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West Ham United had a disappointing first season at London Stadium as they slipped to a 11th placed league finish and failed to qualify for the group stages of UEFA Europa League competition following a shambolic playoff exit against Romanian outfit FC Astra Giurgiu. Slaven Bilic, the Hammers boss, had an imposing inception of his debut managerial campaign in Premier League football and finished 7th in the league, defying all odds. The Croatian tactician, however, could not match the expectations last term following a few inefficacious transfer recruits and was blamed for his business policy.
Bilic, who previously had a spell with the Irons during his playing days, has been relied upon by the management following prolonged discussions and the gaffer, too, has been precise and cautious about new signings. West Ham United have done pretty well in summer so far – they have strengthened their last line of defence by bringing in English custodian Joe Hart on loan from league heavyweights Manchester City.
Pablo Zabaleta, his former teammate, has also joined the Hammers on a Bosman transfer after being released by the Citizens. Bilic has wrapped up a deal for former Stoke City winger and Premier League veteran Marko Arnautovic too. But the utmost one has been the signing of Mexican hitman Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez – the former Manchester United marksman who completed a £16m switch from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen.
Very few of West Ham’s resources had a distinguished 2016-17 campaign. Manuel Lanzini (whose loan move from Al Jazira was made permanent last summer) has to be one of them, who was arguably their brightest star in an apparent gloomy backdrop. The £12.7m rated Argentine was one of Bilic’s early recruits when he joined the hammers following an impressive managerial stint with Turkish giants Besiktas.
The midfielder has netted 15 times in 70 appearances across all competitions and has become a key figure for the Londoners. His excellence earned him an international call up under new boss Jorge Sampaoli and the hammers sensation registered his full international debut on 9 June against arch rivals Brazil in a 1-0 friendly win.
Lanzini, predominantly an attacking midfielder, is also swift on the left wing as well as in a slightly deeper midfield role. But the presence of Arnautovic on the left flank will allow him to concentrate on as a ‘number 10’ with Cheikhou Kouyate, Pedro Obiang and skipper Mark Noble operating from behind. As per reports, league rivals Liverpool inquired about his availability but the gaffer has decided to block a move this summer for his prized asset.
Lanzini, who progressed through the youth ranks of Argentine big guns River Plate, is hailed for his pace, dribbling skills, long rangers, passing and finishing traits. His link up play is praiseworthy and loves to cut inside and do layoffs. The Argentine is tipped to deliver another stellar show this term and Bilic must combat his exit in order to take the hammers closer to a European spot once more.