Argentina’s Olympic hopes have suffered a further blow with the news that West Ham United midfielder Manuel Lanzini will miss the tournament in Rio de Janeiro as a result of the knee injury sustained in the friendly against Colombia.
Coach Julio Olarticoechea has already had an enormous number of players blocked from playing by their clubs and Lanzini, who had been given the number seven shirt, looked set to have a starring role in the side.
The 22-year-old is now set to leave the group and return to London so that West Ham’s medical team can assess the injury.
West Ham physio Stijn Vandenbroucke said, “We are in contact with Manuel and the Argentine Football Association. We want him to return and be evaluated by our staff as soon as possible.”
It is understood that Argentina will be replacing Lanzini with Boca Juniors talented forward Cristian Pavón.
While Pavón will certainly add something to the attack, he would not exactly be considered a like-for-like replacement with Lanzini and Olarticoechea’s squad is certainly lacking players who are capable of linking midfield with attack.
Lanzini would have been able to perform this role expertly but in his absence it would seem that Argentina will be fielding a somewhat cautious midfield three utilising three primarily defensive players.