Noel Whelan believes that Pablo Zabaleta will be on his way out of West Ham at the end of the season after their embarrassing defeat to Oxford Utd.
The Hammers were dumped out of the Carabao Cup after a heavy 4-0 defeat on Wednesday night, with Manuel Pellegrini making countless changes to his side.
However, that is arguably no excuse for such a bad loss as there was still plenty of quality and experience on the pitch, including Zabaleta in defence.
Whelan though believes that it may well have exposed some weaknesses in the squad, and he has specifically picked out Zabaleta as one player he doesn’t believe will still be at West Ham next season.
“West Ham have some great players and they’re a really exciting side, but it shows what can happen if there are wholesale changes and they’re not up for it” Whelan told Football Insider. “But the back-ups were still easily good enough to win.
“Some of those West Ham players should be worried about their futures. You look at someone like Zabaleta, who was a great Premier League right-back, it looks like his legs have gone and he won’t be at West Ham next season.
“At his age (34), he’s not going to get any quicker and he’s playing in a position where his direct opponents are always quick and skilful.”
With the Argentine stalwart’s current contract coming to an end next summer, it’s difficult to see how he’ll be kept on if he doesn’t show he can step in and play well when called upon.
However, his experience and leadership in the dressing room is perhaps still important for Pellegrini, and so time will tell what decision is made.