West Ham United have been dealt another injury blow ahead of the new Premier League campaign with confirmation that Manuel Lanzini could be out for more than a month. The former River Plate playmaker, who initially joined on a season-long loan from Abu Dhabi-based Al Jazira Club last summer before signing a permanent four-year deal in May, was set to feature for Argentina at the 2016 Olympic Games only to be ruled out of contention for Rio due to a knee problem sustained during a training camp in Miami.
Lanzini now looks set to miss West Ham's first three fixtures of the new domestic campaign against Chelsea, Bournemouth and Manchester City. He will also be absent on Thursday night (4 August) as Slaven Bilic's side attempt to overturn a 2-1 Europa League third qualifying round deficit in a second-leg tie against Slovenian PrvaLiga side NK Domzale which represents the club's very first competitive fixture at the Olympic Stadium.
"Lanzini is another blow for us," Bilic was quoted as saying by the club's official website at a pre-match press conference on Wednesday. "He was with us for the first part of the pre-season tour in America and then joined up with the Argentina team for the Olympics and got injured in a friendly game against Colombia.
"He got a kick on his knee. It was not a big injury but he cannot play for four or five weeks. I think he will miss the first three Premier League games which is not ideal so he will hopefully be back after the Manchester City game."
Bilic also confirmed centre-back duo James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna remain unavailable, with star man Dimitri Payet not expected back in training until later this week after helping France to the final of Euro 2016. Aaron Cresswell will be sidelined for approximately four months as a result of knee ligament damage sustained in a 3-0 friendly win over German second division side Karlsruhe and the manager appeared to confirm that West Ham were close to signing a new left-back amid links to the likes of Davide Santon, Kieran Gibbs, Martin Olsson and Andrew Robertson.
"We were looking to strengthen our squad in that area, even before Aaron got injured as it was the only position that we didn't have options," he added. "Aaron is a very fit player and since he joined the club a couple of seasons ago, he has only missed one game and Carl Jenkinson had to play on the left side.
"We were looking to bring someone in to have competition with Cressy. We like to have two good players in every position. We are not the only ones looking for a new left-back and it is hard to find a good player who we like. With Cressy injured it has now become a priority and we have a few options there. Players like Sam Byram, Angelo Ogbonna and Havard Nordtveit can play there but it is not their natural position. We are close to getting one of the new players."