Manuel Lanzini feels wanted and will stay at West Ham - boss Slaven Bilic
LONDON -- West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has expressed confidence that key midfielder Manuel Lanzini will stay at the club, even if Liverpool come calling in the event of losing Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.
"I am sure he is going to stay with us," said Bilic of the Argentine, who won the club's Players' Player of the Year award last season. "No, I am not worried. I got it from the papers, the news. That's it."
Liverpool were linked with Lanzini over the summer and that has been revived in the face of Coutinho's stand-off with the Anfield club. The Brazilian put in a rejected transfer request last week.
"I said it last week when we spoke about it before the Manchester United game," Bilic told a news conference ahead of the Hammers' match on Southampton on Saturday. "I speak to Manu every day and he is very happy. He really feels at home here, he feels wanted. You can see it, you don't have to talk to the player but you see he is smiling, he is happy.
"He broke into the Argentina team, he got a call-up for the September games so he knows that if he plays for West Ham I have a chance to improve, sign a better contract with West Ham and play for Argentina. He is very happy."
Meanwhile, Bilic is hopeful that West Ham United will sign Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho before Aug. 31 but is an advocate of this week's proposal that the transfer window closes before the season starts.
"I left it to the chairman and the people who are involved," Bilic said. "I am concentrating only and totally on our game. We will see what happens with ins and outs. It's becoming very busy at other clubs too."
Bilic said he expected his club to remain active until the deadline closes a fortnight on Thursday but hopes that they will soon not have to conduct business after a Premier League campaign has begun.
"It is a great idea, I am definitely behind it," he said. "You start with one team in preseason, and you start the season with another team. Some clubs are losing 30 percent of their players."
"But it has to be across all the leagues, otherwise there is no point. You could still lose players if a club from abroad want them. It would only protect us from clubs in the Premier League."
Saturday's opponents Southampton are stuck in a transfer wrangle with Virgil van Dijk.
"Of course I have sympathy," Bilic said. "If it stopped when the season started... you want to concentrate on the game on Saturday and not on those things."
John Brewin is a staff writer for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JohnBrewinESPN.