Brought to West Ham in the final season at the Boleyn, Manuel Lanzini endeared himself to fans quickly. But he is out of fashion at the moment, and he does seem to be one of the favourites to leave in the summer.
West Ham fans have always enjoyed technical players or those who will give their all in each match. When Lanzini joined from the unknown, there was a sense of excitement. Then alongside Dimitri Payet, he showed that West Ham can still produce excitement and upsets with some sparkling football along the way.
But in the past year, the Argentinian has failed to sparkle, missing the mark with most of his shots and failing to click with his teammates. In terms of the pecking order, new signing Pablo Fornals has moved above him in Moyes’ estimations, and there really is no position in the side where he is considered in the top 2 choices. So is it going to be the end of his East London story this summer?
The issue Lanzini has had, in my opinion, is that without a player like Payet to take all of the focus from opposing defenders he doesn’t have the ability or strength to hold his own and still create. His ability to create chances came from the opposition being dragged around by other dangerous players, and his movement off of other creators. At the moment our game relies more on raw pace and strength on the ball, not giving him the time he needs on the ball, and he’s not up to it.
I think it’s quite likely that a club from Spain will come in for him and attempt to get a cut-price deal for a talented ball technician. There he will find a bit more space on the ball, fewer frantic pressing sides and bit more time to weave his magic. The only issue for West Ham is that he’s unlikely to fetch the kind of money he would have a year or two ago. Not an ideal position to be in.
My worry for it all is that our time with a clearly talented player is going to come to a disappointing end. One hindered by an injury on international duty (which seems to be a recurring story), and a career that could have been quite special in the right side.
If we were playing Football Manager with unlimited money, I’d keep him for sentiment and the possibility of a re-kindling of the talent. But this might be one of those times where it’s best for both club and player to move on to other things.