Saturday 21 April 2018

Manuel Lanzini will not be Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho replacement - Slaven Bilic

Manuel Lanzini
Manuel Lanzini

Matt Law

Slaven Bilic is confident that he will not be faced with another player demanding to leave West Ham United if Liverpool try to replace Philippe Coutinho with Manuel Lanzini.

Liverpool have rejected bids from Barcelona for Coutinho, who has seen a transfer request turned down. But the Reds have been heavily linked with a move for West Ham star Lanzini if they are eventually forced to sell Coutinho before the transfer window shuts at the end of this month.

Bilic saw West Ham’s campaign overshadowed by Dimitri Payet forcing his way to Marseille last season, but does not fear history will repeat itself with Lanzini.

And Bilic believes it will only be a matter of time before Lanzini earns himself a new contract with the Hammers.

“I speak to Manu every day, he is happy,” said Bilic. “He feels at home, he feels liked. You can see it, you don’t have to talk to him and you can see by how he is smiling and is happy.

“He broke into the Argentina national team, so he knows if he plays for West Ham he has a chance of getting a better contract with West Ham and playing for Argentina.

“I am sure he is going to stay with us. He knows he is wanted. He knows the chairman and the board. He was on loan and we took an option even before we had to. We activated it with him. He was wanted and was voted the Players’ Player of the Year. It is a good thing also, it makes him feel really wanted. He likes it here.”

While Bilic and West Ham were victims of player power last season, Liverpool, Chelsea, with Diego Costa, and Saturday’s opponents Southampton, with captain Virgil van Dijk, have all had issues to deal with this summer.

“The power is too much on the side of the players and their agents,” said Bilic. “It’s hard for the managers. Although sometimes you are in the other situation and I was in that situation a few times. But I never, ever advise or ask the players to stop training. That’s low. That is low. It should not be like that.”

Other than wanting to keep Lanzini, West Ham still want to sign midfielder William Carvalho but Bilic has left the matter in the hands of his board.

“We will see what happens with ins and outs. It has become very busy at other clubs,” said Bilic. “I have left it with the board and the chairman.  I concentrate purely on the matches.”

Online Editors

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