Pablo Zabaleta: West Ham to sign defender on free transfer

Pablo Zabaleta
Zabaleta is Manchester City's third longest-serving player after Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany

West Ham are to sign defender Pablo Zabaleta on a free transfer once his Manchester City contract expires at the end of June.

The 32-year-old Argentine will join on a two-year deal on 1 July.

He is leaving Manchester City after nine years, and is the club's third-longest serving player after Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany.

"Sometimes a new challenge is what you need as a person and a player. I hope I can give you good moments," he said.

"I'm ready for it and looking forward to it. I wanted to keep playing in the Premier League. It is an absolute pleasure to be part of West Ham."

Zabaleta, who started 22 games in all competitions for City this season, was given an emotional send-off by the club's fans in the last home game of the season on 17 May.

He joined the Manchester club from Espanyol for £6.5m in 2008 and went on to make 333 appearances, winning two league titles, the FA Cup and two League Cups.

Earlier on Friday, West Ham announced that loanees Jonathan Calleri and Gokhan Tore would be returning to Deportivo Maldonado and Besiktas respectively, while Spanish full-back Alvaro Arbeloa will leave when his contract expires on 30 June.

West Ham retained/released list

Released, first-team: Alvaro Arbeloa

Released, under-23s: Sam Howes, Sam Ford, Kyle Knoyle, Sam Westley

One-year contracts, under-23s: Moses Makasi, Noha Sylvestre, Alex Pike

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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