West Ham United are on the brink of agreeing a new contract with attacking midfielder Manuel Lanzini, to warn off interest from Liverpool who have reportedly targetted the player to replace Philippe Coutinho. As Barcelona continue to hone in on signing the Brazil international, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has tentatively begun preparing for life without their star asset.
Lanzini had been identified as a possible candidate to step into the void left by Coutinho having impressed during his two seasons in the Premier League. The ex-Fluminense and River Plate star has scored 15 goals in all competitions across 70 appearances and is the linchpin of a Hammers side which under Slaven Bilic is often lacking in guile and creativity.
But One Sunday newspaper report that Liverpool’s pursuit is as good as over with West Ham having agreed a new five-year deal with Lanzini which will see his basic wage almost trebled in an effort to keep him at the London Stadium. The 24-year-old is currently on £30,000-a-week, but the fresh terms will see him earn upwards of £85,000, with his pay packet totally £4.4m a season.
The player and the club have been locked in talks regarding a new deal for four months but recent interest from Liverpool has seen the original £50,000-a-week offer to Lanzini increased to ensure he is not tempted to move to Anfield. Klopp had personally identified the Argentina international as a candidate to replace Coutinho and become the club’s fourth summer signing, but will now be forced to look elsewhere.
Whether Liverpool will indeed need to sign a replacement for Coutinho remains to be seen after the club rejected a second offer of €100m [£90.3m] for the playmaker as the Merseyside club attempt to stand firm, according to BBC Sport. Klopp does not want to lose a player who contributed 14 goals and nine assists in all competitions last season, helping the club return to the Champions League, particularly with only three weeks of the transfer window remaining to sign a replacement.
Though Neymar has joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world record €222m [£195], Barca see Coutinho as the long-term replacement for captain Andreas Iniesta who this season will turn 34. Nevertheless, the Nou Camp club will use the money recouped from Neymar’s sale to stage an overhaul of their squad, but they threaten to be held to ransom by rival sides in those attempts.