West Ham United playmaker Manuel Lanzini’s return to fitness in the second half of the season hasn’t quite gone how everyone expected.
The 26-year-old, an integral player for the Hammers over the past few years, has struggled to reproduce the form he so regularly displayed before going down prior to last summer’s World Cup in Russia.
In West Ham’s 3-0 victory over Southampton on Saturday, we saw a continuation of that, as the Argentine stood out like a sore thumb amid a fine team performance at the London Stadium.
Nobody is advocating Lanzini’s sale this summer – he is still recovering from a long term injury of course – but there’s no doubt that his severe lack of form is giving manager Manuel Pellegrini a big headache at the moment.
The midfielder, on a reported £70,000-per-week at the club [Source: Spotrac], flopped once more against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, something which has become a regular occurrence over the past few months.
It looked for much of the game like his teammates were deliberately trying to find him with the ball, as they looked to get him back up to speed after a recent niggling injury.
However, that never truly happened and he struggled to make an impact from start to finish on Saturday. What was most worrying against the Saints was his poor decision-making, something which never used to be an issue for the former Al Jazira Club star.
Again, there’s no reason to panic unduly given the unique circumstances, but there is a palpable level of disappointment within the Hammers fanbase at how long it’s taking Lanzini to reach the level he was at before his injury.
It’s a shame that he’s struggling so much, because we all know he’s a top class talent. There are few West Ham players with more natural ability than the diminutive Argentine, he’s just struggling to show that at the moment.