Liverpool have reportedly set their sights on West Ham playmaker Manuel Lanzini as they prepare for Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona.
Spanish publication Don Balon have reported that Liverpool have started laying the succession plans in preparation of Philippe Coutinho’s possible departure to Barcelona. The Reds are eyeing Manuel Lanzini as the Brazilian’s replacement and are confident of clinching a €25 million deal for the West Ham playmaker.
Lanzini arrived in England as a largely unknown quantity as West Ham signed him from Al Jazira on a season-long loan in the summer of 2015. However, after becoming an instrumental figure in the club’s top half finish in the 2015/16 season, the Hammers signed the player on a permanent basis.
And Lanzini has only continued to add to his burgeoning reputation at the London Stadium, taking on the mantle of West Ham’s talisman following Dimitri Payet’s acrimonious exit earlier this year. His exploits have not gone unnoticed either, with several clubs expressing their interest to sign him.
A club that has been eyeing the player for a long time are Liverpool. But, the Reds have now stepped their pursuit of the Argentine playmaker, with Barcelona hot on the tail of Philippe Coutinho. The Brazil international is being linked with a €100 million move to Camp Nou.
And although Liverpool are unwilling to part ways with their prized asset, they have begun preparations to find a replacement by turning their attention towards Lanzini. The Argentine is similar to Coutinho in playing style with his nimble feet and the dribbling ability that helps him get out of tight spaces with ease.
And while a record of 8 goals and 2 assists from 35 Premier League appearances last season pales in comparison to Coutinho’s 13 goals and 7 assists, it is important to note that Lanzini plays in a team that is far less creative than Liverpool.
Also, the 24-year-old created 56 chances in the Premier League last season, just nine less than Coutinho. The player makes his fair share of contribution on the defensive aspect of the game too, with 33 tackles, 48 interceptions and 11 clearances last season – all far more than what Coutinho produced.
And while West Ham do have more defensive burden than Liverpool, the aforementioned numbers show that Lanzini possesses a superb work rate, something that is sure to have caught Jurgen Klopp’s eyes.
So while the Argentinae might not be at Coutinho’s level yet, he certainly has the qualities to fill the void left by the Brazilian’s possible departure.
Liverpool believe they can clinch a €25 million deal for the player, as per the report. Their preference is still to retain the services of Coutinho, but if the Brazilian does end up leaving we could well see Lanzini make his way to Anfield before the summer transfer window slams shut.