Reports: Liverpool set to make surprise move for West Ham star Manuel Lanzini
What's the story?
Manuel Lanzini is being targeted by Liverpool as a possible replacement to Philippe Coutinho. The Reds face a strong challenge from Barcelona regarding Coutinho and the Daily Star believes that Lanzini is being seen as a possible replacement.
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Lanzini, 24-year old, has a contract with the Hammers till 2020, but the club wants to extend his contract further.
Lanzini made 31 league appearances for the Hammers last season and scored 8 goals in the process.
West Ham signed the 24-year old for around £10m last season after he spent his previous season on loan at Al-Jazira.
The heart of the matter
As Neymar's move to Paris Saint-German is now officially complete, Barcelona now want a suitable replacement for the Brazilian. They have turned their attention to Coutinho.
So far Liverpool have rejected 2 bids from the Catalans, but the Reds are preparing for the worst. Should Coutinho depart, they will also need the right man to fill in his shoes.
West Ham now fear Liverpool will come calling for Lanzini, who had an impressive season last year. The Hammers do not want to lose their man.
The Hammers want to improve their squad and letting go of the Argentina international is not a part of their plans.
With Dimitri Payet leaving for Marseille in January this year, Lanzini has stepped up to and has become a key player for Slaven Bilic.
Lanzini is currently on a £30k-a-week contract with the club. He knows that at Liverpool he can easily earn more. Also, Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic, who joined this summer, will earn more than £5m-a year.
There are reports that the Hammers are looking to raise his salary to £50k-a-week. That might still not be good enough.
So West Ham will have to offer him a similar contract to what Hernandez and Arnautovic earn, if they wish to keep him at the club for a long time.
Liverpool's main priority now should be to hold on to Coutinho. The Reds cannot afford to lose their main man. With Champions League also back at the Anfield, the Reds should only focus on improving their squad.
However, if Coutinho does leave, Lanzini could be a decent replacement. The attacking midfielder has shown that he is one of the most creative player in the Premier League right now.