Friday, June 12

Daily WHUFC News -

Hammers still targeting Song deal

West Ham United Joint-Chairman David Sullivan has revealed the Club are still hoping to sign Alex Song from Barcelona this summer. Song was one of the key players for the Hammers in the first half of last season and played an instrumental role in helping the Club rise into the top four of the Barclays Premier League before Christmas. The former Arsenal midfielder enjoyed his season-long loan at the Boleyn Ground and Mr Sullivan hopes he will want to pledge his long-term future to West Ham. Despite the arrival of Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria this week, Mr Sullivan says they are still looking to bring in more top-quality midfielders to bolster the squad before the start of the 2015/16 season. "I can assure you we have not given up on Alex Song yet," said the Joint-Chairman, who believes new manager Slaven Bilic could tease the very best out of the Cameroon star. "Before Christmas Alex was outstanding and if we believe we can get him back to that sort of form and maybe with a new manager we can, we would very much like Alex to come. "We are very thin on the ground with midfielders. You do get injuries and you need back-up. We have got Europe and other games that we want to win. "There was not enough competition for places last season and this year we don't want the same again. If the players have a bad game they will have to fight for their position back."

Brazil U20 triumph in penalty shootout

Diego Poyet's Uruguay U20 took their South American counterparts Brazil down to the wire as the men in yellow and blue triumphed 5-4 in the penalty shootout. In a tense yet exciting match, A Selecao had the better chances yet Uruguay stood firm, putting bodies on the line to deny the Brazilians. With the score goalless after 90 minutes, the game entered extra-time, however a further 30 minutes could not separate the two teams. West Ham United midfielder Diego Poyet played the whole game, putting in a typically hard-working and assured performance. Having made a goal-line clearance to keep his countrymen level, he stepped up in the ensuing penalty shootout to score La Celesete's second spot kick. Nine of the ten penalties were scored, with Uruguay's Rodrigo Amaral miss proving costly. Brazil will now play Portugal in a mouth-watering quarter-final at the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand, on Sunday 14 June, kick off 1pm local time.

Pedro Obiang – The first interview

West Ham United's newest recruit Pedro Obiang is itching to get going in Claret and Blue having put pen to paper on a four-year-deal. The 23-year-old Spaniard insists these are exciting times for the Hammers, not least as the very first signing under new boss Slaven Bilic. Incidentally, the ambitious Obiang has already run out at the Boleyn Ground, in a pre-season friendly for Sampdoria last term, but the prospect of doing so for West Ham is an altogether different one.

"It means a lot for me to come here but the most important thing is to start playing and show the fans what I can do," he told West Ham TV. "From the moment I signed the contract I've been looking forward to playing for this team. We're obviously on holiday at the moment but it'll be good to start training and get going. "I have very big ambitions with this Club. This Club is experiencing very exciting times, a new manager and big projects. That's why I came here. "Hopefully we can get through the qualifying rounds of the Europa League, finish the league in the top eight and show that we are a team that can compete against the biggest teams."

The new Stadium, of course, is pivotal to the Club's continued progress and, for Obiang, news of another 20,000 supporters is music to his hears.

"I saw a lot of the Stadium during the Olympics. It's big, which means more supporters. A project like that will change the Club and will move us forward. "I would tell the fans, keep the passion, as always. I have heard very good things about them and I know they'll keep supporting the Club as they always do."

With Bilic soon to take the reins, it is not just Obiang who will start afresh under the Croat, and the box-to-box midfielder is not the least bit fazed by a new manager with new ideas.

"At Sampdoria we changed manager six times in the last six years! Every time that you change manager is a new adventure so it's an exciting time and I hope to meet him soon."

A former Spain U21 international, Obiang describes himself as a wholehearted midfielder, but with an eye for a pass too.

"For those who've never seen me play, you'll have to wait and see," he joked. "I'm a very hard-working player. I like to play good football and give 100 per cent for my team. I like the occasional dribble and to create chances. I'll try to adapt as quickly as possible."

As for his new surroundings, Obiang is already au fait with two of his fellow Spanish-speaking teammates and has kept one eye on Alex Song too.

He continued: "I know a little bit about them, I came here to play a friendly last season so I have seen most of them. "I know of players like Mauro Zarate and Enner Valencia and I've looked closely at Alex Song because we play in the same position. "They made a very good start to the season but obviously my focus has been on my own game, so I've not yet had the chance to follow them too much."

Supporter Advisory Board meeting

The West Ham United Supporter Advisory Board (SAB) met at the Boleyn Ground on Monday evening to reflect on an eventful penultimate season at the Boleyn Ground and to raise questions and comments on behalf of the wider supporter base.

The SAB has three principal objectives. Firstly, to represent the whole supporter base to the Club's board and senior executives, to shape Club policy and finally to represent the Club at external forums, as and when required by the Club.

In line with the latter, discussion began with a short address from the Club's Football Officer, Andy Sheldon of the Metropolitan Police, who spoke of the forthcoming Football Fans' Conference on Thursday 11 June.

With matchday policing high on the agenda, the Conference will see the assembly of supporters from London clubs in addition to representation from the Football Supporters' Federation and Mr Sheldon invited participation from SAB members.

Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Tara Warren then updated attendees on the Club's very latest plans for the farewell season at the Boleyn Ground. Following extensive input from the SAB in previous meetings, broad match themes have since been agreed and will be announced in the weeks following the release of the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League fixtures.

With a view to shaping plans, supporters shared their ideas on a prospective Claret and Blue day, a fixture dedicated to cult heroes and their all-time favourite Boleyn Ground moments.

The remainder of the evening was dedicated to addressing the questions of the SAB and those submitted to them by fellow supporters to ensure that the wider supporter base is appropriately represented.

Mrs Warren and Managing Director Angus Kinnear firstly responded to queries on the seat selection process for new Stadium Season Tickets. With Band 1 Season Ticket Holders now attending their Reservation Centre appointments, questions were asked of supporters' opportunity to upgrade their seat and bring new Season Ticket Holders with them.

Mr Kinnear explained that the Club had gone to great lengths to model the likely requests for additional Season Tickets within each price band and that the aim is to accommodate as many of them as possible. This, naturally, is helped by the fact that there are an additional 20,000 seats in the Stadium and seats remain available on the halfway line.

He reiterated that the process would be strictly controlled and so the Club could guarantee each Season Ticket Holder a comparable seat in terms of band and location, based on their seat for the final season at the Boleyn Ground.

Similarly, it was also asked whether supporters would be able to change their seats at the new Stadium come 2016/17. As is the policy at the Boleyn Ground, subject to availability, all Season Ticket Holders will be able to request a change of location when renewing their ticket for each new season.

However, the Virtual Venue at the Reservation Centre is such that supporters will have the technology at their disposal to pick a seat location which is right for them.

Sticking with the new Stadium, it was also confirmed that changes to the colour and design of the seating would form part of the final transformation that is set to follow the Rugby World Cup fixtures. Mrs Warren stressed that the Rugby World Cup marked a distinct pause in the construction timetable and that the Stadium's full conversion to football mode and its transformation into the home of West Ham United would follow the tournament.

She reiterated that the Club was fully aware of the importance of this to supporters and has therefore committed significant resource, both financially and in time, in order to reach a solution that would please supporters. This will be revealed once it has been finalised and approved by all parties.

Elsewhere, the prospect of a singing section was again discussed and supporters were reassured that Reservation Centre advisors would do their utmost to seat supporters with like-minded fans. SAB members were also pleased to learn that the new Stadium would be fully connected, with the aim being to have wifi, 3G and 4G available to all visitors.

On a similar note, supporters asked for clarification as to whether, as at the Boleyn Ground, away supporters would be housed in the lower tier at the new Stadium. It was explained that because of the way the Stadium's constructed for access and segregation, away supporters will be housed in the both the upper and lower tier.

Aside from all things Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, SAB members were keen to know about plans for the UEFA Europa League qualifying rounds, specifically the possibility of an official Club tour. The Club confirmed that any such decisions would depend on who West Ham draw, the demand and logistics.

It was also confirmed that in line with the Board's commitment to affordable family football and to rewarding its loyal supporters, it was likely that prices for Europa League qualifying fixtures would be sensible and Season Ticket Holders could expect a preferential pricing point.

Finally, given that the Club, at the time, were still in the process of recruiting a new manager, it was thought sensible to keep any football-specific questions for future meetings with the appropriate representatives.

Vaz backs Bilic to shine

Former West Ham United forward Ricardo Vaz Te says Slaven Bilic's time in Turkish football will stand him in good stead when he moves to east London.

Vaz Te left the Hammers in January this year to join Turkish Super Lig side Akhisar Belediyespor and had a chance to see how the new Hammers manager performed as a coach at rivals Besiktas during the last six months.

Besiktas finished third in the Super Lig table last season and Bilic was given a huge send-off by fans after what was largely a successful time in Istanbul

Vaz Te says he feels the Croatian coach can bring even more success to West Ham as he prepares to take charge for what is set to be an exciting and emotional 2015/16 season.

"I think Bilic was and is well respected and is seen as having done a good job here in Turkey, at times with limited resources," said the 2012 Championship Play-Off final hero.

"He got a great reception from fans when he left and I know that he was well respected amongst the players.

"Besiktas finished third in the league and I am not sure what went on near the end in-house at the club, but he wasn't far off landing the title with them. They also saw off Liverpool in the Europa League and that was a big result here, a big victory and achievement.

"He has experience of European football and that can only be a big positive thing. He likes to play good football, from what I could see and from what I heard, he is a very focused person and instils this in his players."

Vaz Te, who scored 19 goals in 61 appearances for West Ham over three seasons, says Bilic's own time at the Boleyn Ground will endear him to the Claret and Blue Army.

"The other thing is he knows West Ham as a club personally, having been there as a player himself and that is something he will look to embrace further I am sure," the 28-year-old Portuguese forward added.

"It is exciting times for West Ham with the Europa League and then the big move to the new stadium. They are in a good place and can now hopefully build on that."

Chadwell Chatter

Hello everyone,

The training ground is a strange old place when you are on your own but I have been working hard throughout the summer to regain full fitness.

Andy Carroll has been in for a couple of days so I have had someone to talk to, but I needed to be in to get fit so I don't mind too much.

The calf injury is clearing up well. I had a couple of days away with the family and now I am back at the training ground. I feel good and hopefully I will be ready for the first day of pre-season.

It will be great having Slaven Bilic as our new manager. He is on to a winner straight away because the West Ham fans loved him when he played here and you can tell by the way he played that he is a winner. All the lads are looking forward to it.

A lot of my mates are West Ham fans and they loved him when he was aplayer. He wore his heart on his sleeve and was a committed defender.

I would like to get my guitar out with Slaven. I am still not the best on it but I am practising every day and fingers crossed I will come in and give the boys a bit of a song!

If we can play the nice football around that it will be even better.

He is only a young manager but has done it at every level and to have someone of that quality with us
having such a big season, that can only be a good thing.

We have been busy in the transfer market as well and it is massive for us to have someone like Pedro Obiang coming into the club. It is a great signing and he is a young, talented player so it will only add to the squad.

I think we will lose a few out of contract lads so we need to make a few signings and that is a great start.

The Europa League does not give us a lot of time off and time to unwind after a long, hard season but that is part and parcel of being a professional footballer.

The games come thick and fast but I'm sure the boys are doing their work in the off-season and keeping themselves fit. I'm sure they will be looking forward to coming back in and getting started again.

West Ham are back in Europe and European football is great, especially for the development of the the younger lads in the squad.

I have been lucky enough to play in Europe with West Ham and Aston Villa and obviously have international experience with Wales and it is a big thing in your career. To play against a big European side under the lights would be fantastic.

The development of the younger players is massive and I think they will thrive off it playing against different opposition with different styles of play and it can only be exciting for a Club like West Ham.

We are moving into the new stadium and with where we want to go, European football will have to become a regular thing.

We were bitterly disappointed with how the second half of the season went, considering how well we did in the early months and were fourth just before Christmas which was great for the Club.

We have to look at how we performed early on and with a new manager and new signings coming in, it will freshen the place up.

It is going to be an emotional season for the club and very strange. I have been at the club on and off for nearly ten years and it will be weird to be playing away from Upton Park.

But with the size of West Ham and where the club wants to go the new stadium is going to be great so hopefully we can have a good last season at the ground and send it off in a good fashion.

I have been to the new Stadium and where they are selling the tickets at Stratford and it is on a different level. It will be one of the best stadiums in Europe.

I wish I was with the Wales team and wish them good luck ahead of their big game against Belgium on Friday night. I'm going to the game to support them.

Finally I hope to sign a new contract soon with the club and I would love to finish my career at West Ham.

It is a club I love and I would love the chance to play at the new stadium. I always give my all and 100% every time I pull on the shirt and always want to do my best for the fans.

See you all soon,


Boleyn Insider

In our exciting new feature on, the Boleyn Insider blog will bring you exclusive insight into the behind-the-scenes goings on at the Boleyn Ground.

The Boleyn Insider will try to offer a digest on the latest gossip from around the Club and the major transfer speculation surrounding the first-team. In today's blog, he looks at potential signings that could be made under new manager Slaven Bilic.

Thanks for all the positive feedback from my first column for the Club yesterday. I hope you enjoyed reading it.

This is proving to be an extremely busy time for the Club with regards strengthening the squad and I understand that the Board are working hard behind the scenes on bringing in several new targets.

I have heard they have increased their bid for a current French international and remain hopeful they will clinch his signature.

I also believe that the Club are considering a multi-million pound offer for an African international who has the potential to go on and become one of the best players in Europe.

There have been reports linking West Ham with a move for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Yohan Cabaye and my sources indicate to me that although the Club really like him, they are not convinced that PSG will be willing to sell him this summer.

West Ham have also been linked with moves for Olcay Sahan and Burak Yilmaz in the last 24 hours but my understanding is that the Club are not making moves for the duo.

With Slaven Bilic arriving at the Boleyn Ground this week, there has been rumours surrounding who will be appointed to his backroom staff.

I believe that the Club are close to appointing a goalkeeping coach and an announcement could be made in the near future.

You should stay tuned to for all the major developments taking place at the Boleyn Ground throughout the summer.

I will bring you more news as and when I have it.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United.

Valencia ready for Copa America showdown

Enner Valencia is preparing for the opening game of the Copa America as his native Ecuador are set to play hosts Chile at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos in Santiago on Friday 12 June.

Ecuador appear to be in good goalscoring form, strolling to a 4-0 win over Panama on Saturday 6 June, the West Ham United striker helping to set up the second.

Hosts Chile are tipped as one of the favourites to lift the trophy, with world class talent such as Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal as well as enjoying the benefit of home advantage.

However, the South Americans have had a mixed bag on form in the run up to the competition, slipping to defeats to Brazil and Iran before winning their last warm-up match 1-0 over El Salvador.

Mexico and Bolivia make up the rest of Group A.

The match kicks off at 12.30pm local time (4.30 BST) on Friday 12 June in Chile's national stadium

West Ham keep close tabs on Dimitri Payet and eye permanent deal for Alex Song
PUBLISHED: 14:53, 11 June 2015 | UPDATED: 14:53, 11 June 2015

West Ham have made a check on Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet and are continuing talks over a permanent deal for Alex Song. Despite signing Pedro Obiang on Wednesday, the Upton Park club sill intend to add another defensive midfield option with Barcelona's Song at the forefront of their plans. The 27-year-old impressed last season although his form dipped in the latter stages. He has had interest from AC Milan and Inter, while Chelsea and Manchester City have also discussed his merits due to his homegrown status. Joint-chairman David Sullivan told West Ham's website: 'I can assure you we have not given up on Alex Song yet. 'Before Christmas, Alex was outstanding and if we believe we can get him back to that sort of form - and maybe with a new manager we can - we would very much like Alex to come. 'We are very thin on the ground with midfielders. You do get injuries and you need back-up. We have got Europe and other games that we want to win. There was not enough competition for places last season and this year we don't want the same again. If the players have a bad game they will have to fight for their position back.' New manager Slaven Bilic is happy for West Ham to pursue a new loan for right back Carl Jenkinson and is aware the club have held initial talks over potential deals for Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy. Marseille midfielder Payet though is a player who can add flair to West Ham's play. He is willing to discuss a move to London as he ponders leaving the south of France. The 28-year-old is an attacking midfielder who can also play on the wing and has 14 caps for his country.

West Ham aim to renew Carl Jenkinson loan as club opts against Glen Johnson move
PUBLISHED: 22:30, 10 June 2015 | UPDATED: 07:39, 11 June 2015

West Ham will look to renew right-back Carl Jenkinson's loan deal from Arsenal next season, rather than moving for their former defender Glen Johnson. The 23-year-old made 36 appearances in all competitions for the Hammers last term, helping them to secure a solid 12th placed finish the Premier League. He has found first-team opportunities hard to come by at his parent club and could be tempted into another spell at Upton Park. Johnson, meanwhile, who began his career at West Ham, before signing for Chelsea in 2003, has just been released by latest employers Liverpool. A number of clubs are monitoring his situation, including Besiktas who have already tabled a lucrative two-year contract, worth £2.3million per season in wages.
Johnson made 200 appearances for the Reds and lifted the League Cup with them in 2012. Since making his debut in 2003, he has gone on to win 54 senior caps for England and made the squads for both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

West Ham in talks with Loic Remy over transfer from Chelsea'
Jamie Sanderson for 11 Jun 2015 12:36 am

West Ham have opened transfer talks with Chelsea over a deal to sign Loic Remy, according to reports. The Hammers are looking to add some serious quality to their ranks for next season, with new manager Slaven Bilic promised cash to spend. And amid links to Chelsea ace Remy, reports in France say talks have opened over a deal to bring him to Upton Park for next season.
Remy has struggled for match time since moving to Chelsea – failing to complete 90 minutes in a game – but has scored 7 goals in 8 starts.

West Ham prepare ambitious double striker swoop as Bilic builds his own squad
06:50 11 June 2015 Brad Pinard
London 24

West Ham are set to make moves for Chelsea striker Loic Remy and Galatasaray forward Burak Yilmaz. West Ham favourite says in-demand QPR hotshot must be Bilic priority French outlet RMC claim West Ham have already approached Remy after being told to go ahead by Chelsea who are also looking for new forwards this summer. New boss Slaven Bilic is a big fan of Remy and the forward, although having rejected the Hammers in the past, may be persuaded to make a short trip from west London to east London. The France striker has struggled to make much of an impact at Stamford Bridge since his move from QPR last summer, featuring behind Diego Costa and Didier Drogba in the pecking order.
Turkish-football also claim Bilic is desperate to snap up £7million-rated Yilmaz who could be tempted with a Premier League chance. The Galatasaray man notched 21 goals last season including one at the Emirates against Arsenal and has been linked with summer moves to Lazio, Spurs and Chelsea. Much depends on Chelsea in these deals, but the Hammers are confident they can get them over the line to bolster their misfiring forward line. Diafra Sakho is back fit but Enner Valencia, who never really hit the ground running in his first season at West Ham, is at the Copa America and Andy Carroll is only fit enough to do gym work. With Carlton Cole released and Modibo Maiga not looking to have much of a future with the club, the Hammers would go into their Europa League qualifiers, which start three weeks today, with just one striker.

West Ham will be an anxious place with new stadium and £5bn TV deal riding on Premier League safety: Sam Allardyce's warning to new manager Slaven Bilic
PUBLISHED: 08:03, 11 June 2015 | UPDATED: 08:03, 11 June 2015

The move to Stratford's iconic Olympic Stadium, let alone a bumper new Premier League television deal, means Slaven Bilic simply cannot afford to fail at West Ham. Bilic was announced as the club's new manager earlier this week and, while he is talking of a top half finish, the main aim is to make sure they don't suffer a shock relegation. The Hammers need to come out of the next campaign unscathed ahead of the stadium switch and Bilic's predecessor Sam Allardyce believes there will be an air of nervousness around Upton Park. 'The big anxiety is the move to an iconic new stadium,' he told the Sun. 'You cannot underestimate how much is riding on that – you don't want to be playing there in the Championship. 'Slaven's popular and it will start off ok but it won't take much for the mood to change if results aren't going well.' Bilic is a favourite in east London, even though he only played 48 league games for the club almost two decades ago, and will enjoy significantly more support than Allardyce. The former Bolton and Blackburn boss was never truly taken to, with fans clamouring for expansive attacking football. But Allardyce rightly asserts that it doesn't matter how West Ham play for the next 12 months – just that they remain a top-flight side. Those in the Premier League will scoop over £5billion over three years from the start of the 2016 season. 'They've got the best deal ever in the world of football and it's about creating a new history,' he added.
But from there, Bilic must kick on. Allardyce continued: 'Expectations at West Ham are massive anyway but the new ground is going to take it to another level. Eventually they'll need to be challenging the top six. 'How do you get there? It's not my responsibility now, it's someone else's.'

'We're coming for you' West Ham co-owner David Gold's warning for Chelsea and co
Damien Lucas

West Ham United co-owner David Gold has warned his club will be doing all they can to keep the Premier League's big guns 'looking over their shoulders'. Gold has been filled with optimism since he and fellow co-owner David Sullivan appointed Slaven Bilic as their new manager this week. The club followed up the Bilic announcement by unveiling Spanish Under 21 international Pedro Obiang as their first major summer signing from Sampdoria. With the prospect of European football next season for the first time in nearly a decade and the move to the 54,000 seater Olympic Stadium on the horizon, it is exciting times for the club on and off the pitch. And Gold says West Ham will be doing everything in their power to challenge the Premier League's elite clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United in the coming years. "We are showing our intent and we want just want to put a bit of fear into the top teams who have remained unchallenged," Gold told West Ham's official website. "We want them to start looking over their shoulder and see a club like West Ham who want to challenge."

To realistically do that the East Londoners will have to consistently spend big and wisely each season, something Gold has pledged to do. The capture of Obiang is the second signing of the summer after the Hammers snapped up goalkeeper Darren Randolph on a free from Birmingham. A report in the London Evening Standard has argued that West Ham could be the next Manchester City given their impending move to Stratford. And Gold clearly agrees as he struggled to contain his excitement over what lies ahead for the Hammers. He added: "I am expecting exciting things and this is a fantastic opportunity for anyone coming into our football club as this is most arguably the most exciting season period in the club's history as we prepare for our final ever season at the Boleyn Ground before we move into the Olympic Stadium."

James Collins: Why the Europa League will be difficult for West Ham
Lewis Doe

West Ham United defender James Collins feels there is going to be additional pressure over the Hammers because of Europe. West Ham United defender James Collins told talkSPORT he feels the Europa League is going to be really tough for his team when the new season gets underway. The Hammers have qualified for the competition through the Fair Play table from the Premier League last season, which creates a chance for the quad to gain experience of the competition before hopefully qualifying again before the move to the Olympic Stadium. It's a challenge for the side which will be unfamiliar to a lot of the players, but a competition where Slaven Bilic has some real experience. "With the Europa this season, it's going to be really tough on us with the pressure. Let's hope this season goes well, that we go well in the Europa and we can look forward to our last season at Upton Park," he said. It's going to create pressure because the exposure and criticism which follows European matches can sometimes be more intense than most players are used to. It's also a competition which creates pressure for Bilic in terms of improving the squad, because he will know all about the need to have extra options in various positions with the turnaround time before important league games very short. If West Ham can ensure they compete well in Europe, it will give the squad a little extra added motivation going into league games, because there will be an eagerness to get back into the competition for next season. The league is always going to be the priority but if the Hammers can get themselves into a position near the top eight and stay there, European football at the Olympic Stadium only creates more possibilities and benefits for the club long term.

West Brom and West Ham face battle to sign Nordin Amrabat from Galatasaray
Che Thomas

The Moroccan winger has impressed in La Liga this season, but any suitors will have to convince Galatasaray of a deal for the 28-year-old. Galatasaray look to be holding on to the permanent contract of Nordin Amrabat, despite the likes of West Brom, West Ham and Malaga being linked in recent months by Talksport. The rapid wideman has just spent the last 18 months on loan at Malaga, particularly impressing in this season's La Liga where he notched six goals and six assists in 31 matches. Though Malaga finished 9th, it looks like the Morocco international is set to return to Istanbul, after quotes emerged from Galatasaray manager Hamza Hamzaoglu. report Hamzaoglu as confirming the 28-year-old will be returning to Gala next season. "I do have plans for Amrabat next season," the 45-year-old is alleged to have said on Lig Tv, after signing a new three year contract at the Super Lig winners.
Talksport had reported interest in Amrabat from both the Baggies and the Hammers, but it looks like both had better look elsewhere, unless they are prepared to pay anywhere near the €8 million that Galatasaray are said to have paid for the former PSV man when they signed him from Kayserispor in 2012.

West Ham co-owner insists Slaven Bilic gave approval to sign Spanish star Pedro Obiang
Damien Lucas

West Ham United co-owner David Gold has dismissed suggestions from some fans that new manager Slaven Bilic will not be in control of transfers. Bilic was appointed as successor to Sam Allardyce this week and will lead West Ham into a new era as they play their last season at the Boleyn Ground before moving to the Olympic Stadium next year. The Hammers had already signed goalkeeper Darren Randolph on a free transfer from Birmingham City before Bilic was appointed. And they have followed that up with their first major signing of the summer by unveiling Spanish Under 21 international midfielder Pedro Obiang from Serie A side Sampdoria. While the move has been welcomed by Hammers fans, there have been suggestions the club's hierarchy are already meddling in the new manager's transfer business given he took over less than 24 hours before and immediately went on a family holiday. But Gold insists the former Besiktas boss has not been undermined and in fact gave the move for Obiang his seal of approval. "No sooner has the ink dried on Slaven's contract and we have been able to announce our first major signing under the new manager," Gold told West Ham's official website. "With Slaven's approval, action has been taken immediately to bring in another quality player and it goes to show the backroom mechanism that we have at West Ham. "I certainly hope there are a few more signings to come."

Meddling in transfer business is a criticism that has been aimed at Gold and his fellow co-owner David Sullivan in the past with the likes of Diafra Sakho and Mauro Zarate signed by the owners rather than Allardyce last season. The club brought in the highly regarded player recruitment guru Tony Henry last year. It was an appointment that caused friction between the owners and Allardyce, who had his own man Martyn Glover heading up transfers. Now in Bilic some fans fear the owners have simply appointed a 'yes' man who accepts the setup. But if Gold's comments are to be believed perhaps it is only fair to praise the club for being proactive and bolstering the squad ahead of their early start to the season on July 2 and in doing so giving the new manager more options as and when he was appointed.

John Salako heaps praise on Bilic appointment - but questions McClaren
Tim Poole

The Sky Sports presenter has given his verdict on West Ham and Newcastle's new managers. Sky Sports pundit John Salako took to Twitter on Wednesday night in response to the Premier League's latest managerial appointments - and his verdict will please West Ham United fans more than it will those of Newcastle United. Indeed, West Ham announced Croat Slaven Bilic as their new boss on Tuesday afternoon, with the 46-year-old having played for the east London club as a defender in the past. Newcastle, meanwhile, hired Steve McClaren on Wednesday afternoon, with their new coach recently sacked from Championship side Derby County.
And Salako was decidedly more impressed with one appointment than the other on social media: Both coaches will have a lot to prove, of course. Bilic has never managed in the Premier League, while McClaren's name has become a little too synonymous with failure. Bilic and McClaren will also face one common difficulty in their jobs: a fan-base that demands only the best.
The West Ham faithful had grown tired of Sam Allardyce's spell at the club and will be willing their new boss to take the club further. And Newcastle supporters will want nothing more than an end to the mediocrity that has infested the Magpies in recent years.

West Ham confident Slaven Bilic work permit hearing is a formality with talks over backroom staff ongoing
PUBLISHED: 10:08, 11 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:08, 11 June 2015

Slaven Bilic's official arrival at West Ham should be rubber-stamped next week after a work permit hearing which ought to be a formality. The 46-year-old is still in Croatia after being confirmed as Sam Allardyce's successor earlier in the week, when it was announced he had penned a three-year deal at Upton Park. Discussions regarding his backroom staff are still to be finalised, with it suggested that Nikola Jurcevic and Aljosa Asanovic are primed to link up with Bilic. The Hammers are confident the former Besiktas boss will pass his hearing with ease and remain hopeful that any prospective foreign coaches are handed permission to join him. That could prove more troublesome but they do not envisage any problems. There is a degree of expectancy after the appointment, with co-chairman David Sullivan clearly delighted at the capture. 'It is very good for the club and the supporters. We have taken a man who understands the West Ham Way,' he said. 'It is important how we play and that the players play with passion. 'I think he will bring a few of the West Ham legends to be part of his entourage and I think that is very good because it strengthens the bond with the supporters. 'He will take us into the Olympic Stadium and I think he will be here for a long time.'

West Ham signing Pedro Obiang is a real coup as agent reveals AC Milan interest was genuine
Damien Lucas

West Ham United sealed a real coup with the signing of Spanish midfielder Pedro Obiang because interest from Italian giants AC Milan was genuine. That's according to the player's agent Jose Miguel Gonzalez on TMW, who has said the Hammers were simply more decisive than AC Milan in hammering out a deal for the former Sampdoria man. Many fans had thought rumours of interest from the likes of the Rossoneri was simply agent talk or Sampdoria trying to squeeze more money out of a deal that could cost the Hammers as much as €8.5 million, according to co-owner David Sullivan's son Jack on Twitter. However, Gonzalez has now revealed the interest was very real but despite AC Milan's stature and size, he feels his client's move to West Ham was the right step for his career. "(This is) An important step for his career: everyone knows the Serie A but I think the Premier League is the perfect league for his style of play, for the characteristics he has," he told Tuttomercatoweb. "Were AC Milan close to signing him? No, it's true we spoke to the Rossoneri but West Ham were much more decisive." "They showed they have a growing project, it is a very important decision for him."

Obiang impressed as an ever present for Serie A side Sampdoria last season and West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has backed the club's newest recruit to become a 'real superstar' during an interview with the club's official website. The 23-year-old started his career in his home country with Atletico Madrid before leaving for Sampdoria in 2008 where he has risen through the Italian side's youth ranks into the first team. He has played 132 times for the Italians scoring four goals, three of which came last season as he really emerged as a fans' favourite.

West Ham transfer news: Hammers hope to sign Alex Song from Barcelona
Evening Standard
Published: 11 June 2015 Updated: 11:20, 11 June 2015

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan revealed today that he wants Alex Song to stay at the club next season. Song joined on loan from Barcelona last season and it was expected that the former Arsenal player would not return to Upton Park. However, Sullivan, in a club interview, said he was hopeful that the 27-year-old Cameroon midfielder would be back. "I can assure you we have not given up on Alex Song yet," said Sullivan. "Before Christmas Alex was outstanding and if we believe we can get him back to that sort of form and maybe with a new manager we can, we would very much like Alex to come. "We are very thin on the ground with midfielders. You get injuries and you need back-up." Song was influential in West Ham's excellent start to the season but he then lost form and fitness and was left out of the starting line-up by Sam Allardyce on more than one occasion.

Sam Allardyce warns Slaven Bilic: The West Ham fans will soon turn if results don't go your way
Evening Standard
Published: 11 June 2015 Updated: 11:26, 11 June 2015

Sam Allardyce has warned his successor, Slaven Bilic, that his popularity with the fans will not stop them turning on him quickly if he gets off to a bad start as their manager.
Bilic played for the Hammers between 1996 and 1997 and following his appointment on Tuesday said he was thrilled to be back at a "special club". He succeeded Allardyce, who despite his solid work at West Ham never won over all of the fans. "Slaven's popular and it will start off okay but it won't take much for the mood to change if results aren't going well," he said.
Under Allardyce, West Ham won promotion to the Premier League and then had finishes of 10th, 13th and 12th. He told The Sun: "I've left Slaven in a very good position. He's not going into a club which has just been relegated or survived by the skin of its teeth. He has a great base to build on."

Report: West Ham face Mexican competition for Ligue 1 star Andre-Pierre Gignac
Mathew Nash

The French international is a wanted commodity across the globe. West Ham boss Slaven Bilic completed his first signing for the club yesterday with Pedro Obiang arriving from Sampdoria. Of course it was a deal that had already been in the pipeline for some time. He is also believed to be keen on another player with whom West Ham were previously linked. Andre-Pierre Gignac is out of contract at French giants Marseille this summer. The French international was being linked with West Ham, especially when Marcelo Bielsa, current Marseille boss, was linked with the manager posting. But according to the Mirror West Ham are still keen on the striker, who scored 21 goals in 38 appearances last season, with Bilic at the helm. However, plenty of other teams are also interested in Gignac - including a rather unlikely destination. It is reported that Mexican side Tigres UANL are very keen on signing the player this summer. It is reported by Futbol Total in Mexico that the two parties will decide later today whether or not this deal is realistic or not. Gignac's switch to Mexican football would be a real surprise, considering not many European talents switch Ligue 1 for Liga MX each year - never mind ones with European Championships on their minds and Premier League options. But watch this space, because Gignac might just break that mould.

West Ham in talks over £5m deal for Alex Song and show interest in Marseille playmaker Dimitri Payet
West Ham face stiff competition for Barca midfield who spent last season on loan at Upton Park and is said to be happy with Slaven Bilic appointment
By Matt Law12:45PM BST 11 Jun 2015

West Ham United are in talks about re-signing Alex Song on a £5 million permanent deal and have also shown an interest in Marseille playmaker Dimitri Payet. Co-owner David Sullivan has revealed the club are chasing a number of midfield targets, despite clinching the signing of Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria, with Yohan Cabaye also offered to the Hammers. Song has a number of options this summer, but Barelona do not want to loan him out again and are demanding that he can only leave on a £5m permanent move. That has not put off West Ham, but they face strong competition. Chelsea and Manchester City are interested in Song because of his home-grown status while Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton are also being kept in the loop over the 27-year-old's situation. Italian clubs Roma, Inter and AC Milan are all looking at Song, along with German club Schalke. West Ham, however, are in a good position as Song enjoyed his season on loan at Upton Park, likes living in London and is said to be impressed by the appointment of manager Slaven Bilic. Song was superb during the first half of the season, but, like the rest of the West Ham team, faded over the second half of the campaign. Bilic, however, has told Sullivan that he can bring out the former Arsenal man's best form.

While Song would add steel to the midfield, West Ham are also looking for a playmaker after missing out on Andre Ayew to Swansea City. France international Payet is a player they have watched several times, while Cabaye is another option. "I can assure you we have not given up on Alex Song yet," said Sullivan. "Before Christmas Alex was outstanding and if we believe we can get him back to that sort of form and maybe with a new manager we can, we would very much like Alex to come. "We are very thin on the ground with midfielders. You do get injuries and you need back-up. We have got Europe and other games that we want to win. "There was not enough competition for places last season and this year we don't want the same again. If the players have a bad game they will have to fight for their position back."

Bilic is waiting for the green light to finalise his West Ham backroom staff, with uncertainty surrounding whether all three of the Croatian coaches he wants to bring to England will be granted work permits. Nikola Jurcevic and two other Croatian coaches are due to join Bilic at West Ham if they are granted work permits, while the 46-year-old also plans to bring in some former Hammers players to work as full-time and part-time specialist coaches.

The Croatian backroom team
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 11, 2015 in Whispers

New West Ham manager Slaven Bilic is likely to invite his old trusty pals Nikola Jurcevic and Aljosa Asanovic to link up with at West Ham as he forms his new back room team.

48 year old Nikola Jurčević is a retired Crotaian footballer player turned coach. He has been Bilic's trusty assistant for the Croatian national team, Lokomotuv Moscow as well Besiktas more recently. Prior to that he managed smaller teams NK Zagreb, Dinamo Zagreb, SV Austria Salzburg, Slaven Belupo between 2002-2005.

49 year old Aljoša Asanović is another retired Croatian footballer best known from his time in the mid-to-late 90s when he played for Derby County and Croatia during Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup. He was nicknamed "Vatreni Lakat" (meaning "fiery elbow") for his style of running with elbow pointed out, moving opposing players. In 2006, he became assistant manager of Croatian national team. He was also assistant manager of Lokomotiv Moscow working alongside Bilic. He is currently technical director of FC DAC who he joined in late 2014 on a 3 year contract.

However there should still be room for a few former West Ham players. David Sullivan told the official website: "I think he will bring a few of the West Ham legends to be part of his entourage and I think that is very good because it strengthens the bond with the supporters."

Gold gives Slav transfer kitty pledge
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 11, 2015 in News Agenda, Whispers

David Gold has pledged that he and co chairman David Sullivan will back new boss Slaven Bilic to the hilt in this summer's transfer market. With Pedro Obiang having arrived as the Irons latest signing he explained: "Stephen Hendrie and Darren Randolph are also here so we are building the squad. "Slav has two or three players he wants to bring in over the next two or three weeks and we want to get the business done as quickly as possible. "There's been a lot made in the media of the supposed amount we are spending this summer. I've seen figures of £25 million – £30 mentioned. Slaven-Bilic"But anybody who has watched the way we operate will know that we have a habit off fetching into our own pockets if there is a player or two the manager really wants so let's not get locked into figures too strictly. "If it isn't possible for the football club to find deals thenit is down to myself and David -we've done that in thepast andwill again if necessary. "We have our manager and we will back him all the way. Whilst we were between managers we brought in players whom we believe will be good for the squad. We know what we are doing in those areas after 20 years in the game. "But now our manager will be making his decisions and we will back him to the hilt as far as possible because that's what we always do."

Cabaye linked with Hammer bid
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 11, 2015 in Whispers

Reports suggest West Ham are set to compete with Crystal Palace in a bid to sign French International Yohan Cabaye. The 28-year-old currently with Paris Saint Germain has failed to settle since his £20 million move from Newcastle last January and is eager to find regular first team football again. Alan Pardew managed Cabaye during his time at Newcastle and he is thought to be weighing up a move for the France international. Fresh speculation suggests that this could be the player that 'the Boleyn Insider' referred to yesterday when the the club's official ITK said 'I understand that the Club have made a multi-million pound offer for a top French international and they should know within a few days if the bid has been accepted or not."

Down the pub with Slav over a pint of ….MILK!
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 11, 2015 in News Agenda
Rob Shepherd

Slaven Bilic has been West Ham's manager in waiting not for the past few weeks but for nine years.
Not long after they had bought the club in 2006 the east London club's previous Icelandic owners opted to sack Alan Pardew just a few months after the club had lost to Liverpool on penalties.
Bilic was in the frame but at the time he had just graduated from managing Croatia's under 21 team to taking charge of the senior side and with a deep sense of loyalty to his country could not even be tempted to talk.
Besides at the time the then Hammer's hierarchy had haughty ambitions and went for the glamour of Gianfranco Zola.
After David Gold and David Sullivan rescued the club from going to the wall and concluded that Zola the manager was never going to be Zola the player , Bilic was in the frame again but they opted for what they thought were the safe hands of Avram Grant.
When it came to replacing Grant after relegation, Bilic was still entrenched with the Croatia national team and also felt he needed more miles on the clock in club football before taking a big job in the Premier League or Bundesliga.
Those miles have been stacked up with a rough time at Lokomotiv Moscow and successful stint with Besiktas in Turkey.
So when he quit Besiktas last month it seemed he a was shoo in to take over from Sam Allardyce.
Indeed there is little doubt Bilic would have been sounded out by third parties some months ago when it was clear the Allardyce era would be over this summer.
But in football always beware the phrase "done deal" and the machinations of myriads of agents trying to hustle a move or a new deal for their client .
Suddenly managers with better CV's than Bilic's were either available or being touted around.
Jurgen Klopp, Rafa Benitez, Frank de Boer, Marcelo Bielsa, Unai Emery….all seemed better than Bilic when it came to "going foreign".
Then there were the cases for the young bright English managers Eddie Howe and Gary Monk. Or David Moyes.
The idea of bringing Harry Redknapp back was even discussed.
The over riding factor was : Which manager would make sure the team stays in the Premier League for their move to the Olympic Stadium in 2017 ?
For the past month or so David Sullivan has agonized with all the options and attempted to get full approval of co owner David Gold and vice chairman Karren Brady. It has not been easy to task .
Benitez was the one they thought ticked most of the boxes but when Real Madrid came calling then a decision between the Bernebau and the Bolyen was an obvious one for the Spaniard.
Moyes made it clear he would carry on rebuilding his career at Real Socidead and didn't fancy stepping into the shoes of his pal Big Sam.
Then as the process spun out there became a nagging feeling that maybe some of those on the "long list", or at least there advisors ,were using West Ham's situation as a way of filling their boots with new contracts at their existing clubs.
All the while Bilic remained an option despite reservations that he had not managed a club in one of the "big leagues."
Bilic could easily have taken umbrage that the club was on a recruitment carousel and jumped off.
Instead he sealed himself off holidaying with his family back near his home in Split. He refused to comment publicly or even take calls. He just viewed the situation phlegmatically.
Why wouldn't a club making such a big decision go through their options ?
And as they did the realization set in that no one could possibly tick all the boxes and that Bilic ticked most. He also wanted the job not just the money.
Eventually, after meeting him over the weekend thrashing out terms and strategy , West Ham's triumvirate decision makers all agreed that Bilic is the way forward.
He knows the English scene , he is tactically astute if not innovative , and most of all he is a strong commanding character that gets players playing for him and the cause.
And Bilic is big on causes as I first found out not long after Redknapp signed him from German club Karlsruhe in 1996.
I had arranged to do an interview with Bilic at West Ham's Chadwell Heath training ground. But Bilic didn't want to do it there. He wanted more relaxed surrounds and wanted to find out what an old fashioned "normal" British pub was like.
So I took him a few miles down the road to the Moby Dick just off the A12. I walked in and asked him what he wanted : " A pint of milk," he replied.
"Pardon ?"
" Oh I don't drink I just wanted to see what a pub looks like."
He didn't drink but boy did he smoke back then . In the hour or so we chatted he puffed his way through half a pack of Malboro Red.
As he did so his passion for a cause became clear as he discussed his fierce patriotism for Croatia at a time when the bitter turmoil of civil war as a consequence of the break of Yugoslavia was still a recent painful memory.
Slav ( as he likes to be known) also wanted me to tell him about the culture and the history of West Ham.
I like to think some Claret and Blue DNA was grafted under neath Bilic's skin that day.
Bilic took his passion on to the pitch for the Hammers and a year later when Everton agreed to sign him in March ( the days before the transfer window) he insisted he stay on and play for West Ham until they pulled themselves away from relegation battle.
When he moved into management with his home town club of Hadjuk Split after his career was cut short by injury there always seemed a sense of destiny that Bilic would one day return to West Ham as manager.
It has taken a long time coming, and the process in recent weeks was starting to become exhausting but in the end the Hammers have a new manager who will not only promote more expansive football but will demand the players perform with pride and passion or in other words restore the "West Ham" way.

Olympic Stadium Update
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 11, 2015 in Whispers

The latest live images from the Olympic Stadium rebuild show seats re-installed in the lower tier, the running track uncovered and sand being laid in the preparation for the pitch being laid in the coming weeks. Construction firm Balfour Beatty and their subcontractors are currently working around the clock to get the Stadium finished before the first stadium test event scheduled in five weeks time on the 19th July. Construction will then stop between the 19th July and 7th November to allow test events and the Rugby world cup to take place. The lower tier of the Olympic Stadium will be rebuild again after November to include retractable seating which will include the introduction of some non white and black seating.
During last week's Supporter Advisory Board (SAB) West Ham said "It has been confirmed that the design and colour of the seats at the new stadium will change after the autumn's Rugby World Cup"

Patience please…Slav inherits real problems
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 11, 2015 in McAvennie The Legend, Whispers

It's great that Slaven Bilic is our new boss and I see no reason to believe we won't be a decent team next season. Having said that I have to add that we could hardly be any worse than the one that ended the season under Sam Allardyce. So I hope the Irons fans are going to give Slav a chance as it's going to take a bit of time to improve a side that had totally and completely lost its way last by May. He's gonna need to have everybody on his side because we had sunk to a level that was totally unacceptabe and there was no question a change of manager was needed.
Sam Allardyce had nothing else to offer West Ham and now we await a bright new dawn under a manager whom I believe has things to prove but who is a very intelligent operator. Always remember though that he he is taking over a team that showed nothing other than relegation form for a long period last year so give him time. He's a bright cookie, is multi lingual, has a law degree and in football terms has managed at the highest level. Like I say, he will need a bit of time but I think there are great things ahead so please let's give him a chance.
Slaven Bilic will have a great scouting network in place and has a sound knowledge of players. He will be recommending those who may be just below top six standard but who can take the Hammers to a different level over the next two years or so. Everything I hear about the man is good and the biggest thing of all is that he's a Hammer! Sam never was really and made a lot out of asking questions about the 'West Ham Way.' Those of us who grew up with the club know exactly what it is and what it means so it's great that the legacy is back in the hands pf a manager who knows what's expected at this fabulous club. Hold on tight as I believe it's gonna be one hell of an exciting ride and that at this time next year we will all be in a good place.

Irons on Remy
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 11, 2015 in News Agenda, Whispers

Loic Remy is unlikely to become a West Ham summer target. Despite reports in the national newspapers we have learned that the "£8 million target" is not currently in the frame for a move across London. The rumour first started when there was speculation in January that Enner Valencia was wanted by the champions but that too was been described as "agent talk" by Irons sources. And after the Remy suggestion arose again yesterday in the Daily Express, ClaretandHugh's Boleyn sources made the position clear. We were told: "It's getting to the stage where this one will be growing whiskers. Remy is not on the radar at the moment."

DG: Zarate will get his chance
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 11, 2015 in News, Whispers

Co-chairman David Gold has made it clear that Mauro Zarate will be staying at Upton Park and will be getting his chance to impress.
The Argentine striker was given no chance as he struggled for form and fitness last season before being loaned out to Queens Park Rangers.
Gold, though, talking on Twitter, said he would get an opportunity under new boss Slaven Bilic. He was answering a question on the social network from fan and made no bones about the player's position next term. He said: "The slate has been wipe clean and under Slaven everybody will get their chance.dg"

Slav and that Ba connection
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 11, 2015 in News, Whispers

Manager Slaven Bilic has given no indication to the board that he wants to bring Demba Ba back to Upton Park. Despite stronger and stronger speculation that the boss is ready to swoop for his former Besiktas striker ClaretandHugh has learned that the player's name hasn't been mentioned at any stage. Ba hammered 27 goals in 44 appearances for the Turkish club last season and it was reported earlier today that a bid would be welcomed by his club. However, despite his scoring record which included seven goals in 12 for the Irons in 2011 there are no imminent moves planned for him by the new boss. We were told by a top insider: "At no time has the player's name been mentioned by Slaven although he has two or three in mind and we shall back him.

Hammers track Marseille playmaker
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 11, 2015 in Whispers

West Ham are allegedly tracking Marseille midfielder Dimitri Payet according to a number of media outlets over the past twenty four hours.
The 28-year-old scored in France's game on Sunday and has been monitored several times by both Everton and West Ham scouts it is reported. The French international did well last season at Marseille, where he scored seven goals in 36 appearances making an incredible 16 assists.
Payet moved to Stade Velodrome from Lille in 2013 for €11m (£8m) and was previously at St Etienne, where he attracted attention from Chelsea and Liverpool.

Ravel Morrison to QUIT Lazio due to homesickness - without kicking a ball for Serie A club
22:30, 11 JUNE 2015
The ex-Manchester United man signed a pre-contract with Lazio in January but is unhappy, with QPR ready to offer him a get-out clause
The Mirror

Ravel Morrison is set to quit Lazio before he has even kicked a ball in Serie A. Mirror Sport understands the 22-year old playmaker, who signed a pre-contract with the Italians in January, is homesick and desperate to return to England. QPR want him and talks have been ongoing between the Italian side and the relegated Hoops for three weeks. They hit a fresh stumbling block this week as a deal had not been reached by the time Lazio were officially ready to announce that Morrison had been registered as their player. All parties, however, are continuing to work to reach a solution. Morrison signed for the Rome club from West Ham in January after falling out with former Hammers boss Sam Allardyce. The former Manchester United man moved to Rome earlier this year but has been unhappy there for some time now.
Contrary to suggestions he has caused his new club a problem, however, Lazio have been sympathetic to his plight and are helping him to try and find a way back to England. Rangers are interested as Morrison enjoyed a positive loan spell at Loftus Road between February and May last year. The club believe he has the ability to become an asset for them in the Championship.


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