Manuel Lanzini has been sidelined for the entirety of the season so far, depriving Manuel Pellegrini of an incredibly talented playmaker in the process.
West Ham have plenty of quality players within the squad but the presence of a fully fit central attacking midfielder continues to elude them.
Samir Nasri’s January arrival was presumably made with that problem in mind, but he has suffered from a calf injury of late.
However, according to quotes from Manuel Pellegrini last week, Lanzini could be in line to return to the squad to face Fulham on February 23rd.
"We hope that Manu Lanzini will be ready for Fulham, at least for the bench." – Manuel Pellegrini
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) February 7, 2019
The Chilean’s admission has already got supporters eagerly anticipating his return, and they took to Twitter on his birthday on Friday to heap praise on the 26-year-old midfielder.
Indeed, plenty of fans believe that he has been a huge miss this season, and the prospect of seeing him link up with the likes of Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic is naturally evoking huge reason for them to feel optimistic for the future.
After such an extended period of time on the sideline there’s no doubt it will take the Argentine a few weeks if not months to reach top form, but once he’s back in full flow Pellegrini will have an exciting set of midfield options at his disposal.
Here’s what the Hammers’ faithful have had to say about Lanzini’s return:
Anderson to the left, Manny at the center, Yarmolenko to the right with Arnie as the 9. Next season looks neat
— Segun (@Jojo_Official1) February 15, 2019
What a player when he’s fit fair play
— SCFC (@LT_1407) February 15, 2019
— Mark Hodson (@MarkPHodson) February 15, 2019
Great to have him back . I really am hoping with can get the old Arnie back , what a three with Anderson we would have . Coyi
— ToneHammer (@tone_hammer) February 15, 2019
Can not wait to see him back in action! We’ve missed his creativity so much
— Tom Guy (@TomGuy93) February 15, 2019
Happy birthday gorgeous one hope you are getting stronger every day we miss you
— Mary (@ZaynafamilyMary) February 15, 2019
Manuuuuuuuuu weve really really missed u. Aint nobody
— tracey andrews (@lemlem75) February 15, 2019
Couple him with Felipe Anderson and we may have a blood bath
— Lando Calrissian (@kweku_Tunechi) February 15, 2019
can’t wait for him to be back. hopefully only a few weeks away. If not Fulham hopefully he can terrorise City
— Angus | Purge (@IGreatPurge) February 15, 2019