By Joe Ellis

15th Dec, 2022 | 9:10pm

Pablo Maia favours West Ham United move to follow teammate Luizao

West Ham have moved into the lead of the race to sign Pablo Maia from Sao Paulo due to his preferences, according to The Mirror.

The Irons are already on the brink of signing Luizao from the Brazilian top-flight side on a free transfer and his impending move to the London Stadium could persuade Maia to follow him.

AC Milan and FC Porto are both very keen on signing the 20-year-old defensive midfielder but he is now siding towards a West Ham transfer, especially with Lucas Paqueta also at Rush Green.

Maia played a whopping 32 times for Sao Paulo last season as he helped them to finish ninth in Brazil’s premier football league but he failed to score in any of them.

He did pick up three goals in other competitions but is not primarily a goalscorer, similar to Luizao who is a central defender for Sao Paulo, for now.

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Two 20-year-old Brazilians might not be the biggest of headlines for the January transfer window but the potential in both of them is extremely high and could easily pay the club back tenfold or more in the future.

Maia, in particular, could be a very good prospect to sign having established himself as a regular already in the Sao Paulo squad and held his own against very experienced campaigners.

It isn’t too dissimilar to what Declan Rice went through earlier in his career as he made his way into the West Ham team and stood tall while opponents tried to knock him down.

With the captain’s future uncertain to say the least, David Moyes may well be looking at Maia as somebody who could step into his gigantic shoes further down the line.

If that is the case, then getting him into the club as soon as possible is the perfect move to make and a double dose of Brazilian flavour might be the medicine this Irons squad needs.