Reports suggest West Ham fancy a swoop for Nice wonderkid Allan Saint-Maximin this summer, and he could be the perfect man to fill Manuel Lanzini’s boots.
Lanzini’s knee injury could rule him out for the entire 2017-18 season, and is a huge spanner in the works of Manuel Pellegrini’s transfer plans.
The Chilean manager not only needs to replace the creativity lost by Lanzini’s injury, but also the spark that gets fans off their seats, the ability to change a game in an instant.
While Nice’s Saint-Maximin is still only 21, the young attacker could help fill the void left by Lanzini, and the Hammers should absolutely take a gamble on him.
According to popular insider ExWHUEmployee, the club have “identified” the versatile youngster as a target, while also scouting his teammate, Jean Michael Seri.
Saint-Maximin is incredibly quick, skilful and versatile. He would be a really exciting addition for the Hammers.
As with so many young players, the biggest weakness in Saint-Maximin’s game right now is end product, scoring just five goals this season despite averaging 1.4 shots per game across 40 appearances in all competitions.
However, the 21 year-old improved massively in the second half of the season, and his pace and direct dribbling is a terrifying prospect for any defender.
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The exciting youngster, valued at £18m by Transfermarkt, grabbed eight assists last season (more than Lanzini’s six), while averaging 1.5 key passes per game.
Aforementioned, the young Frenchman’s most impressive trait is his quick feet, completing a remarkable 3.6 dribbles per game in Ligue 1 this season.
Perhaps what Pellegrini will miss most about Lanzini is his versatility, as the little Argentine likes to pop up in various positions and make things happen. Saint-Maximin could help in this regard too, having played on both flanks and even through the middle as a number ten at times this season.
While the talented youngster is not a direct “like for like” replacement for the injured Lanzini, he would help recover some of the flair and creativity lost by the 25 year-old’s injury.
So, West Ham fans, should you take a punt on the £18m rated Saint-Maximin? Can he help fill Lanzini’s boots? Let us know by voting in the poll below…