It’s truly the end of an era as we’re now getting used to life after the dazzling jewel of our team, Manuel Lanzini. It wasn’t a bad breakup – no one threw things, no one yelled, he just came to the end of his contract and it was genuinely the right time for both parties to move on.
Lanzini is leaving West Ham in a far better state than when he found it, so although it hurts to see him leave, we’re looking back at his time in east London in a haze of gratitude and admiration. As many of you will remember, Lanzini originally joined us on loan in the summer of 2015 in a now unheard-of move from the middle east to Europe, rather than the other way around.
He quickly impressed with his quick feet and stylish play, and his move soon became permanent. Lanzini has always been nicknamed The Jewel in the teams he’s played in, but when he joined the Hammers, the world became his oyster.
He impressed as one of our best creative flair players, and he stayed consistently prolific through his first seasons in claret and blue. Sadly for Lanzini, rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament while in a training session for Argentina held him back from the heights he truly had been capable of reaching.
Don’t get me wrong, he worked incredibly hard to return, but never quite got back to 100%. Still, a player of Lanzini’s quality is still a valuable asset even at 80%, and he still managed to provide some heart-stopping moments of joy that will stay in our hearts and minds for years to come.
Lanzini scored 32 goals and made 226 appearances in all competitions, but it’s his stunning goals against Crystal Palace in 2021/22 and his late equaliser at Tottenham in the 2020/21 season that will be most fondly remembered. Lanzini loved scoring against Crystal Palace – scoring twice there in 2023 – but it was his volleyed effort in 2022 that earned him our goal of the season for the year.
His immense strike against Tottenham also won him a goal of the season award, and as well as being a fantastic strike, the context made it even more special given the timing and it coming in a game where we had initially gone 3-0 down – and stayed 3-0 down until the 82nd minute. It was such a shame that the incredible strike against Spurs happened in an empty stadium in the COVID era, but the ‘limbs’ from that one would have killed people. People would have died.
Lanzini’s departure is the end of an era for West Ham, but ultimately, it was likely the right call for the club and the player to part ways. Manuel Lanzini still has a lot to offer, and he should be playing regular first team football, even if it’s not for West Ham.
Given the calibre of what he can offer and the goals he can score, you could be forgiven for being surprised that he didn’t feature more in one of either West Ham’s league struggles or their European triumphs. We did not have much depth in the squad in the 2022/23 season; and it was compounded by Moyes largely playing the same team domestically and abroad, with the exceptions of Flynn Downes and Alphonse Areola, leaving less opportunity for Lanzini to make his mark.
However, he did make an appearance in eleven of our cup-winning Conference League season and did well to take the opportunities he was given. He did earn his European Conference League medal. It’s always sad to see a well-liked, friendly, and loyal player leave – and of course the player who made so many Hammers happy over eight seasons delivered a heartfelt and gracious leaving letter, telling the fans ‘it is hard to say goodbye to the place where one is happy.’
He continued: ‘I arrived as a child and I leave as a man both personally and also in football’. Lanzini has always been a class act both on and off the pitch, and we wish him well in his new adventures playing for his childhood club. They’ve got a real gem of a player there, and we’ll always remember this jewel’s value here in east London.