According to reports, West Ham are interested in signing defender Marlon Santos, who has spent the past season on loan at Nice.
Marlon is currently on a two-year loan deal at the Ligue 1 outfit with the club having an option to buy him permanently at the end of the season. The 22-year-old joined Barcelona B from Fluminense on loan in 2016 and was promoted to the first-team under Luis Enrique. After impressing on loan, Barcelona signed him on a permanent basis.
The Brazilian made three appearances for the Catalan side before new manager Ernesto Valverde decided not to include him in his plans for this season, allowing him to head to France.
In France with Nice, Marlon has highly impressed, starting 25 out of 27 games in all competitions. The Brazil Under-23 international’s performances have caught the eyes of West Ham, who reportedly are the favourites to sign him from Barcelona.
West Ham announced the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini as their head coach earlier this week. Pellegrini, who replaced David Moyes, is expected to be handed substantial funds to strengthen the squad ahead of new season.
The Hammers have endured a disastrous couple of seasons since moving to the London stadium. The West Ham board have not fulfilled their promises of quality signings, which has seen the fans witness two entire seasons of mediocrity.
In the recently concluded season, West Ham leaked goals at a premium rate, having a joint-worst defensive record alongside the relegated Stoke City.
Pellegrini has to address the woeful defence by signing a couple of experienced centre-backs. But in a bid to build the team for the future, the Chilean tactician has to clear out the deadwood and bring in a young, promising centre-half.
Marlon would fit the bill perfectly at West Ham. Strong in the air and comfortable with the ball at his feet, the 22-year-old has been a rock at the back for Nice this season. He has shown enough quality to give everyone the idea that he is surely one for the future.
The Brazilian could be the perfect option for the Hammers to take as he will be able to easily cover Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid while adapting to the Premier League without being thrown into obscurity.
Pellegrini can also use Marlon sporadically at the start in order to ease him into life in the Premier League.
At present, West Ham have a fantastic young defensive prospect in Declan Rice, who enjoyed a breakthrough campaign this season. The Irishman, one from the West Ham academy, is the future of the club.
Rice has seemingly made a starting spot his own at West Ham and by signing Marlon in the summer, Pellegrini could build a long-term defensive partnership.
Marlon, after hugely impressing in Nice colours, could become a fine addition to the West Ham ranks. If West Ham sign Marlon and the defender excels in the Premier League, the Brazilian could show Barcelona what they missed in him.