Since Dimitri Payet left the club in January, Manuel Lanzini has really stepped up to the plate with two goals and three assists in West Ham’s last five games.
Many believe that ‘the little jewel’ will make the step up and fill the sizeable void Payet left but could the Hammers be dealing with a similar situation with Lanzini as they did with Payet?
Speaking to TyC Sports, the 24-year-old outlined his intentions to one day return to his boyhood club River Plate back in Argentina.
“Obviously projecting into the future is difficult because you never know, but I want to go back to the club where I was born, where I grew up and I’m a fan,” Lanzini said.
“It’s what I want for my career, I do not know when it will happen, but it’s what I want for some time.”
Lanzini joined the Hammers on an initial season-long loan from UAE side Al Jazira in the summer of 2015, a move which was made permanent last summer for a reported £9m following a successful debut season in English football, and the Argentine has reiterated that he is happy at West Ham and with all the career decisions he’s made to date.
“Today I am happy, in West Ham they make me feel at home.
“But obviously you have to [look at] your career, if I do things right, and the options come alone and are analysed. I hope to continue this way.
“I am happy with the decisions I made. It was not easy at the time I left for the UAE. It was a difficult decision, but I do not regret it. I’m enjoying it today, I’m happy about how we’re doing at West Ham.”
Lanzini, who has made 60 appearances for the Hammers, scoring on 12 occasions, says that nothing compares to playing in the River – Boca derby back in Argentina.
“I’m glad for everything that happened to River, I’m proud, there are many team-mates I know, the kind of people that make me very happy.
“I played Fluminense vs Flamengo, here [for West Ham] against Tottenham, but nothing resembles River vs Boca. I see the images and my face of satisfaction in the goal. I did not know how to celebrate.”
Payet left the Hammers in January because he wanted to return to Marseille, the club he left for the Hammers. Let’s hope that Lanzini doesn’t have such a swift change of heart.