Hammers target Zapata – Report

Brighton defender Adam El-Abd has signed a new two-year contract

with the south-coast club.

The Brighton-born 28-year-old, who had been interesting

Barnsley, will stay at the Amex Stadium until the end of the

2014/15 season, which will see him complete 10 years with the


“I’m absolutely delighted to have signed the new deal,” he told

the club’s official website.

“I love playing for the club and I can’t wait for the season to

start now.

“I’ve been keeping myself fit in the gym and although it’s not

the same as doing pre-season, I feel really good and I’ll

definitely be fit for the start of the season.

“The last 10 years have been amazing and I feel really honoured

to have been granted a testimonial year by the club.”

El-Abd has made over 250 appearances for Brighton since he made

his first-team debut in 2003.

The 22-year-old striker is currently with Argentine giants

Estudiantes and a host of clubs have been tracking the

£10million-rated marksman.

Borussia Dortmund, Lyon, Besiktas and Benfica have all shown an

interest in the Colombian, who scored 14 goals last season in the

Argentine top flight.

However, West Ham – who have strong links in South America –

have been keeping tabs on Zapata for a number of months and they

have now decided to make a move for the powerful 6ft 2in


Zapata is yet to make his full debut for Colombia, but it is

believed he will be part of their squad before next summer’s World

Cup finals, which they are on course to qualify for.

Zapata is being tipped to become the next Colombian to break

into European football following on from the likes of Radamel

Falcao and James Rodriguez, who began on the same career path from

their homeland, to Argentina and then Europe.