West Ham identify Colombian World Cup maestro to replace Lanzini

Colombia's player Juan Quintero celebrates his goal during a group stage football match between El Salvador and Colombia at the FIFA Under 20 World Cup on June 28, 2013 at the Kamil Ocak stadium in Gaziantep. AFP PHOTO / TURKPIX / Aykut AKICI (Photo credit should read AYKUT AKICI/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s widely known that West Ham have reportedly spotted the man to fill for the injured playmaker, Manuel Lanzini next season, crafty-little Colombian Juan Quintero. The Hammers received a massive blow when they lost the Argentine during the build-up to the World Cup.

Lanzini was initially reported to only miss the tournament in Russia but later scans revealed he is unlikely to feature next season. This comes as a huge disappointment for the 25-year-old who has been West Harm’s most creative hub since Dimitri Payet’s departure to Marseille in January 2017.

Last season, Lanzini was directly involved in 19 goals in 88 Premier League starts for the Londoners. He found the net five times and assisted one more for his teammates. Without his industry and creativity, the Hammers looked toothless.

According to Argentinian outlet Ole, Manuel Pellegrini has found his fellow South American to do the job perfectly, Quintero one of the shining stars at the World Cup in Russia.

The 25-year-old made a huge statement in Colombia’s opening defeat to Japan, producing an incredible free-kick which caught out the keeper and squeezed over the line. He followed that up with successive assists against Colombia and Senegal. The latter, in particular, was of great significance as it helped his country seal their passage to the round of 16.

Quintero won’t come cheap, though. The small midfielder who spent last season on loan at River Plate from FC Porto is expected to remain in Argentina. The Millionaires have agreed to keep him permanently, then set a new release clause of around £20m.

Considering his abilities, that would seem as a bargain. Real Madrid and Tottenham have also inquired about the man of the moment.

Quintero would suit West Ham’s style, at the World Cup, Joses Pekerman has deployed the 25-year-old in the creative trident behind Falcao, alongside James Rodríguez and Juan Cuadrado.

His versatility makes him a real treasure, like Lanzini, Quintero can slot anywhere in the centre and even on the flanks, this would give Pellegrini options.

However, Quintero’s patchy form could be a major hindrance. The 25-year-old tends to go off the rails after a fine run of form. After making headway at an early age, Quintero’s career has since stagnated. He underwhelmed at Pescara, Rennes and Independiente Medellín.

Even with Lanzini, West Ham struggled to break down their opposition last season, finding the net just 48 times. Any help in that area would be appreciated by Pellegrini who would aim to restore some bite in the final third.