Hammers snatch ‘The Jewel’

West Ham United have unearthed a gem after completing the loan signing of Argentine playmaker Manuel ‘The Jewel’ Lanzini.

The 22-year-old has joined the Hammers on a season-long deal, with an option to make it permanent, from UAE Arabian Gulf League club Al-Jazira after passing his medical at Spire Roding Hospital, West Ham United’s official private hospital.

Lanzini, who came through the same River Plate youth system that produced the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano, Ariel Ortega and former Hammer Javier Mascherano, is an exciting attacking midfielder who can both create and score goals. 

Having sealed his summer switch to the Boleyn Ground, Lanzini spoke of a massive step in his still young career. 

“This is very emotional because it is one of the best teams I have ever signed for," he told West Ham TV. "It is a very important step for my career and for my future.
“I am looking forward to what is a new era for me. I’m very happy and I look forward to meeting my new teammates. 

“This is a new challenge for me and that can only help in the future. It will test my ability in one of the best leagues in the world, so I am looking forward to getting started.

“I am someone who always gives 100 per cent. I’m an attacking player, I can change the game’s tempo and I hope to give my maximum for the fans to appreciate me." 
Born in the Ituzaingó Partido of the Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area to Italian ancestry, Lanzini joined River Plate at the age of nine in 2002.

At 17, he made his professional debut in a 1-0 home win over Tigre on 8 August 2010, and went on to make 22 league appearances for River in is debut season.

Summer 2011 saw Lanzini loaned to Brazilian giants Fluminense, where he impressed by scoring twice in 22 appearances as a teenager, helping the club to win the Serie A title.

With that experience under his belt, the player returned to River, where he was handed the coveted No10 shirt, helping the club to reach the Copa Libertadores quarter-finals and scoring a career-high eight goals in 26 league appearances in 2012/13.

A packed 2013/14 saw Lanzini play 41 times in all competitions for River, helping the Buenos Aires club to reach the last-eight of the Copa Sudamericana and attracting the attention of clubs all over the world.

It was Al-Jazira who moved for the exciting talent, securing Lanzini’s path to Abu Dhabi, where he became the youngest foreign player to appear in the UAE Arabian Gulf League at the age of 21.

Again wearing the No10 shirt, Lanzini teamed up with Montenego and ex-Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic and Burkina Faso and former Hamburg midfielder Jonathan Pitroipa to score eight goals in 24 league appearances to help Al-Jazira to finish as league runners-up last season.

At international level, the creative South American has been capped four times by Argentina at U20 level and will hope to make the step up to the senior squad if he can impress in Claret and Blue. 

Lanzini becomes West Ham’s seventh summer signing following the arrivals of Dimitri Payet, Angelo Ogbonna, Pedro Obiang, Carl Jenkinson, Stephen Hendrie and Darren Randolph.

For supporters without a 15/16 Season Ticket and who have not been invited to attend a Reservation Centre appointment, joining the New Stadium Season Ticket Priority List is now the only way to guarantee priority for the Hammers’ first season on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.