With Barcelona intent on prising Brazilian Philippe Coutinho, 25, away from Anfield this summer, Liverpool are already looking at replacements. The name of Manuel Lanzini, 24, has crossed the mind of Reds manager Jurgen Klopp but West Ham United emphatically denied the Argentinean would be sold.
The Evening Standard, London’s daily newspaper, reports that the Hammers are determined to keep their ‘Jewel’ after a summer of investment in the squad left them in a far better position personnel-wise than twelve months ago.
Liverpool are equally resolute that Coutinho will not be sold. However, reports circulated last week that the player had asked for the chance to play in the Camp Nou. With Naby Keita, 22, off the Klopp ‘wanted’ list, the Merseysiders need to find a replacement quickly.
Lanzini impressed observers last season, stepping up to the plate when Dmitri Payet, 30, ditched West Ham in the January transfer window for a return to Marseille, the club he left 18 months previously to move to London.
In his two seasons in the East End, the Argentinean with Italian roots, has netted 14 Premier League goals in 61 appearances and comfortably assumed the role of playmaker following Payet’s departure.
That form brought him international recognition with new Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli giving the West Ham midfielder his debut during the 1 – 0 win over Brazil in Melbourne. Lanzini’s star is rising and West Ham face a tough job holding onto his talent.