John Moncur revealed he was impressed by what he had seen of West Ham playmaker Pablo Fornals so far and stated that he reminded him of Manuel Lanzini.
The retired midfielder, who played 176 times for the Hammers during his career, was asked about Manuel Pellegrini’s side signing the 23-year-old from Villarreal this summer, and he praised the signing.
“Yeah I mean he looks good, I watched him a couple of times obviously for Spain and like all Spanish players he looks sound,” said Moncur in an interview with Ian Abrahams, that the broadcaster uploaded to his personal Instagram account.
“He’s got good energy, he seems like has a good eye for a pass and a good end product, so y’know, reminded me a bit of Lanzini at one point.”
Abrahams then asked Moncur how he thinks Manuel Pellegrini’s side will fare in the Premier League in the upcoming season, and he suggested they should be aiming for a top-half finish.
“I think if we build on next year, it would be fantastic, I’ve said all along Pellegrini coming in, you don’t want to see a massive jump forward and no consistency and I think he has done that,” added the former Hammers
“The way he has done it, the way we started the season last year etc, he’s learning, he’s getting these players to gel together and we’re slowly moving forward, so continue that, add one or two as you say that will improve in the team, and slowly but surely we can sustain a top-half finish.”
Top-half finish? Is that it? Moncur should perhaps be dreaming a little bigger than that for West Ham when it comes to their aims in the Premier League this season, as there’s no harm in aiming for the stars. While the former Hammers midfielder may not want to hedge his bets, a top-half finish is hardly ambitious. This is especially the case when you consider they only finished 14 points behind sixth-placed Manchester United in the 2018/19 season and that have already begun improving their squad. For example, Fornals could be a bit of a gamechanger for the Hammers next season. The 23-year-old was a creative spark for Villarreal in his 2018/19 campaign as he racked up six assists as well as five goals in his 50 appearances. Fornals had a decent pass success rate of 78.1% across the 35 appearances he made in La Liga and more impressively averaged 1.7 shots per game (Source: WhoScored). In comparison, fellow Hammers playmaker Lanzini only averaged 1.1 shots per game in his 2018/19 campaign and 1.6 shots in his 2017/18 season, which is slightly lower than Fornals (Source:WhoScored). So if the Hammers are signing players who can improve them like the Spanish playmaker, why can’t they aim high?