General' faces dilemma: Should Hammers give Balbuena new deal? 
(Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images)

West Ham United are flying high in the Premier League sitting fourth in the table and with a spot in the Champions League being a very real possibility. However, one of their defenders could be leaving in the summer.

Centre back Fabian Balbuena's contract ends in the summer and he has yet to agree on a deal. 

The 29-year-old signed for the East London club in 2018 from Brazilian club Corinthians. 

In his three years at the Irons, he has been in and out of the first team with David Moyes's side currently occupying the European spots, Balbuena has seen himself out of favour so far in 2021. 

At the start of the season, the Paraguay international was a regular CB partner to Angelo Ogbonna but has since dropped down the pecking order due to the performances by Craig Dawson. 

  • Dawson has been a breath of fresh air to the West Ham defence.

Five clean sheets in ten games for the Hammers compared to Balbuena's four is the best record amongst all the players at the club. 

Whilst Dawson has been ever-present in the West Ham defence since the start of the year Balbuena has made it onto the pitch in just one game, the FA Cup game against Doncaster Rovers last month. 

When it comes to aerial battles between Dawson and Balbuena, it is Dawson who comes out on top with the loanee defender winning the ball 27 times compared to Balbuena's 20. 

  • Rotation is West Ham's strongest factor 

As it stands Moyes has a team that has good depth at the centre back position with Ogbonna, Issa Diop, Balbuena and Dawson all being able to rotate. 

Being able to rotate a CB partnership with four different options is something that not many teams in the Premier League are able to achieve. 

With Ogbonna out for up to a month, Balbuena may get a chance to get back into the first team and impress his manager of the next few weeks and to win a new contract. 

If the Irons are to maintain the strong defence they have been known for this season then Balbuena needs to sign a contract before the summer. 

Whether that means that he will be part of the rotation and be starting in the first team next season is yet to be known.

It is vital for the Hammers to get his signature for the future so they can use his experience in the squad in case of injury and also to further the development of the youngsters who are pushing through.