West Ham’s Manuel Pellegrini is watching on at Northern Ireland’s clash against Austria on Sunday evening, according to Sky Sports pundit Steve Lomas.
The former Northern Ireland international was on broadcast duty as cc-commentator alongside lead commentator Daniel Mann for the Nations League clash – a match which had little riding after the home team were already relegated after results elsewhere.
Speaking during the commentary, Lomas revealed that there was talk over Pellgrini being in attendance and tipped the West Ham boss to keep an eye on Austrian right back Stefan Liener, who plays his football for RB Salzburg in Austria.
He said in the broadcast of the game on Sky Sports (18/11, 17:09): “There’s talk of Manuel Pellegrini coming to the game today. He (Lainer) will certainly be one to watch – I really like the way he defends and attacks.
“The complete package at right back.”
After the report that Ryan Fredericks is going to be out of action for as long as three months with an injury blow, West Ham look to be in dire need of a new right back to cover – or compete with – senior star Pablo Zabaleta. Is that why Pellegrini is at Northern Ireland’s game against the Austrian’s on Sunday? Well it is not to keep tabs on Marko Arnautovic, who was given the dead-rubber of a game off in order to rest, a pleasant bit of news for the Hammers. Could Lainer be the man that the Hammers turn to in their time of need? His form for Salzburg – who are competing in the Europa League group stages as well as domestically – is pretty average, with a goal and three assists in 20 appearances, and not too many clean sheets to put to his name. He would be a left field signing if the Irons did make a move, and it could be that they view him as a bargain option in case their top targets do not make the move to east London.