As Sky Sports report, West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini has returned to training after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury last summer which ruined his World Cup campaign with Argentina. The news is surely a huge boost for Manuel Pellegrini, but how will the midfielder’s availability – once back to full fitness – change the way the Hammers look?
A clever creator, Lanzini can be likened to David Silva in his ability to get himself into and find others in pockets of space and he has done so for two-and-a-half years in claret and blue.
Capable of playing all across the midfield but at his best as a number 10, the 25-year-old would feel like a new signing once match fit considering that the Hammers have been plagued by injuries this season and that the diminutive playmaker himself has been out for almost eight months.
The thought of Lanzini linking up with summer signing Felipe Anderson is a mouthwatering prospect, but who does the former Al-Jazira man replace?
Unfortunately, Samir Nasri’s run in the starting XI could soon be over before it has truly begun; even if the 31-year-old was surprisingly impressive in his Prem debut against Arsenal, he would have to do put in some special performances to keep Lanzini warming the bench.
Anderson is undroppable and Lanzini won’t be playing up front any time soon, so the only other potential victim of the latter’s return would be Michail Antonio – the former Nottingham Forest man is industrious but extremely wasteful sometimes – it would depend what Pellegrini wants from his wide-man as to whether Antonio or Lanzini plays out wide.
However, if the Chilean does indeed opt for Lanzini on the right wing, there is now doubt that would be a waste of his talent as he is one of the best central attacking-mids outside the top six – Nasri must be dropped.