‘Aint nobody like lanzini’ as the song goes, and when the little Argentinian is in form there are few in our squad who can reach his level.
But form for the jewel has been almost non existent for quite some time.
I have been a massive fan of Lanzini ever since his loan move during the final season at the Boleyn back in 2015/16 and like the vast majority of our fanbase, I was delighted when he became a permanent member of the squad the following season.
The farewell Boleyn season will rightly be remembered as the Dimitri Payet season given his simply breathtaking displays, but in my opinion Lanzini was certainly not far behind.
Coming into the squad as an entirely unknown quantity and what could well have been forecast to be yet another optimistic but ultimately disappointing loan gamble, Manuel really stepped up to the plate and delivered many sparkling displays, littered with goals and assists.
Lanzini played 39 games in his first season as an official Hammers player and finished as runner up to Hammer of the Year Michail Antonio.
La Joya as he is nicknamed in his native Argentina secured his name in the our history books by scoring the winner in the first derby against Spurs at the London Stadium, putting a severe dent in the north London sides title bid.
The hard work and good consistent performances earned our number 10 a call up to the Argentinian national squad, he subsequently made his debut in one of football’s greatest spectacles, a friendly match with great rivals Brazil in Australia of all places.
However it was on national duty that Lanzini’s career would begin to falter. After impressing in friendly matches, Manuel secured himself a place in the 23-man Argentina squad for the 2018 World Cup, but disaster struck when during training Lanzini ruptured his anterior knee ligament and was ruled out of the World Cup and for the foreseeable future.
Sadly the playmaker has never been the same since, and one tends to think of the parallels with Dean Ashton’s international training injury and eventual end to his career, while Lanzini has been able to return to Premier League action on a consistent basis he is far from the player that turned up for international duty back in 2018.
It takes a frustrating amount of time for recovery from such an injury but one must begin to question if the form of previous years are to return at all.
There are moments when you see flashes of the quality we all know Lanzini possesses but these have been few and far between.
All of this has inevitably led to speculation as to the Argentine’s future, with reports linking him with moves to Turkey as well a potential return to his homeland.
However given recent early pre-season reports of his positive displays in training coupled with him scoring and putting on a good showing in the 5-1 friendly demolition of Wycombe Wanderers, I would be in favour of giving him one last chance at the Irons.
We all know the quality he has at his disposal and realise that the player is still in there somewhere.
I don’t feel we have a player within our ranks who can carry the ball and has the vision that Manuel does.
Given our lack of resources it could be argued that we need to move players like him on but i would question if we could find a player even close to Lanzini’s ability with the fee that he would command based upon his form since returning from that knee injury.
I would rather throw that last life line to a player such as Lanzini, who does look genuinely interested and has a valid excuse for his drop off in form, than give the same opportunity to a big money flop like Anderson who looks notably disinterested and has rarely showed anything that would speak to his large transfer fee and wage.
As football fans patience is rarely our best quality but i think we should stick with our number 10 for one more season, if we were able to get even three quarters the player he was pre-summer 2018 then he will be a huge asset to our team and an exciting player to watch once again.
Who knows, this time next year we could all be singing that song again as Manuel Lanzini makes us happy and plays the West Ham way.