By Colin Davies
Sven English Premier League (EPL) sides – the Hammers among them allegedly – are monitoring Mexican international winger Orbelin Pineda.
The 24-year-old, who currently plies his trade for Cruz Azul, has spent the last five-and-a-half seasons in the top-flight of Mexican football.
The tricky, pint-sized winger is now reported in the Mexican media to be considering a move across the Atlantic to Europe, four years after spurning the chance to sign for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Following his first season, his club Guadalajara faced approaches from Manchester City, who were thought to be leading the race for his signature but he later made the move to to Cruz Azul.
He has become a crucial figure in the Cruz Azul squad, which finished fourth in the 2020 Liga MX Apertura and many believe it’s now a case of ‘now or never’ for Pineda to take the plunge.
The Hammers are reported to be interested despite having Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma, who is of course biding his time for a starting berth. Nevertheless, if the Hammers are to start competing in the top half of the EPL they need strength in depth. We are currently priced at 8/1 for relegation in FOX Bet’s EPL futures markets, who are one of the fastest-growing licensed US sports betting operators.
Six other EPL clubs (Spurs, Arsenal, Southampton, Everton, Wolves, and Newcastle) that are said to be courting his signature either. Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven and Ajax are also thought to be interested, along with French Ligue 1 side Monaco and Portuguese Primera Liga outfit FC Porto.
Orbelin’s father played football professionally in Mexico and his brother, Onay, was also a professional.. He plied his trade across Mexico, appearing for the likes of Lobos, Leon, and Cafetaleros.
It’s also worth noting that Pineda’s first season with Queretaro was spent alongside Brazilian icon Ronaldinho. The playmaker left a lasting impression on Pineda and he said in an interview several years ago that Ronaldinho taught him to “always go forward” with the ball and “never backwards”. It’s that kind of positive mentality that David Moyes’ Hammers could use.
Like every other rumour at this stage – several weeks ahead of the January window – a wait and see policy is clearly in place but the pint sized winger may become an option at the right price as David Moyes looks at backup options.