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Pellegrini keen on Chilean defender

Filed: Saturday, 16th March 2019
By: Staff Writer

West Ham are being linked with a move for Alaves central defender Guillermo Maripan.

The Chilean international is reported to be a key target of fellow countryman Manuel Pellegrini this summer with West Ham reported to have already seen a £10million bid for the 24-year-old rejected, according to Spanish sources.

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But despite that previous setback, Pellegrini is keen to revisit the possibility of signing Maripan at the end of the season - even though clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have also been linked with the player in recent months.

A back-up defender until the beginning of the current campaign, Maripan has proved to be one of La Liga's big successes this year having stepped into the position vacated by regular first-teamer Rodrigo Ely, who has missed the entire 2018/19 season through injury.

Maripan has helped Alaves to fifth place in the Spanish top flight, a point behind fourth-placed Getafe with 44 points from 28 games - much to the surprise of La Liga pundits, many of whom predicted the club to do no better than last season's 14th-place finish.

Those same pundits have already compared the 6'4" centre half to the likes of Barca's legendary Gerard Piqué and Real's Sergio Ramos and it is unlikely that West Ham will be without competition, should they proceed with their interest in Maripan.

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"Despite being tall he is not slow at all, and he likes to play with the ball at his feet," said Borja Mallo, editor of News of Alava. "It is true: he has an air of Piqué, whom, as he has said several times, he admires. But Guillermo is also a physical player, as was Sergio Ramos at his age.

"What he has done this year is sensational. He is playing at an impressive level and playing very, very well in all facets. He has good anticipation, is very powerful in the air and plays intelligently, usually being in the right place at the right time."

And according to Mallo, Alaves have already reluctantly accepted that they are unlikely to be able to hold onto their prized asset beyond this season. "It seems that his time in the team is going to end soon," he said. "Alaves expect an important sale, it's the syndrome of the small teams.

"When a team with Alaves' budget is fifth in a tournament as important as the Spanish League there are a multitude of clubs in Europe, Asia and the Middle East that will be looking to sign their players. Because of his performances and age, Maripan is the most desirable at present."

Related News

   arrow   In brief - Friday's news round-up [3rd May 2019]
   arrow   In brief - Tuesday's news round-up [19th Mar 2019]
   arrow   Pellegrini keen on Chilean defender [16th Mar 2019]

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