Thursday, March 23

Daily WHUFC News - 24th March 2017

Snodgrass helps Scotland to draw

Robert Snodgrass helps Scotland to 1-1 international friendly draw with
Canada in Edinburgh
West Ham United winger becomes first Hammer to represent Scotland since
Christian Dailly in 2007
Tartan Army face 'must-win' FIFA World Cup qualifier with Slovenia on Sunday

Robert Snodgrass became West Ham United's first Scotland international in
ten years as he featured in the Tartan Army's 1-1 friendly draw with Canada.
And the winger, signed from Hull City in January, nearly celebrated the
occasion with a goal, only for his first half effort to come back off the
post. As it was, Scotland had to make do with a draw, with Norwich City's
Steven Naismith equalising after Fraser Aird – who plays in Scotland for
Falkirk – had given the Canadians a shock lead at Easter Road in Edinburgh.
Snodgrass, who became West Ham's first Scotland international since
Christian Dailly in May 2007, completed the full 90 minutes as his nation
prepared for Sunday's FIFA World Cup qualifier with Slovenia in Glasgow.
Scotland go into that game knowing defeat would leave their chances of
reaching next summer's finals in Russia hanging by a thread, and manager
Gordon Strachan has labelled the tie 'must-win' after 3-0 defeats in England
and Slovakia. "He's right in what he says," Snodgrass, who netted a
hat-trick in his country's opening 5-1 qualifying win in Malta last year,
told BBC Scotland. "The lads know that. We know we need to get back to
winning ways. "When you lose games against Slovakia and England, you're
going to get the criticism that goes with it. "We need to be ready and we
need to take our chances when we get them on the night."

Sunday's tie with Slovenia will be screened live in the UK by Sky Sports 1,
with kick-off at Hampden Park at 7.45pm. Elsewhere on Wednesday, Reece
Oxford appeared as a second-half substitute as England kicked-off their UEFA
European U19 Championship Elite Round qualifiers with a 3-0 win over Norway
at St George's Park. England take on Spain – who thrashed Belarus 5-0 on
Wednesday – at the same venue on Friday, before facing Belarus on Monday.
Only the group winners will qualify for this summer's finals in Georgia.

Randolph - We have to fancy our chances

Darren Randolph's Republic of Ireland host Wales in a FIFA World Cup
qualifier on Friday evening
A victory in Dublin would put the Boys in Green on course to qualify for
Russia 2018
Randolph says Ireland would love to emulate Wales, who reached the UEFA Euro
2016 semi-finals

Darren Randolph says Republic of Ireland would love to emulate Wales and
make a big impact at a major tournament. The West Ham United goalkeeper
helped the Boys in Green to reach the Round of 16 of UEFA Euro 2016, but
Wales went all the way to the semi-finals at their first tournament in 58
years. Ireland host Wales in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Dublin on
Friday evening, with a win for the home side putting them on course to reach
the fourth finals in their history. "It's going to be a good game," Randolph
told West Ham TV. "Every game seems to be a big one recently, but this is
another big game. We're sitting top of the group now, so if we can get a win
in that one, it's one step closer to the World Cup in Russia. "A win would
put pressure on the other teams and you always want to take points off the
other teams who are going to be there or thereabouts, and Wales are there or
thereabouts in the group. "If we can take points off them on Friday then it
will set us up nicely for the rest of our games."

As Randolph points out, Ireland are in a strong position as they seek
qualification for their first World Cup finals since they travelled to Japan
and South Korea in 2002. The Boys in Green have ten points from their
opening four Group D qualifiers, with four of their remaining six to be
played at home in Dublin – starting with Wales on Friday. Martin O'Neill's
side also host Serbia, Austria and Moldova at home, while they travel to
Georgia in September before ending their campaign in Wales in October. "Most
of the remaining games are at home, so we have to fancy our chances," he

So, can Ireland emulate Wales and make a big splash in Russia next year?

"When we were trying to qualify for Euro 2016, with three or four games to
go, we were fourth in the group and knew we had to win all our games to
qualify from a tough group, which we did," he recalled. "We then had to beat
Bosnia-Herzegovina in the play-off, which were tough games, and we did. We
then went to the Euros and we had the toughest group with Italy, Sweden and
Belgium and we got out of that group. Then, obviously, France knocked us out
and they went all the way to the final, so we've done very well. "We're top
of the qualifying group now against Austria, Serbia and Wales and have had
good results against Serbia and Austria, and now we have Wales up next.
Everyone is confident and playing well at their clubs, so there is no reason
why we can't go out there and play with no fear and a bit of freedom and see
how far we can go and where we can get to."

Republic of Ireland versus Wales will be screened live in the UK by Sky
Sports 1, with kick-off at the Aviva Stadium at 7.45pm.

Claret and Blue Tartan Army XI!

To celebrate Robert Snodgrass becoming West Ham United's first Scotland
international in ten years, we have picked the all-time Claret and Blue
Tartan Army XI – but do you agree with our selections? Snoddy became just
the SIXTH Hammer to represent the Scots in a senior international match when
he pulled on the famous dark blue shirt in Wednesday's 1-1 friendly draw
with Canada.
But the winger is far from the first Scot to have worn West Ham's famous
Claret and Blue…

1. Bobby Ferguson

West Ham have employed a succession of Scottish goalkeepers, despite their
unfair reputation for making mistakes, with 1962 Hammer of the Year Lawrie
Leslie and Tom McAlister, who made 100 appearances in the mid-1980s, among
those to pull on a green shirt. Ferguson was the Hammers' No1 for much of
the 1970s, making 277 appearances, but the unfortunate Ardrossan-born
stopper missed both the 1975 FA Cup final and 1976 European Cup Winners' Cup
final, as English youngster Mervyn Day was preferred.

2. Ray Stewart

The all-time Penalty King scored an amazing 78 penalties in 434 appearances
for the Hammers between 1979 and 1991, while his nickname Tonka alluded to
his indestructible physical makeup. The world's most-expensive teenager when
he signed from Dundee United, right-back Stewart is the only non-Englishman
to have won the FA Cup in Claret and Blue, doing so in 1980.

3. Neil Orr

Greenock-born Orr is arguably the most understated Boy of '86, despite the
fact he started 33 of West Ham's First Division matches in that historic
season. A versatile midfielder or defender, Orr provided the guile alongside
the flair of Alan Devonshire, Mark Ward and Alan Dickens. Despite his
undoubted quality, Orr was never capped by Scotland.

4. James McCrae

Born in the wonderfully-named Bridge of Weir in 1894, McCrae's early career
was affected by the First World War, during which he appeared as a guest
player for the Hammers. McCrae remained in east London following the end of
the war, signing permanently in June 1919 and lining up in defence for the
Club's first-ever Football League match against Lincoln City on 30 August of
the same year.

5. Christian Dailly

He of 'curly-hair' fame was capped 67 times by Scotland between 1997 and
2008, appearing at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, to be his country's
sixth most-capped player. A tall defender, Dailly became a cult hero on
joining West Ham from Blackburn Rovers in 2001, going on to make 191
appearances over the next six seasons, including the 2004 and 2005 Play-Off

6. Don Hutchison

Despite being born in Gateshead and never playing a match for a Scottish
club, Hutchison was the son of a miner from Nairn in the Highlands and
therefore qualified to represent the Tartan Army. A midfielder, Hutchison
was capped 26 times, scoring the most notable of his six goals with the
winner against England at Wembley in a UEFA Euro 2000 play-off match in
November 1999.

7. Billy Grassam

Billy Grassam's name will be a mystery to most Hammers fans, but the
diminutive inside-right was a star of his time. Not only did Grassam line up
in West Ham United's first-ever fixture against Gravesend United on 1
September 1900, but he scored four goals in it as the Hammers won 7-0! In 83
appearances, Grassam scored 44 goals. Then, after two years with Manchester
United, he returned to east London in 1905 and netted another 24 in 96
further games.

8. Nigel Quashie

The mystery of 'Whatever happened to Nigel Quashie?' is one which continues
to baffle West Ham supporters, a decade after the midfielder made his eighth
and final appearance in Claret and Blue. A teenage prodigy with Queens Park
Rangers, Southwark-born Quashie played more than 300 games for QPR,
Nottingham Forest, Portsmouth, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion before
joining the relegation-threatened Hammers in January 2007. Six weeks later,
he was injured in the dramatic 4-3 Premier League defeat by Tottenham, and
was never seen again.

9. Archibald Macauley

Born in Falkirk, Macauley spent four seasons with Rangers, becoming a
regular as a teenager and winning the Scottish Cup and League Championship,
before joining the Hammers in 1937 for £6,000.

An wing half, Macauley was part of the 1940 Football League War Cup-winning
side at Wembley, and he won the Football League Championship with Arsenal
eight years later.

10. Frank McAvennie

Blond-haired McAvennie arrived as an attacking midfielder from St Mirren in
the summer of 1985, but an injury suffered by striker Paul Goddard saw the
relative unknown move up front. McAvennie responded by forging a prolific
partnership with Tony Cottee which fired the Hammers to a record-high
third-place First Division finish. His reward was a trip with Scotland to
the 1986 FIFA World Cup finals in Mexico.

11. John Dick

Last, but certainly not least, comes John Dick – West Ham's first senior
Scotland international when he was handed his debut against England at
Wembley in 1959. Amazingly, despite netting an incredible 177 goals in 367
appearances in Claret and Blue, including 77 First Division goals in just
four seasons, Govan-born Dick was never capped by his country again.

Diafra Sakho: West Ham United striker unlikely to return this season

West Ham striker Diafra Sakho is unlikely to play again this season because
of the back injury he suffered in November. He has only played twice all
season, having also missed the start of the season with a back problem. The
27-year-old has now returned to light training following surgery. "Diaf is
essentially at the start of his own personal pre-season training schedule,"
Hammers medical boss Stijn Vandenbroucke said. "When players return from
their off-season, they will go through four to five weeks of pre-season work
to build up their strength and fitness. "After undergoing back surgery and
three months of rehab, a player needs time to reach sufficient fitness
levels before we can contemplate making him available for selection in the
Premier League."

Senegal international Sakho, who was due to join West Brom for £15m before
his summer injury, missed this season's Africa Cup of Nations.

Hammers target seeking 'big club' move
Filed: Thursday, 23rd March 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham transfer target Gylfi Sigurdsson says it would be a "dream" to play
for a big club in the "near future". The 27-year-old attacking midfielder
has been linked with a move to the Olympic Stadium this week, days after
being praised by Swansea boss Paul Clement for his recent excellent form -
which Sigurdsson called "very flattering". "Maybe he was just trying to give
me confidence," said the Icelandic international. "Of course, it would be a
dream to play for one of these big clubs. "Hopefully if I continue doing
well for Swansea and Iceland then in the near future, I can play in a big
club. I am enjoying being one of the senior players, though.
"We may be in a tough spot, but I am kind of enjoying the pressure of that.
I am trying to make the most of that and help the team to get three points
every week."

* West Ham are keeping tabs on Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu, according to
the Daily Star. The £15m-rated Everton winger is currently on a season-long
loan with AC Milan who are interested in making the deal permanent. The
Hammers are reported to have indicated their interest recently however they
could yet face competition from Delafou's former club Barcelona, who retain
a buy-back clause that would entitle them to bring the 23-year-old back to
Camp Nou for around £10m.

* West Ham are set to re-ignite their interest in Chelsea's out-of-favour
striker Michy Batshuayi by trying to sign him on loan for next season,
according to 90 Min. The Belgian international (16 Premier League
appearances, all as sub) joined Chelsea in a £31million switch from
Marseille last summer but is unlikely to be in Antonio Conte's first team
plans next year, giving West Ham the green light to move.

* The chances of West Ham signing Wayne Rooney are "100/1", according to
Jack Sulivan, son of co-owner David. Sullivan Jnr was posting on twitter
following reports that West Ham were keen to sign the Manchester United

* Onto Europe where West Ham continue to be linked with a move for
Manchester City's veteran full back Pablo Zabaleta. Today several sources
in Italy report that the 32-year-old is likely to join West Ham, despite
rumours of interest from Serie A clubs Roma and Inter. Gael Clichy and
Bacary Sagna are also cited as potential West Ham targets this summer.

No more Sakho this season
Filed: Thursday, 23rd March 2017
By: Staff Writer

Diafra Sakho has all but been ruled out for the rest of the season. The
absent striker, who has missed all but two games this season with a back
injury returned to training with the Under 23 squad this week but is
unlikely to appear in a first team shirt until the summer, according to club
medic Stijn Vandenbroucke. "Diafra returned to training with the Under-23s
this week in controlled sessions," he told "We tailor the
sessions to manage his workload, gradually building him up. "He has worked
hard this week and will join the first team soon. However, we must be
mindful that Diaf is essentially at the start of his own personal pre-season
training schedule. "When players return from their off-season, they will go
through four to five weeks of pre-season work to build up their strength and
fitness. "After undergoing back surgery and three months of rehab, a player
needs time to reach sufficient fitness levels before we can contemplate
making him available for selection in the Premier League. "

In other injury news, club captain Mark Noble is expected to return in time
for the trip to Hull - whilst it has been confirmed that Michail Antonio and
Winston Reid are both likely to be sidelined for around a month.

"Michail was withdrawn from the England squad because he suffered a muscle
injury, added Vandenbroucke. "He will be unavailable for the first team for
three to four weeks. Winston Reid was withdrawn from the New Zealand squad
after he suffered a muscle injury and will be out for five weeks. "Mark
will resume training with the first team later this week and be available to
face Hull City on 1 April."

Sadly the news on Pedro Obiang is as bad as initially suspected. "Pedro
suffered a nasty high ankle sprain injury while making a challenge during
the second half," confirmed Vandenbroucke. "He underwent surgery in London
on Tuesday evening and is now recovering at home. Unfortunately, he will be
unavailable for a significant period, and will be ready for next season's
preparation in July."

Elsewhere Angelo Ogbonna is expected to restart training with the first team
in mid-April, having recovered from his knee surgery as expected, whilst
Academy star Domingo Quina continues with his rehabilitation.

West Ham striker Diafra Sakho hopes to defy the odds and feature for the
Hammers again this season
Sakho has only made two appearances for the Hammers this season following a
long-term back problem but could soon join up with the first-team squad
The Mirror
16:46, 23 MAR 2017UPDATED19:19, 23 MAR 2017

West Ham are refusing to rush influential forward Diafra Sakho back into
action BUT he could still play for the Hammers again this season. The
Senegal forward has suffered a nightmare campaign and has only made two
appearances for the east London club after being sidelined with a long-term
back injury. Sakho made a brief return back in November when he played
against Manchester United and Tottenham, but broke down once again and
needed surgery to clear up the problem.
Reports have suggested that the Hammers striker will miss the rest of the
season, but Mirror Sport understands that the 27-year-old is being eased
back into action and has stepped up his recovery, training with the
Under-23s this week. If things go to plan, Sakho could join up with the
first-team squad in the next two weeks and then put himself in contention
for the Premier League game against Sunderland on April 15. West Ham's head
of medical and sports science Stijn Vandenbroucke said: "We must be mindful
that Diaf is essentially at the start of his own personal pre-season
training schedule. "When players return from their off-season, they will go
through four to five weeks of pre-season work to build up their strength and
fitness and, after undergoing back surgery and three months of rehab, a
player needs time to reach sufficient fitness levels before we can
contemplate making him available for selection in the Premier League."
Slaven Bilic is still reeling from the news that midfielder Pedro Obiang has
been ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury. Obiang had
surgery on Tuesday night and will now start the long road back to full
fitness, but the club are confident he will be fit for the start of
pre-season. Defender Winston Reid has been ruled out for five weeks with a
hip injury, while Michail Antonio will miss the next three to four weeks
with a hamstring problem.

Sofiane Feghouli explains his slow start to life at West Ham
SOFIANE FEGHOULI admits he faced a "radical change" in football style at
West Ham when he arrived from Valencia.
PUBLISHED: 10:59, Thu, Mar 23, 2017 | UPDATED: 11:21, Thu, Mar 23, 2017

Feghouli joined West Ham on a free transfer in July, signing on a three-year
contract, but suffered an early setback at the London Stadium. The Algeria
international picked up a hamstring injury in August that sidelined him for
six weeks, having played just two Europa League qualifiers. And on his
return to full fitness he found it difficult to break into Slaven Bilic's
side, but has now started eight Premier League games in a row. And the
27-year-old, who spent six seasons in Spain's La Liga, admits he struggled
to adapt to a more direct style of play in England. "It's been a radical
change in footballing terms," Feghouli told the club website.
"In Spain, the game is more about possession, technique and strategy,
whereas football here is more direct." Feghouli has scored against West Brom
and Crystal Palace since returning to Bilic's first-team plans in January
and has chipped in with three assists.
He added: "It's a big change, but as I said, I'm happy with my statistics so
far - two goals and three assists in not many games. I'm
gradually settling in."

Do Sofiane Feghouli's comments suggest an acceptance of mediocrity at West
Antony Martin

West Ham United brought the Algerian to the club in the summer of 2016.
Hammers winger Sofiane Feghouli sat down for an interview with the club's
official website, and shared how it has been difficult for him to
acclimatise to playing in the Premier League, but insisted that he is happy
with his start to life in England. The Algerian has failed to endear himself
to the West Ham faithful thus far, after many fans expected him to have more
of an impact on Slaven Bilic's side. The 27-year-old has scored two goals
and chipped in with three assists in 23 outings for the Hammers so far this
term, and has not exactly set the world alight with his all-around displays.
Yet Feghouli insisted that he is happy with his tally of goals and assists
when speaking to, suggesting that he is gradually settling in at
the club: "I've racked up two goals and three assists since I got into the
team. I'm happy about that. I'm happy with my statistics so far in not many
games. I'm gradually settling in."

The question that must be asked following these comments is should an
international player be happy with completely mediocre statistics,
irrelevant of whether or not it is his first season in a new league? Many
imports from Spain, France or Italy seem to struggle during the early stages
of their time in England, but there should never be an acceptance of average
performances. Feghouli still must be given time, but he will have to
drastically improve his productivity and performances as a whole if he is to
be considered a success in East London.


Slaven Bilic revealed after January's win over Middlesbrough that
centre-back Angelo Ogbonna had been playing through a knee injury which
would now require surgery, putting him out for the rest of the season.

I have to praise Angelo Ogbonna, because he has played the whole season with
an injury. He needs an operation on his knee to be fit long-term, and it was
supposed to be a couple of weeks but we asked him to play. Angelo will now
have surgery after today's game which will rule him out until the end of the
After undergoing surgery on his patella injury, the £9m signing from
Juventus began an intensive rehab regime to get him back fit for pre-season
given that he was not expected to return before the end of the current

West Ham's Head of Medical and Sports Science Stijn Vandenbroucke has issued
frequent updates on the club site over the last two months detailing the
progress that Ogbonna has made in his recovery.

In his latest column, Vandenbroucke reveals that the 28-year-old is
progressing well after his surgery and if he stays on schedule, he's
expected to return to first-team training in the next four to five weeks.

Angelo Ogbonna is progressing well after his knee surgery in late January
and, if his rehab remains on schedule, he will return to training with the
first team in around four to five weeks.

Given the current timetable issued, we could see Ogbonna back in training by
the end of April, possibly even as soon as Everton's trip to the London
Stadium on April 22nd.

However, a more likely return date could be West Ham's trip to Stoke on
April 29th, or the derby against Tottenham on May 6th – if the club decide
to throw Ogbonna into the action before the end of the season at all.

Either way, in a season littered with devastating injuries, it's great to
hear that one of our key players is well on the road to recovery.

West Ham transfer news: Galatasaray already in talks with £18m Hammers
By Eren Sarigul - March 23, 20170

Galatasaray are already in talks with Croatia international Mario Mandzukic
according to the Turkish outlet AMK. Turkish-Football recently revealed that
the Lions are pursuing Mandzukic. AMK has gone onto say that Gala boss Igor
Tudor has already established communications with his fellow countryman.
Galatasaray are keen to bolster their strike force with a big-name signing
this summer.
Meanwhile the Sun have said that West Ham United are also closely pursuing
the Croatian international. Per the source, Mandzukic was at the top of the
Hammers January shopping list. West Ham were unable to agree a deal with
Juve. Another article from the Sun reports that West Ham want to sign
Mandzukic this summer. The report states that Juventus have valued the
striker at £18. However, the 30-year-old will have just 12 months remaining
on his contract during the upcomming transfer window. This may lead to Juve
offloading him on a cut price deal.

Harry Redknapp reveals ego-stroking method he used to keep Paolo Di Canio
sweet at West Ham
The former Hammers chief has recalled one of the more unorthodox ways he
kept the fiery Italian from flying off the handle.
27 min ago
The temperamental Italian was managed by the 70-year-old for his first
two-and-a-half seasons with the club, and Redknapp has revealed one of the
ways he tried to keep his striker sweet for matchday. He was high
maintenance but he was a genius, a fantastic player," Redknapp told Betsafe.
"I used to make sure I put him on a team in training where nobody would kick
him, because otherwise it would all blow up. He was volatile. He'd kick one
wide and I'd used to say it was a goal. It's Paolo. Got to keep him sweet
for Saturday."


Last time out against Leicester, West Ham not only succumbed to another
defeat but suffered three devastating injuries. Winston Reid, Pedro Obiang
and Michail Antonio all suffered injuries which will see them miss several
weeks if not the rest of the season. The club's Head of Medical and Sports
Science Stijn Vandenbroucke has issued an update on the condition of all of
the Hammers' stricken players in his latest column on the club site.
Michail Antonio was forced to withdraw from the England squad this week due
to a hamstring injury suffered against Leicester but the attacker battled on
and saw out the game. While the injury is thankfully not as severe as the
one that kept Sam Byram out for over three months during the winter, Antonio
is expected to miss three to four weeks.
Captain on the day Winston Reid suffered a muscular injury early in the
first half and was taken off after several minutes of treatment.
The damage done forced him to pull out of the New Zealand squad this week
and will keep him sidelined for up to five weeks, Vandenbroucke notes.
Pedro Obiang's situation is the most severe. After suffering a high ankle
sprain in the second half, Obiang underwent surgery on the injury on Tuesday
this week and is recovering at home. Unfortunately for the Hammers, his
timetable for a return to action is lengthy and will see him miss the rest
of the season.
Mark Noble missed the Leicester game with a knock he picked up against
Bournemouth but he will return to first-team training this week and will be
available for selection next week against Hull barring any setbacks.
Angelo Ogbonna played through a patella injury for most of the season at the
request of the club until a replacement could be signed, and following the
arrival of Jose Fonte he underwent knee surgery which was expected to rule
him out for the season. The Italian defender has been recovering well,
Vandenbroucke reports, and if his rehab remains on schedule he will be
reintroduced to first-team training in the next four to five weeks which
could see him available for the final games of the season.
Diafra Sakho, who has missed virtually the entire season barring a two-game
stretch in November, is also closing in on a first-team return. The striker
has been undergoing controlled sessions with the U23s of late which will
continue to be monitored. His workload will be gradually increased before
he's deemed fit and ready to rejoin the first-team soon. Severely lacking
match fitness, it will likely be a few more weeks before we see Sakho
feature in a matchday squad.

Jack Sullivan responds to Rooney to West Ham switch from Manchester United
The chairmans son - often a mouthpiece for the club - has spoken out
Football London
17:30, 22 MAR 2017UPDATED17:35, 22 MAR 2017

West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan's son - Jack - has taken to social media
to pour cold water on any possible move by the Hammers for Manchester United
striker Wayne Rooney. Rumours began to swirl on Tuesday morning, with quotes
from a senior source - believed to have been the co-chairman - that West Ham
were interested in signing the 31-year-old striker from Old Traffiord. We
exclusively revealed yesterday that any move was "highly doubtful" from the
Hammers for the England skipper and it now seems a move to Everton, Rooney's
boyhood club, is a more plausible option.
Jack Sullivan - who often reveals transfers by the club before they are
officially unveiled - is very active on Twitter and told his 81,000
followers a today the chances of Rooney signing are "100/1."

By Sean Whetstone 22 Mar 2017 at 17:00

West Ham proudly announced had a record breaking day in the Ticket Office
with over 9,360 supporters renewing their season tickets at the London
Stadium for next season. That is a new record for the club and accounts for
eighteen per cent of the current fifty-two thousand season ticket holders. A
club insider said that previous renewals at the Boleyn Ground amounted to
around three hundred on day one of the renewal window.

The announcement followed the confirmation that season ticket renews would
be frozen in price but I am guessing that new season ticket will slightly
rise when they become available as the club has made it clear the price
freeze refers to renews only.

There is a little bit of marketing spin in these record figures. The 52,000
season ticket holders include up to 3,600 corporate Club London members all
of which have signed up for three years so their automatic renewal was
contractually obliged. Next was 3,000 band 5 season holders who paid two
years up front when we increased from 54,000 to 57,000 capacity. They were
renewed automatically too last Monday without lifting a finger.

Don't get me wrong, the renewal of over 2,760 season ticket holders in one
day was still an impressive feat considering that just a few hundred would
renew on the day on before the move. Many of these early renewals are being
driven by the promise of priority of relocation within the London Stadium on
a first come, first served approach.

The logistics of how this mass migration will be completed is still unclear
but it is potentially a logistical nightmare with thousands wanting to move

On the financial side Interest-free credit for four months subject to a £30
admin fee and a low-interest loan at 6% over ten months (down from 19.9%)
are also helping to spread the financial pain to supporters which is always

Reports that current away season tickets will not receive priority have been
dismissed by the club as simply not true. I have been told that current away
season ticket holders will receive priority if they sign up before the May
deadline with the remaining allocation being sold on a first come, first
served basis. However, the club do say the allocation of five hundred in the
away scheme has never sold out in reality.

Season tickets holders will be able to both upgrade and downgrade bands in
the relocation window subject to availability of seats elsewhere. You will
first need to renew your season ticket at the current price and if you are
successful with your band downgrade you will be credited back the money to

Upgrades from any of 10,000 junior season tickets to adult will be permitted
but upgrades from junior to adult will not be allowed. The Under 16 season
ticket holders will undergo an identity verification process before the
beginning of September.

In twitter poll on social media of 400 season ticket holders 61% said they
would renew their season ticket with 39% claiming they would not.

KUMB also ran a poll on their forums with nearly 300 voting. 41% said Yes
39% No with 18% Unsure

The London Stadium survey published yesterday had 4,392 supporters who
claimed they were active season ticket holders.

2,546 fans say they will renew their season tickets which is around 58%,
just 17% claim they won't renew their season tickets which could account for
as many as 8,840 seats if they really mean what they say! 1,082 were
undecided which account for the remaining 25%; again history tells us many
of them will bite the bullet and renew as the deadline gets closer so
renewals could be as high as 83%. With a doubling of season ticket holders
from 26,000 to 52,000 last season we were never going to get 100% renewals
and not all of the reasons for non-renewal will be down to the London

With the club claiming there are now 55,000 on the £10 waiting list for a
season ticket holder we will soon see how many of those non-renewed season
ticket seats are snapped up by the waiting list.

The club is keen to stress that this year the May deadline is the absolute
deadline and you will lose your seat if you don't renew in time. In previous
years we have seen extensions for absent minded fans.

Key Dates

Friday 14 April Deadline for online Monthly Payment Plan applications.
Applications can still be made before the renewal deadline but they must be
made in person or by calling the Ticket Office.

Wednesday 31 May Renewal deadline. Make sure you renew by 5pm as, following
this date, your seat will be made available to Season Ticket Holders wishing
to relocate and offered to the 55,000-plus supporters on the Waiting List.

Thursday 1 June Priority relocation window opens. Seat relocations will be
subject to seat availability at the end of the renewal window. Relocations
will be prioritised by how early you renew your Season Ticket, and the
priority window slots will be communicated to supporters nearer the time.

Thursday 15 June Priority relocation window closes.

Friday 16 June Season Tickets on sale to Waiting List.

West Ham ready to revive interest in Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi with
loan deal likely
Louis Sealey for
Wednesday 22 Mar 2017 11:14 pm

West Ham will revive their interest in Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi at
the end of the season, according to reports. The Hammers thought they had
secured the Belgian's services last summer when their £31million bid was
accepted by Ligue 1 outfit Marseille. However, the Premier League leaders
tabled an improved offer with higher wages to sign Batshuayi on a five-year
deal. Yet to start a league game under Antonio Conte, the 23-year-old has
endured a frustrating season at Stamford Bridge. And the Daily Mail say West
Ham boss Slaven Bilic will prepare a summer move for Batshuayi, with Chelsea
considering a season-long loan rather than a permanent transfer.

Sofiane Feghouli "happy" with squad-leading assist tally after earning West
Ham chance By Raj Mahil 23rd Mar 2017

Summer signing Sofiane Feghouli has spoken of his happiness after recently
enjoying a run in the West Ham United team. Feghouli arrived in east London
on a free transfer this summer, following a five-season stint with Valencia.
Though the signing was met with excitement, the Algeria international
suffered a six-week injury lay-off to begin his West Ham career, before
struggling to make Slaven Bilic's XI.
Reflecting on his recent breakthrough, Feghouli told the club's official
website: "I'm happy to be playing. I couldn't wait to get back on the pitch,
after spending quite a while out of the team. "I'm very pleased to be
playing again regularly. I haven't changed anything in particular. I just
work hard in training and the coach decided to give me a chance which I had
to grab with both hands.

Watch Sky Sports live with NOW TV. Sign up for a Day or Week Pass now and
get a 10% discount. "I've racked up two goals and three assists since I got
into the team. I'm happy about that, particularly with the goals at home in
front of our fans which is always a great feeling. "The most important
thing, however, is to help the team win games which is what I enjoy the most
because I'm a competitor and I want to play."

How has Feghouli performed in the Premier League?
The Irons' No.7 has played in a total of 16 Premier League games, though has
completed only three. Feghouli is also West Ham's most clinical shooter,
with an accuracy of 71% (minimum of four shots) – and two of his efforts,
against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace, hit the back of the net.
Despite his lack of opportunities over the season, Feghouli has also created
more chances (15) than all but three teammates.

True cost of West Ham's disastrous signings laid bare with some shocking
Damien Lucas

The true cost of West Ham United's shocking season of recruitment has been
laid bare with one player earning an estimated £866,000 PER GAME. The
Hammers brought in 11 players in the summer and another two in January with
only Edimilson Fernandes and more recently Andre Ayew making any kind of
positive impact. Using player salary data from Football Manager 2017, we
have assessed the outlay in wages for each of the new recruits and - based
on their current number of appearances - how much they will have cost the
club come the summer.
A handful of the players will add to their number of appearances in the last
nine games of the season but most have played their final games for the
Hammers already.
The numbers are not for the faint-hearted Hammers fan with some eyewatering
results particularly given Slaven Bilic's side are sat in 12th place in the
Premier League table and look a shadow of the side which challenged for the
Champions League spots last season.
Staggeringly one player, Spaniard Alvaro Arbeloa, will have earned an
estimated £866,000 per game come the summer after just three appearances in
the claret and blue all season. The report does not account for flop Italian
striker Simone Zaza whose loan from Juventus - which included an obligation
to buy after 14 games for £25m - was cancelled after no goals and barely a
shot on target in eight appearances before he went on to join Valencia on
According to the Football Manager 2017 data, on the 2016/17 season signings
alone West Ham will have splashed out over £21m in wages - not including
Zaza - by the summer for a paltry return of what will not exceed 150
appearances between 11 players - with just 9 goals to show for it. If this
report does nothing else it will surely serve as a sobering reminder to
co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold never to get it so wrong again.

Ashley Fletcher
Fee: Free
Weekly wage: £3,500 p/w
Total basic wages by summer: £182,000
Appearances/goals: 13 appearances / 1 league cup goal
£14,000 per game

Arthur Masuaku
Fee: £6.5m
Weekly wage: £25,000
Total basic wages by summer: £1.3m
Appearances/goals: 7 appearances
£185,000 per game

Gokhan Tore
Fee: £3m loan fee, out for season through injury
Weekly wage: £27,500
Total basic wages by summer: £1.43m
Appearances/goals: 5 appearances
£286,000 per game

Edimilson Fernandes
Fee: £5m
Weekly wage: £30,000
Total basic wages by summer: £1.56m
Appearances/goals: 19 appearances / 1 league cup goal
£82,000 per game

Havard Nordtveit
Fee: Free
Weekly wage: £30,000
Total basic wages by summer: £1.56m
Appearances/goals: 12 appearances
£130,000 per game

Robert Snodgrass
Fee: £10m
Weekly wage: £40,000
Total basic wages by summer: £1m
Appearances/goals: 7 appearances (since January)
£142,000 per game

Jonathan Calleri
Fee: Loan (Unknown fee)
Weekly wage: £40,000
Total basic wages by summer: £2.08m
Appearances/goals: 10 apperances / 1 goal
£208,000 per game

Alvaro Arbeloa
Fee: Free
Weekly wage: £50,000
Total basic wages by summer: £2.6m
Appearances/goals: 3 appearances
£866,000 per game

Sofiane Feghouli
Fee: Free
Weekly wage: £65,000
Total basic wages by summer: £3.38m
Appearances/goals: 17 appearances / 2 goals
£198,000 per game

Jose Fonte
Fee: £8m
Weekly wage: £75,000
Total basic wages by summer: £1.8m
Appearances/goals: 7 appearances (since January)
£257,000 per game

Andre Ayew
Fee: £20.5m
Weekly wage: £80,000
Total basic wages by summer: £4.16m
Appearances/goals: 16 appearances / 4 goals
£260,000 per game

Slaven Bilic should use Croatian influence to lure AC Milan loan star Mario
Pasalic to West Ham
Damien Lucas

West Ham United need to get it right in the summer transfer window and
Slaven Bilic could use his Croatian influence to good effect.
The Hammers turned their season around after Christmas and are sitting in
the relative comfort of 12th in the Premier League table despite going five
games without a win. While the mediocrity of midtable may not provide an
exciting end to the season for fans of the East London club, it does give
Bilic and co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan plenty of time to prepare
their summer recruitment.
The Hammers got things badly wrong last summer as they diluted their squad
with a glut of poor quality free transfers and flop loan signings despite
promising supporters big name marquee signings as they took up residence at
their new 60,000 seater Olympic Stadium home. Having lost star man Dimitri
Payet in January the club faces a big task to bring in better quality
players to compete with the Premier League elite. And Bilic should use his
Croatian influence to lure Mario Pasalic - who has spent the season on loan
at Italian giants AC Milan from West Ham's London rivals Chelsea - to the
club. The midfielder started his career at Bilic's club Hajduk Split before
moving to Chelsea for a reported £3 million fee back in 2014.
His future in West London looks uncertain, though, given that the Blues have
loaned the 22-year-old out for three consecutive seasons since to Elche,
Monaco and Milan. Pasalic made his senior international debut for Croatia in
2014 and needs to find a club to call his own if he is to realise his
undoubted potential. He has an impressed haul of 23 goals from 123 senior
professional appearances at some prestigious clubs. Given West Ham's
shortage of quality in central midfield this season with question marks over
captain Mark Noble, Cheikhou Kouyate being played out of position, Robert
Snodgrass so far failing to hit things off in East London and now Pedro
Obiang's season-ending injury Bilic will be keen to bolster his options.
Pasalic is not proven in the Premier League but where better for him to come
of age than under the man who brought through Croatia's golden generation a
decade ago.


Daily WHUFC News - 23rd March 2017

Everton tickets sell out to Claret Members

Tickets for the Premier League clash with Everton on Saturday 22 April have
sold out to Claret Members.

Demand for tickets at London Stadium has hit phenomenally high levels all
season, with the upcoming games against the Toffees and Swansea City both
selling out well within the priority window for Claret Members.

With this game now sold out, as the Hammers look to avenge October's defeat
to Ronald Koeman's side, the Ticket Exchange is open so that Season Ticket
Holders who cannot attend can relist their seats.

By relisting, Season Ticket Holders can help satisfy the huge demand to
watch the team in action at London Stadium, by giving another Hammer the
chance to fill their seat at the game.

In addition, when your seat sells you will also receive Club Cash to redeem
against a range of ticketing products - including your 2017/18 Season Ticket

Click here to relist your seat for Swansea or Everton now

Any seats already relisted for Everton are currently available for Claret
Members to purchase by clicking here.

Claret Members have an exclusive window to purchase from the Ticket Exchange
until 3pm on Wednesday 5 April, when the service is open to supporters on
the Season Ticket Waiting List.

Tickets on the Exchange is then available to all supporters from 3pm on
Friday 7 April.

Mediawatch - 22 March

Our daily look at the Hammers stories making the news contains some
interesting transfer rumours…

The Daily Mirror say the Club will step up their pursuit of Swansea City
midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson in the summer, after initially expressing an
interest in January.

As the Hammers look to bolster their creative options, the Iceland
international could fit the bill. However, the same piece says a deal for
Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney is unlikely, due to his reported
£300,000 a week salary.

Meanwhile, The Sun reckon the Club still hold a firm interest in Jermain
Defoe – especially given the belief that he would be available on a free
should Sunderland be relegated this season.

Another striker on the radar is said to be Michy Batshuayi according to the
Daily Mail. Batshuayi joined Chelsea from Marseille in the summer, but has
struggled for game time at Stamford Bridge.

Finally, Sam Byram offers his thoughts on Saturday's defeat to Leicester
City in the Newham Recorder, where he talks of his frustration at not being
able to return to the side in a winning effort.

He said: "It was frustrating. Especially in the first half, where it was
disappointing for us to perform like that. We have turned it around in the
second half and were unfortunate not to get anything from the game, but it
has happened too many times when we have started slowly."

Five Talking Points – International Break

West Ham United's players head off to represent their countries this week -
and there are plenty of intriguing story-lines to follow!

1. Celtic clash

Two West Ham United players go head-to-head in Dublin on Friday evening,
when Darren Randolph's Republic of Ireland host James Collins' Wales in a
crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier. The unbeaten Boys in Green sit top of
Group D with ten points from four matches played, while the UEFA Euro 2016
semi-finalists are also unbeaten but sit third, with six points from four
games. With Ireland having four of their remaining six group games at home,
victory over Wales would put them in a strong position to finish in the top
two, with the runners-up spot all but guaranteed to secure them a play-off.
For Wales, who have played three home games, drawing two, avoiding defeat
would be an acceptable result, but a win would bolster their hopes of
qualifying for another major tournament. Randolph is almost certain to start
and earn his 19th cap, while Collins may have to make do with a seat on the
bench due to Wales' strong and experienced defensive options. The Celtic
clash will be screened live in the UK on S4C and Sky Sports 1.

2. Cheik-up

Cheikhou Kouyate will not have far to travel to captain Senegal this week.
The Lions of Teranga tackle Nigeria in Barnet on Thursday evening, with the
Bees' The Hive playing host to the friendly meeting of two of Africa's
traditional giants. The fixture, as well as a meeting with Cote D'Ivoire in
Paris on Monday, have been lined up in preparation for Senegal's opening
2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Equatorial Guinea in June and
vital 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the autumn. With Senegal having
failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and been knocked out of this
year's Africa Cup of Nations in the quarter-finals, Kouyate and his
star-studded squad will be desperate to make their mark in their next two
major tournaments. Tickets for Thursday's game are available now here.

3. History awaits Josh

Josh Cullen has been enjoying an outstanding season on loan at League One
promotion-chasers Bradford City, where he is in the running to succeed Reece
Burke as the Bantams' Player of the Year. On Saturday, the promising
midfielder will take part in a historic international fixture as Republic of
Ireland U21s host Kosovo in the latter's first-ever UEFA European U21
Championship qualifier in Dublin. Cullen's Ireland are in Group 5 alongside
Germany, Israel, Norway, Azerbaijan and Kosovo, who became members of UEFA
and FIFA in May 2016. The Irish are seeking to make history of their own, as
they have never qualified for the European U21 Championship finals in 15

4. Future stars

While there is much ongoing debate over the future and potential of the Home
Nations and Republic of Ireland, the Hammers continue to do their bit. No
fewer than five young Academy graduates have been called-up this week – Josh
Cullen (Republic of Ireland U21), Reece Oxford and Nathan Trott (England
U19), Declan Rice (Republic of Ireland U19) and Conor Coventry (Republic of
Ireland U17) – while a number of others were placed on standby. With England
manager Gareth Southgate talking this week of the plusses of young players
being involved in competitive football at a young age, these five will
undoubtedly benefit from going away and pulling on their respective
national-team jerseys for important qualifying matches.

5. Make or break for Snoddy

Following Wednesday's friendly with Canada in Edinburgh, Scotland and Robert
Snodgrass face what is a make or break 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier with
Slovenia on Sunday. The Scots welcome Slovenia to Hampden Park in Glasgow
knowing a defeat would all but end their chances of reaching next summer's
finals in Russia. The Tartan Army have just four points from four matches
played and would slip seven behind Slovenia – and potentially nine behind
England – if they lose. For Snodgrass, who will become West Ham's first
Scotland international since Christian Dailly in 2007, there is plenty of
incentive to score an important victory in his home city.

Rice ready for Ireland duty

Declan Rice is part of the Republic of Ireland U19s squad for their upcoming
European qualifiers
The Boys in Green take on Italy, Sweden and Belgium in Group 7
FAI U17 International Player of the Year believes Ireland will have to be at
their very best to qualify

Declan Rice believes the Republic of Ireland U19s need to be at their very
best if they are to qualify for the European Championships which take place
in Georgia in July. The Boys in Green face three tricky qualifiers over the
coming days starting with a tie against Italy on Thursday, before their
final two Group 7 matches against Sweden and Belgium. All the matches take
place in Belgium, with only the group winners guaranteed a spot in the
finals in the summer, and Rice is under no illusions as to how difficult
their three qualifiers will be. "The games coming up are going to be very
tough. We've got three game against three very good sides so we will need to
be at our very best," he said. "Everyone wants to test themselves against
the best teams and the best players. All the lads are excited to get going
on Thursday."

Rice will line up for the Irish U19 side just days after being named
Football Association of Ireland U17 International Player of the Year. The
award is another signal of the huge talent Rice possesses and it also
contributes to what has been a fantastic year so far for the 18-year-old.
He began his season being named captain of West Ham United's U23s at the age
of just 17, before going on to lead the team in Premier League 2, the
Premier League Cup and the Checkatrade Trophy. And after impressing in
various Republic of Ireland age groups, Rice beat Jaysom Molumby (Brighton &
Hove Albion) and Canice Carroll (Oxford United) to the Player of the Year
award at a ceremony in Dublin. "It was a very proud moment for me and my
family. It's something that I work very hard for every day, on and off the
pitch," Rice continued. "It's definitely been a great season for me. I did
not expect the year to go as well as it has at all but it's very nice to
have won the award."

Ireland kick-off their UEFA European U17 Championship Elite Round Group 7
campaign when they face Italy in Hamme on Thursday at 6pm GMT, before
tackling Sweden in Beveren on Saturday at 2pm GMT and Belgium in the same
location on Monday at 6pm BST.

Feghouli - I'm a competitor

Sofiane Feghouli wants to make a positive contribution over the closing
weeks of the season
Algeria star keen to play after recently making eight consecutive Premier
League starts
No7 admits it took him time to settle into life in the hurly-burly of
England's Premier League

As is the case with so many overseas players when they arrive in the
hurly-burly of the English Premier League, Sofiane Feghouli openly admits it
took him time to settle in.

The experienced Algeria winger suffered a hamstring injury in West Ham
United's Betway Cup clash with Juventus in August, just weeks after arriving
from Spanish club Valencia.

That setback saw the No7 ruled out for six weeks and, on his return, he
found it difficult to break into Slaven Bilic's starting XI.

An impressive cameo as a substitute at Swansea City helped his cause,
however, and Feghouli started eight Premier League matches in succession
between January and March, scoring against Crystal Palace and West Bromwich

While the 27-year-old was back on the bench against Leicester City last
weekend but, speaking in general terms, the right-sided attacker is in a
happier place than he was in the autumn.

"I'm happy to be playing," he confirmed. "I couldn't wait to get back on the
pitch, after spending quite a while out of the team. I'm very pleased to be
playing again regularly.

"I haven't changed anything in particular. I just work hard in training and
the coach decided to give me a chance which I had to grab with both hands.

"I've racked up two goals and three assists since I got into the team. I'm
happy about that, particularly with the goals at home in front of our fans
which is always a great feeling. The most important thing, however, is to
help the team win games which is what I enjoy the most because I'm a
competitor and I want to play."

There's plenty of room for progress in this team. It's down to all of us and
the staff to do better. We haven't won recent games due to fine margins

For Feghouli, the switch from La Liga to the Premier League has been
something of a culture shock, particularly in terms of the style of football
he has had to get used to on these shores.

"It's been a radical change in footballing terms," he confirmed. "In Spain,
the game is more about possession, technique and strategy, whereas football
here is more direct.

"It's a big change, but as I said, I'm happy with my statistics so far – two
goals and three assists in not many games. I'm gradually settling in."

Like his manager and teammates, Feghouli readily admits the team's
performances and results have not been good enough in recent weeks.

The Hammers went into the international break – Algeria do not have any
fixtures – on a five-match winless run, and the wideman is determined to end
it when they travel to Hull City on Saturday 1 April.

"I don't like losing," he confirmed. "Every morning I wake up to go to
training to win and that's what I think being a professional is about.

"We haven't won in our last five games now, so we really need to work on
becoming more consistent. There's plenty of room for progress in this team.
It's down to all of us and the staff to do better. We haven't won recent
games due to fine margins.

"We also need to improve defensively because we've been conceding too many
goals. Our target is to finish in the top-half and to entertain our

From the Treatment Room

Head of Medical and Sports Science Stijn Vandenbroucke issues an update – in
association with Spire Roding Hospital...

Hello everyone,

I would like to start by wishing all our international players the best as
they represent their countries over the next few days.

Unfortunately, two of the players who had been called-up were unable to join
as they suffered injuries in the Premier League game with Leicester City on

Michail Antonio was withdrawn from the England squad because he suffered a
muscle injury. He will be unavailable for the first team for three to four

Winston Reid was withdrawn from the New Zealand squad after he suffered a
muscle injury early in the game. Winston will be out for five weeks.

Pedro Obiang suffered a nasty high ankle sprain injury while making a
challenge during the second half. He underwent surgery in London on Tuesday
evening and is now recovering at home.

Unfortunately, he will be unavailable for a significant period, and will be
ready for next season's preparation in July.

Domingos Quina has entered the second phase of his rehab and is now working
on an individual basis in the gym.

Captain Mark Noble will resume training with the first team later this week
and be available to face Hull City on 1 April.

Angelo Ogbonna is progressing well after his knee surgery in late January
and, if his rehab remains on schedule, he will return to training with the
first team in around four to five weeks.

Finally, we have Diafra Sakho, who returned to training with the Under-23s
this week in controlled sessions, meaning that we tailor the sessions to
manage his workload, gradually building him up. He has worked hard this week
and will join the first team soon.

However, we must be mindful that Diaf is essentially at the start of his own
personal pre-season training schedule.

When players return from their off-season, they will go through four to five
weeks of pre-season work to build up their strength and fitness and, after
undergoing back surgery and three months of rehab, a player needs time to
reach sufficient fitness levels before we can contemplate making him
available for selection in the Premier League.

Stijn Vandenbroucke
Head of Medical and Sports Science

West Ham eye Bundesliga star
Filed: Wednesday, 22nd March 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham are one of several Premier League clubs keeping tabs on US
international Bobby Wood. The 24-year-old striker, who hails from Honolulu,
Hawaii currently plays for Hamburg in the Bundesliga - for whom he scored
the winning goal in last weekend's 2-1 defeat Borussia Mönchengladbach. And
that game was watched by a representative from West Ham United - along with
several other top flight scouts from the likes of Southampton, Everton and
Liverpool. Wood has spent the last nine years in Germany having moving to
Europe in 2007 in order to join 1860 Munich - for whom he made his first
team and Bundesliga debut in 2011. He has made 29 appearances for the USA
since first appearing in 2013.

* Rather closer to home and West Ham are once again being linked with a move
for Swansea's attacking midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The 27-year-old Icelandic international was the target of interest from West
Ham in January but remained with Swansea who are currently battling for
their Premier League lives. However the Mirror suggests that West Ham will
make a renewed effort to sign him in the summer.

* Lyon Technical Director Bruno Genesio has confirmed that former Hammers
transfer target Rachid Ghezzal will be leaving the Ligue 1 side this summer.
Speaking on BeIn Sports' Football Show, Genesio said: " Rachid is at the end
of his contract and is likely to leave us. There is a desire there to take
an extra step." Everton and AC Milan have also expressed an interest in
signing the 24-year-old Algerian winger.

The needle and the damage done
Filed: Tuesday, 21st March 2017
By: Rio Barlow

This hasn't been an easy season.

I'd go as far to say it is quite possibly the worst I've encountered in my
34 years of attending games. Not for the performances on the pitch though.
As difficult as it's been, we've endured far, far worse. There's a far more
worrying core to this being so grim.

One of the factors that drew me to football and West Ham in particular was
the sense of belonging, the feeling of unity between the support. It was
like being in a second family. You could with friends, alone, but you were
part of a bigger entity. Friendships outside your social circle formed, mere
nods of acknowledgement made you feel at ease. The Boleyn Ground and its
surrounding areas were though not aesthetically pleasing, gave you a sense
of comfort that was akin to being in your grandparents living room.

With the enforced demise of the our former home, never was a sense of unity
needed more. This was a true test of the spirit of West Ham. We've failed
that test. We've failed it badly.

In essence everything should have been set up perfectly. The hardcore
support we've always had, augmented with the plus 2's. A rag, tag and
bobtail group of lapsed fans, offspring of the Boleyn's incumbents and fresh
support previously unable to attend for one reason or another. But all
invited by the hardcore? So why has it failed? Why has the supposed process
of merely bringing friends and family caused so much angst that it's spilt
over into violence at times? Why then are fingers being pointed at day
trippers, when by and large the majority of the support is supposedly so

We know the migration process was flawed and has destroyed some of the long
standing bonds formed at the old ground. We know the new stadium itself is
far from ideal. But that is what in the past would have drawn us together,
made us stronger. Instead it's sought to drive us further apart. The
hangover from leaving E13 is one that is lingering long and heavy. With no
resolution in sight and nobody seemingly willing to act to bridge the
divide. Until we have a united support, then making our new home a fortress,
a place where opponents, rather than us fear to tread is a long, way away.

This leads me to to the second reason I've hated this season. I'm afraid to
say that social media is sounding the death knell of football. Gone are the
days of going to games, casually discussing the nuances of the match with
friends after.

Now every individual action is played out, error by error, moment of genius
by moment of genius, kick after kick live on Twitter, Facebook etc. by and
large by those not in attendance. Those unable to see the bigger picture.
Those who have little to say, but now big voices. These voices are rapidly
draining the life out of the game.

It's not to say those who don't attend the games are not capable of offering
constructive insight and comment. But those with worthwhile opinion are lost
within swathes of mindless, knee jerk reactionists. Those who's in game
mood-swings would put the most hardened psychiatric experts to the sword.

It makes for difficult reading at the best of times. But having easy access
to vent frustrations directly at players is a step too far. In an era when
most bemoan the lack of characters in the modern game, the detachment
between the players and support, it's ironic that when players do offer a
key point of contact, it's backfired massively. And it's not solely
pre-pubescent teenagers who offer the kind of insightful disdain which would
cause most to roll their eyes. It's created a snowball effect to the stage
far too many grown men (and women. I won't discriminate) who should know
better, feel free to chip in with views that have no place in the public

Some of the abuse directed at players is embarrassing. It's often said that
if you earn £50,000+ a week, then you can shout what you like. But behind
the wealth isn't always the mental strength to go with it. No fan knows the
effect disparaging remarks can have. No fan really knows the circumstances
behind all dips in form. These men are human beings just like the rest of
us. They hurt when loved ones are ill. They all have issues, as do we. Just
because they're athletes, and well paid ones at that, doesn't make them
immune from the same things that affect our mental well-being.

With statistics claiming one in six people suffer from some sort of mental
illness, most notably depression or anxiety, then it's highly likely that
four or five of our current squad will have or be experiencing this. Could
social media abuse fuel this further?

Money can buy a lot of things, but it can't rewire a brain. Some high
profile athletes, Andy Flintoff, Jonathon Trott, Paul Gascoigne, Frank
Bruno, Gary Speed to name but a few have all suffered. And they were by and
large not subjected to the mass hysteria of social media and it's instant
ability to be the instant recipient of public trolling.

With this in mind, do the supporters who insist of jumping on every error
made in games, on every unpopular comment made in interviews really thinking
taking to the Internet really is a way of making players perform better?

Last weeks haranguing of our skipper Mark Noble was a major point in case,
this is a man who has spent his whole career at the club he supported as a
boy. A man with over 300 appearances at the club he represents and feels for
as much as we all do. A man who openly described what we mutually love, as i
did at the top of this article as not a football club, but a family. The
whole move has hit him hard, just as it has us.

Yet one outspoken moment last week saw a reaction on Twitter that left me
shameful of some of our support. Is this really the band of brothers I grew
up with? Is it the same core of like minded kindred spirits who made me feel
part of something special.

In a season that I always felt would be both emotional and tricky, I didn't
expect those closest to me to leave me most hurt.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the
author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be
attributed to,

Who is reported West Ham transfer target Bobby Wood? Here's all you need to
The Hammers have sent scouts to watch Wood in Germany
Football London
13:27, 22 MAR 2017

West Ham have reportedly sent scouts to watch USA international Bobby Wood.
Not exactly a household name but he is on the radar of a couple of Premier
League clubs other than the Hammers as well so we thought we'd have a look
into him and see what he is all about.
Wood is a 24-year-old striker who hails from the exotic paradise of
Honolulu, Hawaii. He's a striker and currently plies his trade in Germany
for Hamburg SV, and scored the winner in last weekend's win over Borussia
Moenchengladbach. That was the game that West Ham had Wood watched,
alongside scouts from Liverpool and Everton. Wood began his footballl career
with the quite fantastically-named Power Edge FC before moving to the
mainland and playing for Irvine Strikers. He then relocated to the Europe in
2007 to join the academy at 1860 Munich in Gerany and eventually made his
way into the first team, going on to make 50 appearances and scoring three
goals. Not exactly outstanding. He moved to Union Berlin in July 2015 and
that's where things started to take a but of an upturn as he broke the
single-season scoring record for an American in the German leagues, netting
17 times and that was enough to earn him a switch to Hamburg despite still
having two years on his Berlin deal. He has scored only five times so far in
20 appearances this season but that has been enough to see him generate
plenty of interest from the Premier League. His international record is
decent as well, having scored eight goals in 29 games for the USMNT so far
in his career. In June 2015, he scored his first goal, a game-winner in a
4–3 victory against the Netherlands.

Jose Fonte: West Ham need to go back to basics to start winning again
Evening Standard

West Ham defender Jose Fonte says the Hammers need to get the basics right
if they want to return to winning ways. Slaven Bilic's side suffered their
third straight defeat in the league on Saturday in their 3-2 loss at home to
revived champions Leicester City. The defeat left West Ham in 12th place,
and going through another tough period this season. Fonte, who joined West
Ham from Southampton in the January transfer window, says the Hammers'
defence is to blame for the recent results and urged the players to start
doing the basics right to ensure victory in games. "Sometimes these things
happen. Having said that, we could have easily won the game. We had the
chances. It didn't happen for us," the 33-year-old told West Ham's official
website. "We tried in the second half with everything we could throw at
them, everything we could. We had two or three great chances to equalise and
win, but we didn't manage to do it.
"We showed character to try everything and not give up. Now it's about
getting back to basics; good defending, clean sheets first. We can create
chances. We're very disappointed and very sad, but we want to pick ourselves
back up."

West Ham travel to take on Premier League strugglers Hull City after the
international break before another away game sees the east Londoners play
London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on 5 April. With matches
against Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool all to come before the end of the
season, Fonte says the team must find a way to change their luck - and fast.
"We have been talking and saying things the whole time for the last two or
three months! Sometimes things don't go your way but you have to try and
change your bit of luck, to try and be more compact and defensive," he
added. "We know that if we try to get some clean sheets, we can do well
because we have seen we can score. It's about back to basics. We need to be
in good positions and just defend."

West Ham star Reece Oxford unexpectedly benched for England U19s against
Oxford's lack of game time might have cost him a starting berth today
Football London
13:39, 22 MAR 2017

Reece Oxford has been surprisingly left on the bench for the England U19
side as they take on Norway at St George's Park this afternoon.
The West Ham centre back, on loan at Reading for the season, has struggled
for game time at the Royals after recovering from an ankle problem and
joining Reading on a six-month loan deal in January. However, he only made
his debut for the club with a 17-minute cameo in a 3-0 defeat to Preston
North End in the Championship. Fellow Hammer Nathan Trott was also named in
the squad for the matches but has not mad todays matchday 16. The Young
Lions will tackle Norway, Spain and Belarus in the UEFA Elite Round
Qualifiers over the next six days, with the winner of their group advancing
to the tournament in Georgia this summer. Oxford has captained the U17s
twice and has been capped twice at U20 level. He is tied down to the Hammers
until 2020 and had been tipped to skipper the side today but it appears that
Oxford may well be being saved for future games despite manager Keith
Downing hinting that Oxford would have been captain.

West Ham eye Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi with Blues likely to opt for
season-long loan move
West Ham were beaten to signing of Michy Batshuayi by Chelsea in the summer
However, the Belgium striker has not had much game time at Stamford Bridge
The Hammers could make a move for the forward and may take him on loan
By Kieran Gill for the Daily Mail and Matt Barlow for the Daily Mail
PUBLISHED: 22:30, 21 March 2017 | UPDATED: 00:25, 22 March 2017

Chelsea outcast Michy Batshuayi could be offered an escape route at the end
of this season by West Ham. The Hammers had a £31million bid accepted in the
summer for Batshuayi before Chelsea came in with £33m and better wages on
offer. And with the 23-year-old struggling for game time this season, Slaven
Bilic, who will be in the market for a striker in the summer, will consider
a move for Batshuayi. Chelsea could opt for a season-long loan rather than a
permanent sale. The former Marseille striker has made 16 appearances in the
Premier League this season — all as a substitute. Meanwhile, Thibaut
Courtois has pledged his long-term future to Chelsea and ruled out the idea
of a transfer to Real Madrid. Courtois has been frequently linked with a
return to the city where he spent three successful years at Atletico Madrid
on loan from Stamford Bridge. But the 24-year-old goalkeeper has said that
he would prefer to stay at Chelsea and extend a contract which is set to
expire in 2019. 'I don't see myself being at Real Madrid. I see myself at
Chelsea. I am happy in London and I am delighted with the success that we
are having this season,' Courtois said.

West Ham unable to recall Reece Oxford from Reading loan despite Winston
Reid injury
West Ham youngster Reece Oxford is currently on loan at Reading
But there is no recall clause in the deal which sent Oxford to the
It means the Hammers are unable to bring him back as cover for Winston Reid
Reid faces at least four weeks out after being injured against Leicester
By Kieran Gill for the Daily Mail
PUBLISHED: 22:43, 21 March 2017 | UPDATED: 00:33, 22 March 2017

West Ham will not be able to recall Reece Oxford from his loan at Reading.
There is no clause in the contract to say that the 18-year-old defender can
be brought back from the Championship club following injury to Winston Reid.
Reid is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks, meaning West Ham will
have to make do with James Collins and Jose Fonte as a centre-back pairing.
It is understood the same situation applies to Reece Burke, who is on loan
at Wigan. Reid suffered an adductor injury in the first half of the Hammers'
defeat by Leicester at the weekend, while Pedro Obiang picked up an ankle
injury in the same game which could keep him out for the rest of the season.
Winger Michail Antonio suffered a hamstring problem which has forced him to
withdraw from the England squad to face Germany and Lithuania and faces
three to four weeks out. Oxford has played just twice for Reading during his
loan spell at the Championship club.

Enner Valencia has become Everton FC's man to make things happen
The Ecuador international certainly has an impact when he's on the pitch
Daily Post
18:17, 21 MAR 2017

Enner Valencia is the man who makes things happen for Everton . The West Ham
loanee has played the equivalent of one 100-minute match for the Blues so
far this year report the Liverpool Echo . But adding up the goals scored
during Valencia's actual time on the pitch, Everton won 8-1! The Ecuadorian
international's loan spell at Everton has been a slow burner. After arriving
on transfer deadline day, his only start before December was the home defeat
by Norwich in the EFL Cup . But as Christmas loomed he enjoyed an impressive
start against Arsenal , kept his place for the Goodison derby and started
again at Hull City on December 30. It was as 2017 dawned, though, that
Valencia's Goodison spell took off. He was an impact substitute who made a
big splash against Southampton on January 2 - breaking the deadlock in a
match which had looked consigned to end goalless. Eight minutes later he was
brought down for the penalty from which Leighton Baines clinched all three
points. Romelu Lukaku added another in the 89th minute for good measure. He
had to wait almost six weeks for his next Premier League run-out, and even
his influence couldn't budge Middlesbrough 's parked bus in a dull
stalemate. But a fortnight later he was making things happen again - coming
on for the final 20-minutes against Sunderland during which time Lukaku
clinched a solid 2-0 win. The Belgian had just brought Everton back into the
match at White Hart Lane when Valencia was next introduced, and the
Ecuadorian scored his second Everton goal during his nine minutes on the
pitch. Then came last weekend against Hull - 13 minutes on the pitch, a goal
after 69-seconds and an assist for Lukaku - taking his 2017 tally to Everton
8 Opposition 1. Quite an influence - and an impression Valencia is hoping to
extend after an international double-header for his country against Paraguay
and Colombia. "When I get back, it is straight into the derby, a really
important game," said Valencia. "We then have Manchester United away, so it
is two big games.

"I was happy scoring another goal against Hull. I managed to score very
quickly after coming on. I was pleased that I managed to control and finish
after the one-two with Romelu Lukaku.

"I'm very happy to score in my last two games but the most important thing
is the team. It was an important three points against Hull."

Valencia faces a long haul journey back from Ecuador in the small hours of
next Wednesday morning ahead of his potential Anfield date.

But at least the return journey is quicker than his outward trip.

Everton FC youngster preparing for comeback
"It's a long trip going out - three flights. Manchester to Amsterdam,
Amsterdam to Sao Paulo and then Sao Paulo to Asuncion," he said.

"I'm lucky that the return flight is one stop less. We are going direct from
Quito to Madrid and then Madrid to Manchester."

And then hopefully onto the Anfield pitch to make another big impression.
West Ham to return with bid for Swansea's Gylfi Sigurdsson
The Hammers see the Icelandic midfielder as the perfect replacement for
Dimitri Payet
Football London
19:14, 21 MAR 2017

West Ham will attempt to sign Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson this
summer. The Hammers originally earmarked the Icelandic international as a
January signing to replace Marseille-bound Dimitri Payet. Swansea, however,
rejected the bid and the midfielder reiterated his desire to stay. Slaven
Bilic's side are now set to make another bid to lure the playmaker to East
London in an attempt to freshen up their attacking options. It is thought
West Ham are also in the market for a striker, although a move for Wayne
Rooney looks highly unlikely because of his age and expected wage demands.

The pros and cons of a West Ham move for Wayne Rooney
Should the Hammers try to sign the Manchester United captain?
Football London
07:00, 22 MAR 2017

Two things are looking increasingly likely this summer: West Ham will sign
new a striker and Wayne Rooney will need a new club. The Manchester United
captain has seen his playing time greatly reduced since Jose Mourinho rocked
up at Old Trafford and the latest reports say that Rooney will finally leave
United after 13 years at the club. It looks like Rooney will head back to
boyhood club Everton, but could West Ham do what Arsenal and Chelsea never
could and tempt him to make the move to London? Here's a look at the reasons
why it could happen - but also why it might not.

Pro: West Ham need a striker

First and foremost, the Hammers should at the very least enquire about
Rooney on the basis that they need a striker for next season.
As good as Andy Carroll can be when he's fit, he's almost never fit. He may
not be the player he once was but Rooney could benefit from a complete
change in scenery and thrive at the London Stadium.

Con: The wages

Rooney won't come cheap, and if West Ham are to lure him away from an
Everton return, they're going to have to be ready to invest in him.
David Sullivan and co are not exactly renowned for splashing the cash and
they may feel uncomfortable about dropping that much money on someone of
Rooney's age.

Pro: Rooney wants to play

From a purely selfish perspective for Rooney, he wants to play and West Ham
can offer him that. At Everton he'll either be behind Romelu Lukaku in the
pecking order or brought in as his replacement, which would bring upon a
whole new kind of pressure. While he still has a bit more to give, I don't
think Rooney could step in and replace somebody like Lukaku. If the Toffees
try and fail to make that switch, it could be an ugly end to a storied

Con: The call of "home"

Rooney is 31 now, which in footballing terms is like being in your late 50s.
He's surely starting to think about retirement and his legacy and having won
everything there was to win at Manchester United, he'd love to come "home"
to Everton and give them what remains.
If he could even deliver an EFL Cup to Goodison Park, it would be a job well
done and the allure of playing for his boyhood club once more may be too
much for West Ham to fight.

Pro: Rooney the teacher

For the Hammers, having Rooney on the books would be a perfect time to bring
back Toni Martinez from his loan at Oxford and allow Rooney to teach him
alongside Ashley Fletcher. While it might not pay dividends immediately,
surely West Ham's young strikers can learn a thing or two from England's
record goalscorer.

Con: He's an unknown quantity

Let's be honest, it's hard to tell just how much Rooney has left in the
tank. It's clear that he's no longer up to the standard of a team looking
for Champions League football, but could he help a team like West Ham get
back to the Europa League? Rooney has not played a lot this year and it's
hard to gauge where he is both physically and mentally. Having made an early
breakthrough to senior football at just 16-years-old, it's quite possible
that his career will also come to an end prematurely.

Pro: A statement of intent

Moving to the London Stadium was supposed to be a statement of intent from
West Ham that the club was ready to kick on to the next level and battle for
regular European football. In order to do that though, they'll need to
attract top-class talent too. And for all his faults, Wayne Rooney is still
massively respected around the world. Capturing his signature would send a
message that West Ham are not happy with simply finishing in mid-table and
could inspire them to follow a similar trajectory to neighbours Spurs, who
have established themselves within the Premier League top four.

By Iain Dale 22 Mar 2017 at 08:00

Sometimes we fans are a fickle lot. Lose three matches on the spin and the
players are all rubbish. The manager must go. It's verging on the
ridiculous. We forget previous successes, we forget that much the same team
(with one big and rather obvious exception) nearly qualified for the
Champions League last season. We forget that moving to a new stadium was
always going to make this season more difficult than it might otherwise have
been. Heads are called for. The manager is incompetent and every player
should be transferred out of the club as soon as practically possible.

What utter tosh.

Sometimes we should be careful what we wish for. Sometimes it really is
worth sticking with nurse for fear of something worse, and this is one of
those times. Look, I'm not stupid, I recognise that this season has seen
some pretty inexplicable things happening at West Ham. We have a manager who
was one of the best defenders ever to wear the claret & blue short, yet so
far this season we have conceded 52 goals. In the whole of last season we
conceded 51. We can't just blame it on injuries and the fact that we have
rarely played with the same back four. It goes deeper than that. In part
it's because we haven't had a regular back four. Sam Byram has never really
been given a chance. OK, he has been injured but when he's fit why not play
him so he gets a run in the team? He's had one bad game and now we are told
that he isn't really rated and will be moved on in the summer. We're now
down to the bare bones in central defence with the injury to Winston Reid.
So why did we loan out both the Reeces? Ask me another.

Do I lay that all at Bilic's door? Well yes, I suppose I do, but even then,
it's not enough for me to want him gone. I want him to stay because I can
see what he is trying to achieve. He buys into West Ham in a way that few
other managers could. Do we seriously believe Roberto Mancini would see West
Ham as anything other than a stepping stone to get back into managing a
Champions League club? His awful defensive way of playing would make us all
hanker after Sam Allardyce within a few weeks. And I'm not joking. Has he
ever managed a club that didn't have zillions of spondoolicks for him to
waste? No. Could he relate to 'the West Ham Way'? If you're David Sullivan
or Karren Brady and you're reading this, rearrange these words into a
sentence – touch with a don't bargepole.

Are there any British managers who we'd be crying out to recruit? I can
think of a few who might fancy their chances, and even do a decent job –
Gary Monk being one – but what confidence would we have that they'd be any
better than what we have got.

The truth is, even though the current team have been frustrating to watch
this season, at times, they have played excellent football. The trouble is
they haven't managed it over a ninety minute period. Too often we've been
brilliant for the first half an hour and then withered away (Watford home,
for example). Too often we've been useless for the first half and then only
sparked into life in the second half (cf Leicester home). We've been
consistently inconsistent.

Given that we were at one point firmly anchored in the bottom three, we now
hover between 9th and 12th. It could have been oh so different.

It's not that we're not scoring goals. We are. We've scored 40 in 29, a more
than acceptable return in some ways. Our attacking play has sometimes been
scintillating, but we didn't get that 20 goal a striker we were promised in
the summer. No it is not. Yes, some of his signings have been ropey – Zaza
and Tore are the two most blatant examples, but the fact is they were loan
signings. But there's plenty on the other side of the balance sheet. Obiang.
Lanzini. Antonio. Just for starters. All managers buy duds as well as the
odd jewel and Bilic is no different.

Who could have foreseen what would happen with Payet. We were all taken in
by him. When the situation became intolerable Bilic fronted up and told us
exactly what had happened. I don't think a single one of us blamed anyone
other than Payet. So far as I am concerned Bilic did the only thing he
could. He didn't bullshit us, even though he so easily could have.

We're told that Bilic needs to finish 8th or 9th to get an extension to his
contract, and he needs to finish tenth to avoid the sack. Well that's just
plain ridiculous. Given our trials and tribulations I regard anything above
14th as a decent season. My guess is that we'll finish between 10th and

In some ways it's up to the players. If we get to 40 points in the next few
games there is a real possibility that they will switch off and mentally go
on holiday. For Bilic that could be fatal. So in the end they have got to
decide: do we want Slaven as our manager next season, or do we not? We will
soon get our answer.

Given our injuries, if I were Slaven I'd change the team around a bit. The
first thing I would do is tell Edimilson Fernandes that we had a first team
start for every game for the rest of the season. He's brilliant in every
game he's played. He has an eye for goal, he can beat players, he's quick,
he's strong and he can tackle. Yes, he has the odd rush to the head, but
he's young and fairly inexperienced. He may be one for the future but he's
also one for the present. If Slaven gives Fernandes a chance he'll play his
guts out for him.

Well that's the case for the defence, even if I have gone out of my way to
point out some of Bilic's weaknesses. I have every confidence that he will
succeed and that if we recruit three or four top class players in the summer
and get rid of some of the dead wood we can have a really good season next
time around.

It's the hope that kills you, eh?

West Ham hopeful of signing Defoe on free transfer – report
Date published: Wednesday 22nd March 2017 8:16

West Ham United are set go back in for Sunderland star Jermain Defoe this
summer – and beleive they can get him on a free. The 34-year-old striker has
just been recalled to the England squad after four-years out after another
good campaign with the Black Cats.
The Sun claims that Slaven Bilic wants to snap Defoe up, with the ex-Spurs
man available for free if the Wearsiders are relegated.
Defoe has been in wonderful form this season, scoring 14 of Sunderland's 24
Premier League goals, but it may not be enough to keep them up. Sunderland
are currently seven points from safety with ten matches to go, meaning it
would take somewhat of a miracle for David Moyes' side to beat the drop. A
Hammers source told The Sun: "We remain interested in Jermain after trying
to sign him in January.
"He's 34 but his call up for England tells you everything you need to know.
We want to discover where he stands on the contract.
"We believe it's a free if they go down. Although his wages are high it
would be a good deal for us. "We think he would love to finish his days at
the club that groomed him. We will have a good look at him on April 15 when
we are up there."

Does Everton interest in Willian Jose signify end of West Ham's chances?
Dan Coombs

Everton's interest in Willian Jose is bad news for West Ham. Everton are
taking a close interest in Brazilian attacker Willian Jose, report The Sun.
The forward has struck 11 goals in 24 games for Real Sociedad this season,
and is reported to be valued at around £25 million. The 25-year-old was last
month claimed by Calcio Mercato to be on West Ham's radar, with the East
London club continually looking for reinforcements in attack. Everton's
interest in the forward could be significantly damaging to West Ham's own
aspirations of landing the goalscorer. The Toffees for one are higher placed
in the Premier League this season, and better set to convince Willian Jose
that he would be joining a club on the up, compared to West Ham who have
gone backwards on their seventh placed finish of last season and face a
fight to finish in the top 10, currently sitting 12th. Everton are also
better equipped financially to splash the cash, thanks to the investment of
Iranian mogul Farhad Moshiri. Recent comments from Romelu Lukaku urging him
to do so make it likely the Toffees will invest heavily this summer, and
they could potentially blow West Ham out of the water. Should they sell
Lukaku, they will have even more funds available. If Lukaku stays, Everton
could argue than playing alongside the Belgian would be more tempting to
Willian Jose than the prospect of partnering Andy Carroll at West Ham. A
deal for West Ham is not impossible if they make more of an effort, and try
to go the extra mile to show the La Liga ace that he is wanted by them more
than at Everton, potentially even being able to offer a clearer shot of
first team football. If Everton went all out, it could really hamper West
Ham's hopes of signing the former Real Madrid loanee, forcing Slaven Bilic's
side to focus on alternatives instead.

Why West Ham should do everything they can to sign Gylfi Sigurdsson in the
summer transfer window
The Hammers have been linked with a move for the Swansea City star
Football London
08:26, 22 MAR 2017

Swansea City won't be about to let their best player leave the club without
a fight - but West Ham should be doing all they can to secure the signature
of Gylfi Sigurdsson. Who knows where the Swans would be without their star
man this campaign. The Iceland international has been absolutely
instrumental in keeping his side in the hunt for Premier League survival
this season. Not only does Sigurdsson come up with the important goals in
the big games, but he creates a multitude of chances for those around him
too. So often this campaign, the Hammers have been lacking in the final
third - whether that be creating chances for Andy Carroll, or finishing them
when the main striker isn't in the side. Gylfi Sigurdsson has proven,
especially this season, that he can be the answer to that problem.
Every team needs a player that can create a goal out of absolutely nothing -
someone who has the quality to dismantle a Premier League defence almost
effortlessly. West Ham haven't really had that so far this campaign, but
Swansea City have in Sigurdsson. The Iceland international has got the most
assists in the Premier League this season with 11 - which is no small feat
considering he has been playing for a relegation threatened side. The
27-year-old has also bagged himself eight goals this season - which only
Michail Antonio in the West Ham squad can top this season. The stats go even
further to suggest why the Hammers should throw everything at Sigurdsson.
The Swansea City man has made 47 key passes this season - 16 more than
Manuel Lanzini and a full 20 more than Antonio. Sigurdsson also runs away
with it in terms of chances created with 58 - which is 25 more than any West
Ham player can boast. As mentioned before, it's that creativity that would
be absolutely essential for Slaven Bilic's side if they were to sign the
midfielder. And it's exactly why they should throw all they've got at the