Garth Crooks has warned West Ham United about Chelsea's potential interest in playmaker Manuel Lanzini if he consistently puts in performances like he did against Huddersfield on Saturday (13 January).
The Argentine starred as the Hammers ran away 4-1 winners at the John Smith Stadium. Lanzini, who is generally providing the assists turned scorer and scored West Ham's third and fourth goals in the space of five second-half minutes.
Lanzini spent the 2015/16 campaign on loan with West Ham before making the move permanent at the end of the campaign. The 24-year-old has been impressive since arriving in the Premier League and it has not gone unnoticed by the big guns.
The Argentina international can play as attacking midfielder, a secondary striker or on the left side of midfield, which is an attractive proposition for interested clubs. Lanzini was linked with a move to Liverpool last summer as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who completed his move to Barcelona earlier this month.
The Hammers midfielder has also been linked with Tottenham Hotspur in recent months. He is contracted to the west London club until the summer of 2020 and it is unlikely that they will entertain any bids for their key midfielder, especially as David Moyes looks to steer them away from the relegation battle and into the top half of the Premier League table.
Crooks, a former Manchester United and Spurs midfielder, was impressed with Lanzini's performance and has warned West Ham that Chelsea could be looking at him as a potential long-term successor for Cesc Fabregas, who is six years older than the Argentine.
"The skilful Argentine was like a sorcerer's apprentice weaving his magic and left the John Smith's stadium with the Terriers will under his spell," Garth Crooks was quoted as saying by the London Evening Standard.
"What was so impressive was the way Lanzini, with West Ham already 3-1 up, raced 40 yards to support Marko Arnautovic in order to administer Huddersfield's last rites. The finish was equal to the work and endeavour the player put in throughout the match.
"The only problem I can foresee is that if Lanzini keeps playing like this, how long before Chelsea come knocking on the door? Cesc Fabregas is not getting any younger you know," he added.