It has now been over two years since we picked up Argentina International midfielder Manuel Lanzini from the far East and you only had to listen to the reception he got during Saturday’s home victory over Swansea City to pinpoint just how far he has come since then.
Today, we look back at his short spell in a Hammers shirt so far and map his career up until this date to display just how far he is on the road to becoming a legend in Claret & Blue.
Beginning his footballing journey in his native Argentina with footballing icons River Plate, Lanzini earned the nickname “The Jewel” from a very young age due to his pure pace and dribbling ability.
However, it was when he was featuring in a bizarre league and relatively lesser known footballing nation that he was spotted by West Ham scouts wearing the colors of Al Jazira Club.
Slaven Bilic made a move for the young talent within weeks of arriving in East London and the No10 was signed in late July 2015 on a season-long loan.
At the time, little optimism was felt towards the starlets as the fans feared that they have had another Wellington Paulista on their hands or worse still a player that had just come to be loaned out repeatedly before being released.
But they were soon proved wrong within minutes of his Hammers debut.
Making his Claret & Blue bow in the ill-fated second leg of our Europa League Third Qualifying Round tie with FC Astra Giurgiu of Romania, he netted within three minutes squeezing a low shot underneath Silviu Lung.
Just days later in the home defeat to Bournemouth and in his first away trip in Claret & Blue to non-other than Anfield, he pounced on slow play from Joe Gomez to score in his first Premier League goal yet again in the third minute.
Lanzini’s remarkable London Derby record began in October with a late strike at Selhurst Park which would be followed by a notch at White Hart Lane and then a stunner at Stamford Bridge, not to mention a volley in the reverse game against Palace.
He finished the campaign with seven overall and quickly became a cult hero amongst the fans, narrowly missing out on Hammer of the Year and paving the way for an even better second season under Bilic.
However, an injury blow in the run-up to the 2016 Summer Olympics with Argentina ruined the young star’s start to the season, he would not feature until the end of August.
But, this did not stop him hitting the ground running upon return scoring against West Brom and Tottenham and Palace yet again, in contrast to our shocking form.
Despite this, with the painful departure of Dimitri Payet in January, Lanzini really stood up in the second part of the season and scored several key goals in the process.
These included a wonderful chip against The Eagles, a team that he has never failed to score against in a match and a brilliant strike against The Baggies.
However, it would be in another London Derby that he forged his most memorable moment of the campaign, as he popped up to end Spurs’ title hopes on a magical night at the London Stadium.
Eight goals and numerous assists saw him pick up Hammer of the Year Runner-Up and Players’ Player of the Season, paying back the near £10 million price of his permanent deal in just one season.
In doing so, the Argentine was also capped by his nation for the first time in Australia against Brazil and looks poised for Russia 2018, should Argentina Qualify, of course.
Like the rest of the team, the start of this campaign has been a frustration but for other reasons, as he has been sidelined with a series of niggling injuries.
But, now returning to full fitness, Manuel Lanzini looks set for another tantalizing year of action in a Hammers shirt, he may have been a “diamond in the rough”, but now he is the jewel in the West Ham United crown.