West Ham United are keen on £9 million-rated midfielder Pablo Maia as the Premier League outfit close in on Sao Paulo team-mate Luizao, according to UOL, writes the HITC.
Maia, in his defence, was never going to give a direct answer to reports linking him with a January move to Fulham. In conversation with UOL, amid claims that Marco Silva’s side have submitted a £6.5 million bid for his services, the 20-year-old midfielder was reluctant to give too much away, even if he did admit that ‘it is a dream of mine to play in Europe.
Sao Paulo have rejected an opening offer of around £6.5 million from Fulham. They are, according to reports, holding out for £9 million.
It remains to be seen if West Ham are willing to pay such a sum, with the Londoners already closing in on Maia’s Sao Paulo team-mate Luizao. The 20-year-old centre-half, who is also on Fulham’s radar, will become a free-agent in January. Luizao will reportedly join West Ham sooner rather than later.
“There must be players who leave. Probably six, seven, or eight players will leave. Luizao is very likely to leave,” admits Sao Paulo coach Rogerio Ceni. “Not that the club wants it, but (he will leave) because of the player’s desire.
“The contract is expiring in January. We will have some departures and changes. It’s part of (football). It’s a painful process.”
It remains to be seen whether Maia follows in Luizao’s footsteps. The 20-year-old Brazilian has less than 12 months remaining on his own contract, and a Sao Paulo side who lost highly-rated winger Marquinhos to Arsenal over the summer may have no real choice but to cash in if West Ham, Fulham or fellow suitors Nottingham Forest are willing to pay the £9 million fee required for the highly-rated, tough-tackling midfield enforcer.
“Pablo Maia plays as the (deep-lying) midfielder. He gives security to our defence,” explains Sao Paulo chief Muricy Ramalho. “He has a good pass too. He’s not just about marking (opposition forwards).
“Nowadays, the midfielder has to play too, and he has a good pass. Of course, he does the simple things but he keeps the ball. He gives stability to Sao Paulo.”