Manuel Lanzini has been in absolutely shocking form this season.
The 26-year-old seems to be a shadow of his former self. He looks like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Here are six potential reasons why we think the Argentine is struggling…
New bumper contract
Lanzini signed a bumper new four-year contract in the summer of 2019 that saw his wages rise to a massive £70,000 per week (Spotrac). Has he lost his motivation as a result? Who knows. But it certainly seems as though the South American hasn’t got the same hunger he once had.
Too much pressure to produce
West Ham boss David Moyes has constantly hyped Lanzini up as his major creative weapon. The Hammers boss told the Evening Standard a couple of weeks ago how he needs the Argentine to return to his best form:
“Our creative players are missing, we miss Felipe Anderson. We are really crying out for Manuel Lanzini to return and come back to the level he was at and they are our creative players.”
And perhaps that is just too much pressure for the 26-year-old.
Recovery from injury
Lanzini has missed 314 days through injury since the summer of 2018 (Transfermarkt). That has obviously taken its toll on the play-maker, both physically and mentally. And perhaps he needs to be given more time to readjust to the rigours of the Premier League.
West Ham are playing poorly as a team in general
It must be incredibly hard for Lanzini to produce consistently when his team are struggling so badly for form and confidence.
If everyone else was playing well around him, perhaps he would find it easier to get into his own groove.
Moyes’s defensive setup not suiting him
The Scot is notorious for his pragmatic approach to setting up his team. There is little emphasis put on creative freedom and more on defensive discipline.
Lanzini is the kind of player who flourishes when given a free role – something that has not been the case under Moyes’s reign as West Ham boss.
There can be no disputing the fact that the 26-year-old is desperately low on confidence. Everything he tries seems to end in failure and disappointment at the moment.
It’s a catch 22 situation, because he needs to be brave and keep trying to make a difference in order to get his confidence back.
It won’t be easy, but there is still a good player in there somewhere. And if Lanzini can rediscover his form between now and May, the Hammers will have a great chance of avoiding relegation this season.