There was some desperately sad news for Hammers wide man, Manuel Lanzini after it was confirmed that he had suffered a ruptured anterior knee ligament injury in training with the rest of the Argentina squad. It is a bitter pill for Lanzini to swallow, given that he was expected to start in the nation’s first World Cup group stage fixture. It is equally disappointing news for new Hammers boss, Manuel Pellegrini, who will now have to make do without the Argentine star for at least the first half of the 2018/19 Premier League campaign.
It’s not a good start to Argentina’s preparations for the tournament, with River Plate midfielder, Enzo Perez called up as Lanzini’s fortunate replacement. Despite Argentina’s far-from-convincing World Cup qualification form and their recent 6-1 humiliation by Spain, the Argentines are still rated 10/1 fifth favourites in the World Cup outright betting to lift the Jules Rimet trophy in Moscow. Few savvy punters are likely to touch them at those odds given their heavy reliance on Lionel Messi.
While Argentina have to get used to life without Lanzini for World Cup 2018, United boss, Pellegrini, will be busy beavering away deciding how best to replace Lanzini for the start of the Premier League season in August. Typical ruptured anterior knee ligament injuries take at least 12 months to heal, so it’s quite possible Lanzini could miss next season in its entirety.
Pellegrini has a tough decision to make
There is one crumb of comfort for Hammers fans to take from Lanzini’s injury. Reports suggested Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool were eyeing Lanzini as an alternative to signing Nabil Fekir from Lyon, so the Argentine’s injury will certainly keep him out of the shop window. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at some of the short and long-term candidates that Pellegrini could choose to deputise while Lanzini remains on the sidelines.
James Maddison, Norwich City
The injury to Lanzini could almost certainly see United revive their interest in James Maddison. The enigmatic playmaker enjoyed a stellar season with Norwich City in the Championship last season and is rumoured to be available for around £20m given that the Canaries need to sell to balance the books after failing to return to the top flight.
Edmilson Junior, Standard Liege
23-year-old wide man, Edmilson Junior is reportedly in a tug of war between United and newly promoted London rivals, Fulham this summer. Junior, who plays for Standard Liege in the Belgian Pro League, bagged ten league goals last season. He was part of the Standard team to win the Belgian Cup against Genk, helping Liege to qualify for the UEFA Europa League in the process.
Felipe Anderson, Lazio
West Ham has reportedly been quoted €40m from Felipe Anderson’s club, Lazio. United has already had an initial €20m rebuffed by the Italian giants. Anderson came through the Lazio academy ranks and has made more than a century of appearances across Serie A and the Europa League and would be another solid addition to the Hammers’ creative options.
Marcus Browne, one of our own
Of course, Hammers fans love it when one of their own comes through the ranks into the first team. Marcus Browne could be a leftfield option for Pellegrini, who has been known to give youngsters a chance in the past. Browne has been with the club since 2006 and already made a first team appearance back in August 2016 in the Europa League.