The second of our 5 part series on bargain midfielders who could bag you the points. If you missed part one yesterday, check that out too where we wax lyrical about a magical dwarf.
Our next little gem to profile is West Ham's Manuel Lanzini. Now let me start by saying this Argentine startlet's starting price is not going to be a reduced to clear 5 Million. He is probably going to set you back between 6.5 and 7M based on his performances last season, but we will offer you the following case why this could still prove extremely good value for money.
Okay I'm just going to say it - West Ham were dog shit last season. They finished 11th but were only 5 points ahead of the 17th placed team. Now I can already sense the Hammers fans sharpening the pitch forks but the reason I say they were so bad is because a team with quality players and a very capable manager. They should have been fighting for top 6, not hovering around the middle like a questionable bowel movement from lasts nights disgusting kebab.
The man in question, with the exception of Mikhail Antonio, was a bright flash of attacking light in a mostly bleak season. We see him as having champagne potential; but right now he's more like one of those posh bottles of Marks and Sparks Prosecco you buy for the missus when she is pissed off at you for leaving the kids in Wetherspoons.
He has a crisp and polished technical ability, a great passing range, and his dribbling and first touch are top drawer. Deployed mainly as an attacking midfielder last season he was usually the furthest forward player behind the striker and demonstrated he has an eye for goal.
Mr Lanzini's stats from 16/17 impress us greatly the standout being his 20 bonus points. Let's put this in perspective - in that dodgy West Ham team he scored more bonus points then Ali , Sigurdsson, Firmino, King, Mane, Ozil and Pedro. He registered 21 shots on target, scoring 8 times - which isn't a bad ratio at all for a midfielder. He also pitched in with 2 assists in the 2711 minutes he played over 34 appearances. West Ham only scored 47 goals all season and their top two scorers were both midfielders (Lanzini and Antonio).
Several factors lead me to reason Lanzini will have an even better season having now reached the age of 24 and with a full PL campaign under his belt he looks more accomplished with every game. West Ham will be desperately looking for new front men next season and have been linked with Giroud, Iheanacho and Batshuayi to name a few. If they were to secure just one of these signings I fully expect their goals scored to strongly increase this season leading to the potential for a lot more goals assists and bonus points for Lanzini.
At an expected 7M starting price this still puts him into the bracket of being good value for money, it will enable you to still have more expensive star players whilst being cheap enough to leave out of the starting 11 for a few games if you don’t like that game week fixture. We all want to have the foresight to pick this seasons hidden gem and I fully see Lanzini having the qualities to do this, our advice would be to get in early before his ownership and price rocket.
West Ham don’t have the easiest first 5 fixtures of all the teams but don’t let this put you off getting a player who could contribute to you having a very balanced attacking squad with players like Coutinho, Eriksen, Mane, Firmino and Ali all expected to be over 9M a reasonably priced, high potential midfielder will be a must this season.
Image courtesy of Prosecco image: Flickr/lejournaldemaman