West Ham United were heavily linked with Club Brugge midfielder Hans Vanaken throughout the summer transfer window, and the Belgium international could have been a big upgrade on Manuel Lanzini in David Moyes’ squad.
The Hammers submitted a number of bids for Vanaken, who was reportedly keen on a move to the London Stadium, but a deal could not be done before the deadline, with the 30-year-old remaining at Club Brugge.
Lucas Paqueta instead joined the Irons in a club-record deal from Lyon and the Brazilian could be a quality addition if he continues his form from France into the Premier League, having contributed nine goals and six assists last season.
However, the arrival of Vanaken could have paved the way for Lanzini to leave the London Stadium, and it now seems as if the Argentine will be paid £70k per week to sit on the bench for much of the season, potentially until his contract expires next summer.
He netted three goals and four assists in just five appearances in that campaign for his national team and earned a 7.91 WhoScored rating, which emphasises his ability to play at the top level with world-class players such as Kevin De Bruyne.
According to WhoScored, he excels at through balls, key passes, dribbling and passing, which are all desirable attributes for an attacking midfielder. Also, at 6 foot 5 he can provide a big threat in the air, which has been a big part of West Ham’s success in recent campaigns, with 14 goals scored from set pieces last season.
Club Brugge manager Carl Hoefkens spoke about Vanaken’s influence amid West Ham’s interest during the summer, saying: “Hans is an incredible player who has already done a lot for this club. He also has a big influence on our way of playing football.”
By comparison, Lanzini contributed just five goals and three assists in 30 Premier League appearances for Moyes’ side in 2021/22, averaging a disappointing 6.64 rating from WhoScored.
Therefore, it is a shame that West Ham couldn’t agree on a deal with the Belgian champions for Vanaken, as he could have been a much better fit in Moyes’ team than the Argentine.