Spanish champions FC Barcelona are looking to sell highly-rated defender Marlon Santos this summer amid interest from West Ham United.
West Ham United have received a huge boost in their pursuit of Marlon Santos this week as the Brazilian won’t remain with OGC Nice next season and thus, returns to his parent club FC Barcelona. The Catalans, however, are apparently seeking a buyer for the 22-year-old, who has made only two appearances in La Liga after moving from Fluminense.
According to reports from Spanish news outlet Sport, Barcelona want more than €15m for the defensive starlet, who spent the last season on loan to Nice. Even though West Ham United have dipped from their original offer, Marlon seems like a viable target for the Hammers as they look to impress in the Premier League next season.
The Londoners were tracking him at the backend of May but have now shifted their focus to Swansea City’s Alfie Mawson in recent days. But considering the fact that Barcelona are now keen to get rid of the Brazilian talent this summer, the English outfit could potentially be presented with the chance of signing him on a cut-price.
Marlon first played in Europe in 2016/17 season, when he was a part of Barcelona B squad. His impressive performances earned him a permanent move in the following season. But due to lack of play time, the defender was shipped off to OGC Nice on a season-long loan deal last summer, which proved to be a turning point in his career.
The 22-year-old established himself a key part of Nice’s defensive department, featuring in 23 league outings. He built a formidable defensive partnership alongside Maxime Le Marchand, helping Nice to remain solid throughout the course of the campaign.
Guardian reported last month that West Ham were worried about his lack of physicality, which might prove to be a problem in the Premier League. But having said that, Marlon Santos is undoubtedly a talented individual who bags a lot of potential. Even in the early days of his professional career, the 22-year-old was deemed as one of the hottest prospects in a pool of highly talented Brazilian players.
The native of Rio de Janeiro was a part of Brazil’s U-20 and U-23 sides, where he made quite an impression. With the U-20s, the youngster helped his country reached the final of the 2015 World Cup, where they lost to Serbia in the final. A smart operator on the pitch, Marlon Santos’ style of play is compared with Brazil’s defensive stalwart Thiago Silva. In fact, both of these defenders stem from the Fluminense youth academy.
As for West Ham, they have had their fair share of troubles in recent years, especially in the defence. Despite boasting some proven individuals in the defensive department, the Hammers lack the presence of someone who can instigate the backline.
Therefore, the addition of Marlon Santos will be a breath of fresh air for the West Ham supporters, who will be optimistic of their chances in the Premier League next season, following the appointment of former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini.