Lanzini predicts big Zabaleta impact

West Ham United

Manuel Lanzini is confident Pablo Zabaleta will have a huge, positive influence on West Ham United in the upcoming season.

Manchester City chose not to renew Zabaleta’s contract this summer, ending a nine-year spell at the Etihad Stadium, and the defender was snapped up by West Ham on a free transfer, putting pen-to-paper on a two-year contract.

The Argentina international brings a wealth of experience to the Hammers squad, having made his professional debut for San Lorenzo back in 2002, and he is expected to be the number one choice at right-back after being given the number five shirt.

Several more signings are expected at the London Stadium this summer with reports claiming deals for City goalkeeper Joe Hart and Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic are close to being completed.

Manager Slaven Bilic appears to be building a strong squad full of experience and Lanzini, who like Zabaleta was born in Buenos Aires, believes his compatriot will play a huge part next season.

“I think he is one of the best right-backs in the Premier League, he has been here for nine years, which is amazing,” he was quoted as saying by “His experience will be very important to us. He has played for a very big club in Manchester City and I think he will be very good for us.”

West Ham had a disappointing 11th-place finish in the Premier League last season but, if the reported transfer targets are snapped up, punters may decide to use their free bet on the Hammers challenging for a European position.