The 2015 summer transfer window wasn’t exactly the most profitable period for several Premier League outfits looking to make a name for themselves this year – yet in the case of West Ham United in particular however – the Upton Park faithful certainly paid witness to a fresh injection of new talent this summer to say the very least.
Joining the newly appointed Slaven Bilic as the man tasked with leading the Hammers through their final season at the beloved Boleyn Ground, the recently acquired likes of Darren Randolph, Pedro Obiang, Dimitri Payet, Angelo Ogbonna, Carl Jenkinson, Alex Song, Nikica Jelavic, Victor Moses and Michail Antonio all have a massive task on their hands this term in ensuring a positive send off for their new club.
However, whilst Bilic has certainly sourced several relatively known stars to aid West Ham’s cause throughout the upcoming campaign, the club’s latest South American loanee – Manuel Lanzini – could perhaps offer his new manager arguably the most potential going into the new term.
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So then, in light of the 22-year-old’s impressive showing against Brendan Rodgers’ rather lack-lustre Liverpool outfit last time out, have West Ham potentially found a ‘jewel’ in Manuel Lanzini?
Well, before the up and coming Argentinean was first introduced at Upton Park over the course of the summer, even the most knowledgeable football fans would admittedly have to be forgiven in their likely unawareness of the young star. The name ‘Lanzini’ wasn’t exactly widely known among the English top-flight in seasons past, even if the creative midfield man had been suitably nick-named ‘the jewel’ back home in Buenos Aires.
Yet after his potential man-of-the-match worthy performance against the Reds at Anfield last weekend – a game in which West Ham’s latest no. 28 scored the opening goal within three minutes and provided a constant threat for the Liverpool back-line throughout – Manuel Lanzini has seemingly begun his Premier League career under the perfect circumstances.
This was not the first time the former River Plate and Al Jazira man had impressed in the claret & blue however, for the confident Argentinean had previously scored in West Ham’s ill-fated Europa League qualifier clash with FC Astra Giurgiu in Romania this summer. As disappointing as that particular match was for the vast majority of Hammers fans wanting to experience at least some form of European football this season, Lanzini’s debut performance was nevertheless one of the only positives to take from the game.
When it comes to providing sustained danger amongst the opposition’s back-line, having the confidence to try a somewhat ambitious shot in and around the penalty area now and then, and simply possessing a level of ball control that only seems to come natural to someone of South American origin – Manuel Lanzini seemingly has a great deal to offer this season.
Whilst most players of his ilk – the creative types who like to play in the hole behind the strikers – rarely seem overly keen on tracking back and helping out their teammates, West Ham’s latest addition somewhat served to buck that particular trend against Liverpool last time out. Lanzini was constantly running the lines and doing the defensive work that most Hammers fans didn’t quite expect from him, regardless of his obvious potential in the final third.
However, to greet the current West Ham loanee with any more than his fair share of credit after one start in the English Premier League would nevertheless seem a tad premature. Lanzini looked good last time out, but as the vast majority of the 2015/16 campaign still remains to be played, anything could still happen in terms of his potential Hammers career.
At 22-years-old, Manuel Lanzini hasn’t even reached the peak years of his playing days just yet. The South American still has a great deal of work to do before he can justify a regular place in Slaven Bilic’s starting XI – especially as Michail Antonio and Victor Moses were successfully sourced by the club to boost their options in the midfield-department for the upcoming season.
Nevertheless, as Bilic has previously handed two Premier League starts to 16-year-old Reece Oxford this campaign, age simply won’t hold back any young player looking to achieve something at Upton Park in 2015/16. With a manager as seemingly forward thinking as Slaven Bilic in charge, Manuel Lanzini has the perfect opportunity to turn his loan spell in the English top-flight into something more meaningful this season.
As West Ham’s new Croatian boss opted to start Lanzini ahead of the now departed Kevin Nolan last time out however, a new era certainly seems to have begun down in the east end this term – regardless of what fate ultimately has in store for the 22-year-old Argentinean.