Pablo Zabaleta - Manu Lanzini convinced me to join West Ham United
Pablo Zabaleta has revealed that Manuel Lanzini played a big role in persuading him that his future lie with West Ham United.
The two-time Premier League champion, who will join the Club on 1 July, has experience to burn after a successful career that has seen him lift seven major trophies, earn 56 international caps and start a FIFA World Cup final.
With 230 Premier League appearances under his belt, Zabaleta has appeared more times in England’s top-flight than any other Argentinian player, and becomes the seventh player from the South American country to pull on a Claret and Blue shirt.
The defender revealed he had spoken to two of them, Manuel Lanzini and Jonathan Calleri, before turning down offers from leading clubs in Italy, Spain and England in favour of the Hammers.
“I spoke a few times with him and of course I’m so happy to see Manu doing that well,” Zabaleta, who has signed a two-year contract, told West Ham TV. “I think he had an incredible season and is in the list for the two games for the national team, which is really good for him.
“Manu is one of the main players for this Club and for the team and hopefully I can meet him as a teammate very soon.”
Indeed, Zabaleta revealed that the recent call-up to the Argentina national team had played a big part in convincing him that his future lie at London Stadium.
Manu told me really good words about everyone at the Club, that he was enjoying himself as a West Ham player and enjoying life in London
“I spoke to Manu, especially because when West Ham showed interest in signing me, it was a good opportunity for me to have some information about the Club, especially from someone inside,” he explained. “It was something we don’t know from outside, of course.
“He told me really good words about everyone at the Club, that he was enjoying himself as a West Ham player and enjoying life in London, so it was good for me to have that information to help me make my final decision.”
Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano, Mauro Zarate and Lionel Scaloni have also plied their trade in east London and Zabaleta believes there is a special bond between West Ham supporters and his fellow countrymen that he hopes to strengthen.
“This is something we really appreciate and, as you know, Argentinian players are always 100 per cent committed to the club we are playing for and of course this is something we have to show on and off the pitch,” he confirmed.
“That connection between Argentinian players over the last ten years with West Ham Football Club is something really good and I have to make sure I continue with that relationship over the next two years.”