Manuel Pellegrini really did not need this. Less than a month after taking over at West Ham United, he has lost his star man until 2019. Manuel Lanzini will miss the World Cup and the first half of next season after rupturing his knee ligaments in training with Argentina last week.
Along with Marko Arnautovic, the 25-year-old was arguably West Ham’s best player last season and his absence is a major blow to Pellegrini, who surely would have had big plans for him as he aims to bring an attacking style of football to the London Stadium.
It is understood that the Hammers will renew their interest in Norwich City play-maker James Maddison; a player they bid £12 million for in January. These days, Maddison will cost closer to £20 million after scoring 14 goals and assisting eight in a brilliant breakthrough season at Carrow Road.
Maddison, like Lanzini, is at his best when playing in the number ten position, meaning he could slot straight into the place vacated by the stricken south American.
West Ham will have to act fast, however. Everton are reportedly front-runners while Liverpool, Tottenham, Leicester and Fulham are in the race, too.