Manuel Lanzini is nearing a return to full fitness at West Ham United.
Manuel Pellegrini confirmed in a press conference on Thursday, per West Ham United’s official website, that the Argentina international could make a long-awaited return against Fulham, and that in turn could be good news for Felipe Anderson.
Lanzini has been out all season, with the 25-year-old sustaining a heartbreaking knee injury prior to the 2018 World Cup.
After being called up by his country, Lanzini was subsequently ruled out of the tournament, and some feared he may miss the entirety of the 2018-19 season, too.
Instead, he is set to make a comeback in the upcoming London derby next week, and it will come as a major boost to those around him.
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Lanzini enjoyed a successful 2017-18 campaign, making 27 appearances for the Hammers and providing seven assists, while scoring five goals.
His performances were such that he could have lined up alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero in Russia but his injury robbed him of the chance.
Now he is nearing a return, Lanzini will be out to prove his worth all over again and can help lighten the load of responsibility on Anderson.
The Brazilian international has essentially been tasked with becoming West Ham’s creator-in-chief since his move to the club from Lazio.
He has performed admirably in the role, too, scoring eight goals and laying on three assists already this season.
But Lanzini’s return could well see Anderson granted a free role under Pellegrini.
And that would surely see him thrive.
The South American is a brilliant technical dribbler and knows that he can beat his man in any one-on-one situation.
With his load lightened, and with Lanzini pulling the strings, Anderson will be free to wreak havoc on opposition defences.
When you add a firing Marko Arnautovic into the mix, too, things look very rosy indeed for the Irons.