West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has drawn comparisons between new signing Manuel Lanzini and Real Madrid star Luka Modric.
The Argentine attacking midfielder joined the Premier League side on loan from Al Jazira in July, with the club holding an option to make the move permanent at the end of the campaign.
Bilic has been thrilled with the start made by Lanzini – who has scored twice in the league against Liverpool and Crystal Palace – comparing him to Modric, who he managed for six years when in charge of Croatia.
“I have never seen a player who reminds me of Luka Modric as much as Manuel Lanzini,” the 47-year-old wrote in The Evening Standard.
“Luka is my favourite player. He is my prototype of a great midfielder. I put Luka in the Croatia Under-21s and then in the senior team and we have a special kind of bond. But Lanzini has the same kind of qualities.
“I wanted to sign him for Besiktas but it didn’t happen because the club received a better offer and he ended up at Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates. But this time we got him at West Ham.
“What I do know is he is making our other players better. He always makes himself available. If the players are in trouble, he comes and gets it.
“He does not look strong but some players can defy that physicality to impose themselves. Modric is the same and, like him, Lanzini is not afraid either. I am delighted with him.”
West Ham have made an impressive start to the season under Bilic and sit fourth in the table ahead of Saturday’s game at home to champions Chelsea.