Lanzini will not be Coutinho’s replacement – Bilic

Date published: Friday 18th August 2017 5:45

Manuel Lanzini will not replace Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool, according to West Ham manager Slaven Bilic.

Liverpool are fighting to keep Coutinho, who has handed in a transfer request, at Anfield.

But the Reds may have to explore their possibilities if the Brazilian gets his way and departs for Barcelona.

Phil Thompson is mental and reckons they should sign one of Sergio Aguero, Dele Alli or Luis Suarez, but Lanzini would make slightly more sense as a replacement.

Bilic, however, has ruled out a move for the Argentinean playmaker.

“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.

“You know the chairman. When the player comes and when he is on one sort of contract and he is not very well known, and he plays good the chairman is very happy to give him a new contract.

“So it will sooner or later happen with Manuel if he continues to be the kind of player he has been for us.

“The Payet situation was different, Payet was older, Lanzini is 24. Look in one hand we can’t expect the players to stay forever. Nowadays nobody is staying. But all I’m saying is I hope he stays for this season. The point is now and long term-ish, he’s very happy.”

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