
The players representatives, speaking at the end of June, previously seemed to indicate a deal could be finalised once the league status and financial wrangling had been completed.
“We are waiting for the tournament to end. If West Ham continues in first place it is a very firm possibility and Montiel has the decision to go and play in England,” Telam reported via Marca.
“The player’s contract is an issue that will be resolved quickly because we already know the offer, then you have to see what River’s claims are so that it is convenient for everyone.”
West Ham – who ensured their safety with a 1-1 draw at Manchester United on Wednesday – are in need of defensive reinforcements after the departures of long serving Pablo Zabaleta and talented prospect Jeremy Ngakia; leaving out of favour Ryan Fredericks and academy product Ryan Johnson as the only right-backs at the club.