West Ham have completed the signing of Manuel Lanzini on a permanent deal from Al Jazira in a transfer which is expected to cost the Hammers £9million.
The 23-year-old has been one of the club’s stand-out performers this season and scored a beauty against Chelsea in their 2-2 draw on Saturday and has been rewarded with a permanent move to the club.
The player had at one stage been linked with a move to Liverpool, but with West Ham having first refusal on the player, co-chairman David Sullivan was always confident of landing their man.
He told the Daily Mail: “You talk about (Dimitri) Payet and, yes, he is our star, but I can say Lanzini, (Michail) Antonio, (Mark) Noble, (Cheikhou) Kouyate.
“We’ve just given Kouyate a new deal, even though he had more than four years on his last one. We want to reward excellence. They have all played their part.”
Lanzini joined West Ham on loan from UAE side Al Jazira and the decision to make his move permanent was made before the turn of the year.
Bilic praise for Lanzini
The former River Plate attacker has seven goals and three assists in 24 appearances in all competitions this season and is a key component of the side which could yet pip the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United to fourth place in the Premier League.
After his goal at Stamford Bridge, Hammers boss Slaven Bilic said: “When I signed him I would be lying if I said that I was thinking he would play at such a consistently high level.
“I had no idea that by this time of the season, he would have played so well.
“It’s special enough wearing the No 10 shirt for River Plate, at only 18 years of age, it is after all a very famous number, but Lanzini has developed with us and produced some brilliant football.
“Perhaps I didn’t quite realise how good he can be. At 23, he is willing to take responsibility, and copes easily with the pressure.”