Martin Keown hails West Ham United's Manuel Lanzini

Manuel Lanzini of West Ham United celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium on May 5,...

Martin Keown singles out West Ham United's Manuel Lanzini for praise.

Martin Keown has told The Mail that Manuel Lanzini is West Ham United's key player this season.

West Ham kick off their new Premier League campaign with a tricky visit to big-spending Manchester United on Sunday.

The Irons have also enjoyed a productive summer on the transfer front, bringing in Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez, spending a combined £40 million on the latter two in recent weeks.

Argentina's Manuel Lanzini (L) controls the ball as Singaporean players look on during the international friendly football match between Singapore and Argentina at the national stadium in...

But Keown believes that their key player will be a man of previous seasons: Lanzini.

The 24-year-old scored eight goals under Slaven Bilic last season, somewhat taking up the mantle left by Dimitri Payet in January, and the former Arsenal defender believes he has a big role to play in East London again this time around.

"The 24-year-old is a special talent. I would like to see him play more centrally and for Bilic to give him more licence to attack," he told The Mail.

"Behind Dimitri Payet, Lanzini is the most technically gifted player West Ham have had in the last few seasons."

Question is, can they keep him? According to The Express, Liverpool have earmarked the South American wizard as a potential replacement for Philippe Coutinho, if he joins Barcelona.

But with around 20 days left in the transfer window, Bilic would swiftly undo any positive changes he has made this summer if he were to sell him. It's too late in the day to find an adequate replacement.

Manuel Lanzini of West Ham United celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium on May 5,...

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