Ask most West Ham fans what they honestly think about Dimitri Payet, and you may get a grimace, shrug or downright abuse, however, it wasn’t always so. The Frenchman reigned supreme in East London in his 18 months in England, but inexplicably angled for a move back to Marseille and left in January in seemingly bad blood.
However, there maybe life after the mercurial playmaker, and the good news is that West Ham have a ready replacement, and he is Manuel Lanzini. The 23-year-old Argentine has impressed since moving from the Middle East in 2015, and is now one of the first names on Slaven Bilic’s team sheet.
Lanzini may not be blessed with the raw, almost unbelievable quality of Payet, yet, at 23, there is growing feeling that his best years are still ahead of him, and could be a club legend.
He may not be that fantastic on set pieces like Payet, but his vision and creativity is remarkable. The West Ham number 10 is a danger on the ball, and could unlock defended with the eye of a needle.
He has been likened to Phillippe Coutinho, but is nowhere near the Brazilian when the statistics books are opened. That may be partly due to the form of West Ham strikers, who were quite atrocious in the first half of the season.
In recent weeks though, West Ham have turned the corner with Andy Carroll in particular impressing. Lanzini, however still has to work on his finishing and assist delivery, as he has only delivered 5 and 2 respectively.
Lanzini has all the potential to be impressive with the right support at West Ham and the reality is that he won’t do a Payet when he wants to leave the club.