Wednesday, July 1

Daily WHUFC News - 1st July 2015

West Ham United extend Asian reach with iHotel Group

West Ham United are pleased to announce a new two-year sponsorship agreement with the iHotel Group, a high-end hotel booking agency based in Hong Kong and operating across the Asian business community.

West Ham have a growing number of commercial partnerships with companies across the world, ranging from healthcare providers to social trading networks, all increasing the revenue coming in to the Club, and allowing further investment in the playing squad.

The iHotel Group specialise in arranging premium accommodation and hospitality for Asian corporate executives on business abroad, ensuring that – whenever they travel to major financial centres around the world – they can enjoy the best in sports and entertainment in their leisure time.

Club London, the luxury suite of private lounges, restaurants and bars in West Ham's magnificent new Stadium on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is set to offer a hospitality experience second-to-none in world sport, conveniently placed on the doorstep of London's financial centre, Canary Wharf.

With such superb facilities on offer, and West Ham poised as one of the rising forces in English and European football, the timing of this new partnership could not be more apt.

Felicity Croft, Commercial Director of West Ham United, said:

"We are delighted to welcome the iHotel Group to West Ham United's growing family of commercial partners, and we look forward to working closely with them over the years to come. It is a huge sign of West Ham's increasing global reach and ambition that such a large and successful company based in the Asian corporate market wants to be associated with our brand, and promote our hospitality offering to their clients. It is clear that companies all over the world can see the exciting future that lies in store for West Ham and are buying in to our potential."

Tan Lung Lai CEO of the iHotel Group, said:

"We work in a fast-growing market, which is changing in every single minute, so it is important for us to do something different to maintain our competitive advantage. That is why we are so happy to work with and sponsor West Ham United. Through this partnership, we will enhance our reputation and offer even better value and greater opportunities to our customers, including the chance to watch live Premier League football at a world-famous stadium. We hope that this will be a milestone for West Ham and the iHotel Group as we both continue to grow our brands and customer base in Asia."

Under the terms of the commercial partnership, under which the iHotel Group will be designated as West Ham's official Far East Hotel Booking Partner, the company will be promoted to the global audience for the Club's website and other digital channels, and the iHotel Group will market Club London hospitality packages to their clients across Asia.

Most of Club London's lounges and bars are now completely sold out, and demand for the remaining membership packages remains extremely high, so to avoid disappointment, any West Ham fans or corporate hospitality companies wishing to become members are advised to sign up to the waiting list as soon as possible by visiting or calling 0808 110 2016.

Join the Club London waiting list today.

The mission of the iHotel Group ( is to enable customers to get the best-value deals within the diverse and competitive hotel and hospitality market at the click of a button, making executive travel more affordable, easy and satisfying. From their user-friendly online platform, thousands of high-end hotel and hospitality offers can be accessed worldwide within seconds.

Adrian ready for fresh start

West Ham United keeper Adrian is brimming with confidence as he heads into the new season and says he is excited at the prospect of working under new manager Slaven Bilic.

The Spanish keeper enjoyed one of the best days of his life during the summer when he got married to his new wife Tamara and is now looking forward to another fresh challenge under the new management.

With the Hammers also playing in the Europa League and the final ever season at the Boleyn Ground, Adrian knows this is going to be a special year for the east London Club.

Adrian said: "It was a great day with my family and friends. It was emotional and I will remember that day for the rest of my life.
These are exciting times for everyone at the Club because we have a new manager and new players and we are playing in the Europe League.
"It is also emotional and sentimental because we will be playing the last season at the Boleyn Ground."

FC Lusitans clash sold out

Standard tickets for Thursday's UEFA Europa League first qualifying round first leg against FC Lusitans have SOLD OUT.
Hammers fans have moved quickly to snap up tickets for the Club's first taste of European football in nine years and a 35,000 Boleyn Ground crowd is expected.

Dimitri Payet: What will West Ham signing bring to Slaven Bilic's side?
Last Updated: 29/06/15 5:43pm

We examine the qualities of West Ham's Dimitri Payet following his arrival from Marseille...

Marcelo Bielsa or Slaven Bilic? There was much speculation this summer that the two men were rivals for the vacancy at West Ham manager. Ultimately, the Hammers went with the latter but they've bagged the former's star man from Marseille nevertheless. And that could prove crucial for the club as they look to move on from the Sam Allardyce era in style. At £10.7million, France international Dimitri Payet represents a significant investment for West Ham and a considerable coup too given his remarkable season under Bielsa at Marseille. The statistics are stunning and will already have Hammers fans convinced that their team can prove a more exciting proposition in the final third next season. Payet's tally of 17 assists was the best in France and the fourth best in any major European league in 2014/15. That's the headline statistic but the underlying data was arguably even more impressive. His total of 134 chances created was more than anyone else. Indeed, only two other players – Kevin de Bruyne and former Lille team-mate Eden Hazard – topped 100. It's a reflection of the work Payet has put in under Bielsa. The ruthless streak that was once lacking is now there. "What he gave me in one season, I know it will serve me for the rest of my career but also my life," said Payet earlier this month. "When you have worked with him, you come away a different man."

As a result, Bilic is getting a player who has fused quality with a work ethic – "there's so much intensity in training and in matches, especially mentally" – and that means half the battle for his new coach has already been won. There was a minor issue in December but Bielsa soon defended his "outstanding" player. Put simply, the penny has dropped. There have been tactical changes too. Although he enjoyed the freedom to come off the left wing at Lille, his influence was restricted to the right flank for much of his first year at Marseille. It's since switching to a No 10 role under Bielsa that he has blossomed. "He repositioned me as the playmaker and brought me the regularity I'd been lacking."

It's brought a new dimension to Payet's game and one that earned him a France recall by Didier Deschamps. "Today, what he does with his club is very interesting," said Deschamps in October. "He's in a different role – a playmaker at the axis, where he is very influential. He has been very efficient and effective in terms of goals and assists with Marseille."
The decision-making has improved as well. There were 10 successful through-balls in 2014/15, the most of anyone in France, as Payet evidently enjoyed the increased options available with the ball at his feet in a central position. While Marseille's title bid faded, Payet either scored or assisted in eight of his last 10 appearances for the club. So how will Bilic look to use Payet? Sticking with the midfield diamond would limit the options, while the 4-4-2 that the Croat opted for occasionally at Besiktas would preclude playing Payet in his best position altogether. The 4-2-3-1 utilised in the Europa League triumph over Liverpool – with wingers switching flanks – would offer most flexibility. That would open up the wings as possibilities, but while Bilic is not a manager keen to get bogged down in tactical formations, it would seem certain that he intends to play the Frenchman in the position in which he flourished at Marseille. It would surely be counter-productive to do anything else when paying a large fee for a 28-year-old of his capabilities. Payet seems optimistic on that score. "He made it clear that he wanted me to sign and that was important in my choice," he said of Bilic upon signing a five-year contract. "I'm an attacking footballer and that they're counting on me to help achieve that gives me a sense of responsibility."

As West Ham begin their final campaign at the Boleyn Ground, they'll need their high-profile new acquisition to thrive on that responsibility. Payet made relatively slow starts to his spells at both Lille and Marseille. Hammers fans will be hoping the adjustment period won't be necessary this time – thanks in part to the man they didn't appoint as their new manager.

By Dan Coker 30 Jun 2015 at 08:00
West Ham Till I Die

West Ham United's pre-season trip to Cork has seen new manager Slaven Bilic meet some of his new players. Academy Director Terry Westley has taken the majority of training in Ireland but Bilic was joined upon his arrival by some of his new backroom team – Nikola Jurcevic, Edin Terzic and Miljenko Rak.

Nikola Jurcevic was a midfielder, standing just short of 6', who played for Dinamo Zagreb and NK Zagreb with a spell in Belgium with Antwerp in the 1988/89 season sandwiched in between. He moved to Austria in 1991, signing for the club now known as Red Bull Salzburg, and spent four years there, scoring 42 goals in 130 appearances. From there he joined German side Freiburg; while he was with the German club, Jurcevic appeared three times for Croatia at Euro '96. Wearing number 2, he made his first appearance in the tournament as an 82nd minute substitute in the 3-0 win over Denmark before playing the full 90 minutes in the 3-0 defeat to Portugal. He started in a holding midfield role for the 2-1 quarter-final loss to eventual tournament winners Germany before being substituted in the 78th minute, a game which saw former Hammer Igor Stimac sent off with the score at 1-1. Bilic, incidentally, played every minute of Croatia's tournament. In 1997, Jurcevic returned to Salzburg where he ended his playing career in 1999. He has since managed former clubs NK Zagreb in 2002/03, when they finished 6th in the league and reached the quarter-finals in the Croatian Cup, and Dinamo Zagreb in 2003/04, where he won the Croatian Cup and finished runners-up in the league. A brief spell as manager back at Salzburg lasted just over a month in the spring of 2005 before a similarly short spell in charge of Slaven Belupo in his homeland. Jurcevic, along with ex-Derby midfielder Aljosa Asanovic, was appointed as one of Bilic's assistants for the national team and he remained in post between 2006 and 2012. He has since followed Bilic to Lokomotiv Moscow and Besiktas.

Edin Terzic is a 32-year-old who was Bilic's first-team coach at Besiktas; Super Slav has described Terzic as being "really good with players". Terzic, a right-sided midfielder, played in the German lower leagues from 2001 to 2013, with his most notable club being SG Wattenscheid in the 2006/07 season. He was assistant coach for Borussia Dortmund's Under-19s and Under-17s between 2010 and 2013.

Miljenko Rak is a 67-year-old who will join as fitness coach. He held a similar role when working with the Croatia handball team who won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and with Janica Kostelic, a Croatian alpine skier who is the most successful participant in her sport in the history of the Winter Olympics. Rak also worked with Bilic during his time at Besiktas.

A collection of Bilic's former Hammers' team-mates have also been the subject of speculation regarding roles at the club since the Croatian's appointment. Steve Potts is already working with the Development Squad, while Julian Dicks' appointment as a first-team coaching assistant was confirmed yesterday. John Moncur, Ian Bishop, John Hartson and Steve Lomas have all been linked with coaching positions.

Transfer window to open at midnight
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

The Summer transfer officially opens at midnight Wednesday 1st July when Darren Randolph and Doneil Henry officially become West Ham players. Both have been left out of the Europa league squad but Darren Randolph is hotly tipped to be a late addition to the Europa League 25 man A list under the UEFA 24 hour rule which allows one new addition to the squad. The opening of the official transfer window brings fresh speculation that a deal for Alex Song could be concluded tomorrow. The 27-year-old Barcelona midfielder has reportedly agreed personal terms with West Ham, but Barca have been holding out for a fee, believed to be as much as £5million. West Ham are hoping to persuade Barcelona to terminate his contract to make him a free agent.

Return of the Nene
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

Nene could still play in the Premier League despite agreeing terms on a deal to join Greek side Olympiakos, claim. The former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder joined West Ham in February as a free agent and played eight games for the Hammers.

He left the club at the end of the season once his short-term contract completed but Goal claim he could make a return under new manager Slaven Bilic. Goal also say West Brom who tried to sign Nene earlier this year and Watford are also showing an interest in the 33-year-old.

Nene has agreed terms on a two-year deal with Olympiakos but is understood to be unsure about the financial stability in Greece with banks closed presumably he is worried he won't get paid.

His English representative, Barry McIntosh, told Goal: "Nene does feel like there is some unfinished business in England and, yes, there is some interest.

"The move to Greece is not yet finalised so we will have to see what happens in the coming days."

Hammers bid for Besiktas midfielder
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

The Hammers have made a €7 million bid for Besiktas' midfielder Tolgay Arslan according to Turkish newspaper Fanatik. Arslan joined Beşiktaş from HSV in January for just €500,000. The 24-year-old found fame when he scored against Liverpool in the Europa League Round of 32 clash. The newspaper report claims that the midfielder has also attracted attention from Italy and Germany. Slaven Bilic is said to be a fan of the Germany U21 international following his time as manager of Besiktas.Tolgay has three years remaining on his contract and has made 16 Turkish Super Lig appearances since joining Besiktas.

Lille midfielder linked with West Ham again
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

According to French Radio station RMC West Ham have made a bid for Lille defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye of €8m. Marseille have put a €7m offer on the table while Crystal Palace are said to have table a €1om offer. According to the report, the player might lean to England because of the more favourable salary he is being offered.

Lille midfielder Idrisse Gueye is keen to move to the Premier League and previous interest from the Hammers may have encouraged his hopes of getting a deal at the Boleyn. The Senegalese international helped take the Lille side to an eighth place finish last season during his 32 games for the French outfit, scoring four goals.

Southampton and Crystal Palace have all been tracking the bruising midfielder said to be valued at £7 million.

The player said he would sit down with Lille and decide which club would be best for him but offers obviously need to be made first!

He told French publication La Voix du Nord: " I have a contract with Lille until 2018. Admittedly, there are contacts and there will be offers.

I will have to look at it all and decide what suits me best. "[I will] find the offer that will allow me to grow, to allow me to take new steps to be in line with my ambitions.

"But I feel good at Lille and if I was to stay here, it would not be the end of the world. Everyone knows that England has a league that attracts me, even if I am not closing the door on going to other leagues."

Hammers look for Jenks breakthrough
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

West Ham remain hopeful that they will complete a deal for Carl Jenkinson over the next couple of weeks. Although Arsenal are continuing to play hardball over loan terms the Hammers believe a fee of around £1.5 million will ultimately be sorted out. We were told this evening: "We are hopeful of doing the deal. It is still very much on the cards and we believe it is a straightforward situation between ourselves and Sunderland. "However, we can see no reason why he should want to move to north east where he has no friends given that he knows so many people at Upton Park and is happily settled in London." The club is continuing to talk with his advisers but the key is to lower Arsenal's loan fee as that, plus wages of around £40k a week, would push the deal to close to £4 million for ONE season. Jenks is on around £32k a week at the Emirates but would be looking to better that at the Boleyn as a regular member of the first team.

Hammers interest in Austrian Dynamo
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

According to Gianluca Di Marzio, West Ham have opened negotiations with Dynamo Kiev over signing defender Aleksandar Dragovic. The 24-year-old centre back who has recently been linked with a move to Manchester United

The report says that, if West Ham can't seal a move for Dragovic, they will turn their attention to Juventus defender Angelo Ogbonna but they claim talks underway with Dynamo Kiev.

Back in November 2014 Claret and Hugh reported that Aleksandar Dragovic was being watched by club scouts when Austria played Russia. Dragovic has been capped 35 times for Austria.

Aleksandar Dragovic started his career by playing in the youth teams of Austrian giants Austria Wien In 2011 he transferred to FC Basel in the Swiss Super League for whom he appeared 77 times scoring 4 goals. In the summer of 2013, Dragovic signed a 5 year contract with the Ukrainian club FC Dynamo Kiev.

Zarate enjoys the London Sun
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

Mauro Zarate posted a photo of himself enjoying the warm weather on his way to training at Chadwell heath this morning ahead Thursday's Europa League opener against Andorran minnows FC Lusitans.

Zarate appeared to enjoying the London Sun saying "Sun in London 😁😁😁. For you Natalie Webber lol" Natalie Weber is his Argentinian model wife.

His wife teased back "Send me photo in the morning when you have got your jacket back on and it rains"

Mauro Zarate has been included in the squad for the opening two legs of the Europa League qualifiers and has a good chance of being in the starting line up after returning from Ireland yesterday.

Thursday night a major celebration for all Irons
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

The sun is beating down, there will be a full house at Upton Park Thursday evening, Aaron Cresswell has signed a massive new deal and a top French midfielder/winger in Dimitri Payet has arrived.

Frankly, I feel like a reborn Hammer this summer. It's almost as if I've travelled back in time 20 odd years to those days when the club truly felt as if it truly belonged to US, the fans.

Slaven Bilic has been doing and saying all the right things , The Terminator has arrived on the backroom team and the board are working hard on more deals.

The sight of a much younger manager with his hard man coaching team alongside him watching his new charges in a recently published photo was a joy to behold.

Slav knows this club and has carried it in his heart for a long time. When he spoke in an interview of the pleasure he felt when travelling "through those narrow streets" to the ground as a player he hit a chord with me.

I felt it the first time I disembarked at Plaistow Tube Station for my debut game. It never leaves you. Indeed it grows more and more intense.

We all get the same buzz when tumbling out of the tube and legging it to the ground – it's a feeling you can never replicate – it's a feeling known by all true Hammers.

I'm not gonna get into what happened over the last three or four years. Most know. I felt the club had slipped away from the fans and I think we all know why.

Now it has been reclaimed and as proof of my point I'll let followers of this site into a little secret: Since the former manager departed and Slav was installed traffic figures doubled and on two or three occasions actually trebled.

The mood has changed in an instant – the humour is back on the forums, the horribly divisive rows have stopped. It's brilliant.

I expect Thursday night to be electric even though we are playing perhaps the weakest opposition possible as I believe the fans are desperate to go back 'home' on July 2 and celebrate.

I reckon there's an awful lot more to Thursday evening than what is going to happen on the field – it's about what's happened in our hearts!

The old has gone – the new is here and there's only one way to look at things – with a huge smile of satisfaction and optimism that we are on our way as West Ham UNITED again!

82 Lusitans fans to make the trip to Boleyn
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

Just 82 have been sold tickets have been sold to FC Lusitans fans for the away end of the Boleyn Ground for the first qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday night 15 year old Jack Sullivan has revealed. The game is widely expected to sell out with just 2,700 tickets remaining yesterday to make a special night under the Boleyn Ground floodlights. On Thursday Jack revealed 'Only 2,700 tickets left for Thursday night!!!!' and 'The away support will be 82 people on Thursday night' Priced at £10 for adults and £5 for children West Ham are set to receive around £300,000 in ticket sales for the first leg home game in addition to 200,000 Euros in Europa League prize money for the first qualifying for both legs round worth around £142,000.

Cresswell deal has no escape clauses
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

Aaron Cresswell has signed a "no escape clauses" contract with West Ham! The news that the left back and Hammer of the Year had signed a new deal was greeted with delight last night and the even better news is that he is locked down for the term of the contract. Cresswell had no hesitation in signing a contract which will keep him at the club until 2020 and the package he has agreed to sign is a triumph for the club's negotiating team. In the light of keen interest in him from Manchester City and Chelsea, the Irons have demonstrated they are becoming a serious force in Premier League football. The club are thrilled that the Liverpool born star has pledged himself to the club which will send a message to other players they are keen to sign.
ClaretandHugh was told exclusively: "Like every club, if a massive, massive offer comes in it has to be looked at but in terms of escape clauses there are none. "Aaron will therefore stay at this football club for as long as we choose. Both sides could not be happier with the situation."

OS death not a work place incident
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

Health and Safety Executive inspectors have confirmed that the fatality at the Olympic Stadium construction site on Sunday morning was not a workplace incident. Main contractor Balfour Beatty resumed work on Monday morning after the HSE and police concluded their enquiries. Balfour said: "There was a fatality at the former Olympic Stadium site yesterday morning. We worked fully with the police whilst they carried out their enquiries which concluded yesterday. They are treating the death as non-suspicious." "The HSE has confirmed the fatality is not being treated as a workplace incident. "Work resumed on site this morning. Our thoughts remain with the individual's family, friends and colleagues." The live web cam video feed for the Olympic Stadium remains offline since the weekend. The first test event for the new stadium is scheduled in July.

Rodney Marsh: 'Low expectations of Payet'
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

Rodney Marsh has been asked about his thoughts on West Ham new boy Dimitri Payet and said he has low expectations of the 28 year old. Using his twitter account from Tampa Florida, Marsh replied "Decent wide player, low expectations of him…" He also thinks West Ham would be a bad move for Charlie Austin saying "Wow! Charlie Austin to Bournemouth ?!! And I thought West Ham was a bad move for him……" He later explained "I'm not underestimating Bournemouth or West Ham. Just thought a 20 goal a year man could get a bigger club. You fans are so myopic !!"

Europa League game sold out
Posted by Sean Whetstone on June 30, 2015 in News, Whispers

In the last few minutes the West Ham v FC Lusitans has sold out for the first leg of the Europa League qualifying round on Thursday night at the Boleyn Ground. Over 35,000 West Ham fans have shelled out £10 or £5 to watch Slaven Bilic's first match in charge of the Hammers and our first return to Europe in nine years. An insider told Claret and Hugh "That's correct the stadium is sold out, we will have an attendance of over 35,000. We haven't had to include a large segregation as its not needed especially with less than 50 away fans looking to actually attend" Kick off is at 7.45pm and as yet no details have been given as to whether the game will be televised. BT Sports holds the exclusive rights in the UK for the UEFA Europa League but it's TV schedule is void of the Europa League match on Thursday evening so far.

Andy Carroll forced to watch team-mates train as crocked West Ham striker continues to recover from knee ligament injury
PUBLISHED: 14:51, 30 June 2015 | UPDATED: 14:54, 30 June 2015

Andy Carroll appears no closer to a return to action after the West Ham striker sat out training as the club continued their preparations ahead of their Europa League clash against FC Lusitans. The former Liverpool forward injured his knee ligaments in February this year and was ruled out for up to seven months. And Carroll is facing a race against time to be available for the start of the Premier League campaign after he could only watch his team-mates during the session on Tuesday. West Ham take on Andorran minnows Lusitans at Upton Park on Thursday in the first leg of their firs round Europa League qualifier after they secured a place in the competition through the Fair Play league. Carroll will not play a part in either leg and the 26-year-old, who recently became a father for the first time, could only watch from the sidelines as the rest of Slaven Bilic's squad were put through their paces in the glorious sunshine.
The former Newcastle frontman, who has struggled with injuries for the last two seasons, was pictured perched on a drinks cooler and was not involved in the session at all.
Carroll only recently started jogging again following the injury he sustained against Southampton earlier this year that left him needing extensive knee surgery, but he is pleased with the progress he has made over the summer. 'The injury is going well and I have pretty much been in every day working on it and strengthening the injury,' he said earlier this month. 'I started jogging and it is all getting better. 'I have been in the gym a long time now and it is nice to be outside going for a jog and it felt great afterwards. Hopefully I can be back out there. 'I want to step it up again and start kicking a ball but I am glad to be outside and moving again.'

Will West Ham sign Angelo Ogbonna or Aymen Abdennour?
By Mitch Waddon
Posted on June 30, 2015

Slaven Bilic's appointment as manager of West Ham heralded a summer of change for the East London club. It appears that following his arrival there has been a shift in mentality for the Hammers; the club that seemed preoccupied with the threat of relegation under previous manager Sam Allardyce have now shifted their focus up the Premier League table. West Ham will begin their season on Thursday in the Europa League, and the club has already signalled their intent to push towards bigger things with the signing of Dimitri Payet from Marseille for £10.7 million (fee via the Daily Mail). That transfer led to French Football Federation president Noel Le Grant describing the move as "embarrassing", given that one of Ligue 1's Champions League contenders had lost arguably their most influential player to a middling Premier League team.

However West Ham are looking to challenge on all fronts in the future, as shown by their rumoured transfer targets. A new centre-back is in order for their side, so Aymen Abdennour of Monaco and Angelo Ogbonna of Juventus have both been linked in the past few days by the Daily Express and Metro respectively. Signing either would be a fantastic representation of ambition by the club and, more specifically, chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan, who pledged to make "significant transfer funds" available to their new manager in a statement on the official club website in May. Both competed in the Champions League last season with their current employers – Ogbonna was on the bench for Juventus in the final against Barcelona, which they lost 3-1, while Abdennour was part of the Monaco side that shocked Arsenal by the same scoreline at the Emirates, ultimately eliminating the Gunners from the competition. Such experience in Europe's elite competition is likely a huge selling point for the Hammers, who would love to qualify for the Champions League during Bilic's reign as manager.

Neither Abdennour or Ogbonna have plied their trade in the Premier League before, meaning that an adjustment period will be required for both players. However both possess a strong build and are used to the physical aspects of the game, something that will no doubt aid either should they complete a move to England. Abdennour is the more travelled of the two, despite being a year younger than his Italian rival. The Tunisian international began his career with Etoile du Sahel in his home nation in 2008. A brief loan spell with Werder Bremen in 2010 was quickly followed with a move to Toulouse of Ligue 1, before the defender made the move to Monaco on loan in 2014. The club, owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, completed a permanent deal for Abdennour last July. However he made just 18 league appearances for Monaco last season, as the club finished third in Ligue 1. Ogbonna meanwhile has yet to play for a team outside of Italy, having moved to Juventus from Torino in 2013. The centre-back played in 25 league games for the Old Lady during the last campaign, as they claimed their fourth-consecutive Serie A title.

Both are recognised for their strength and comfortable nature with the ball at their feet; something that Bilic is eager to introduce to the West Ham defenders. Both enjoy passing the ball and, in Ogbonna's case, there is an ability to bring it forward rather than unnecessarily lifting it towards the strikers; something that the fans will appreciate as the quest to reintroduce the "West Ham way" continues. Neither defender scored any goals last season in their respective leagues, more than likely due to their limited game time, but with West Ham's new signing Payet providing 17 assists for Marseille last term, both would probably get chances at the other end of the pitch.

The biggest obstacle to completing a deal for either of these undoubtedly talented centre-backs is likely to be the level of interest from other clubs. In Ogbonna's case, the Liverpool Echo reports that Everton were interested in a move for the Italian international. However to secure Abdennour, West Ham will have to fight off a significantly higher-calibre of club; ESPN FC believe that Liverpool and Barcelona are in for the defender, making the prospect of a move to East London less-likely for the 25-year-old. Ogbonna, who has 10 international caps for Italy, could well be playing for West Ham next season. Signing either of these players would bring a quality that West Ham fans long to see at Upton Park, and at the Olympic Stadium in 12 months time. Abdennour or Ogbonna would likely be welcomed into the starting XI relatively soon after joining, and any deal is likely to come down to the preference of Bilic, given the similarities in playing style and build. Given the interest in Abdennour by Champions League clubs, it seems more reasonable to expect that Ogbonna will be seen in the claret and blue of West Ham next season. However they must not be disheartened with such a transfer; Ogbonna, like Payet, represents a new dawn for West Ham. One that shows the club's ambitions can attract players of the highest quality from the biggest clubs.

Why Mark Noble's West Ham future could be hindered by Slaven Bilic and big-money signings
13:21 30 June 2015 Brad Pinard
London 24

West Ham United's Mark Noble 'He wears the claret and blue, he's West Ham through and through' sing the Hammers fans towards favourite Mark Noble game after game. The 28-year-old has been at West Ham for 15 years and is certainly a fans hero, putting in a shift each week and having to ability to cut open defences at will when on song. England recognition has not and seemingly will not be coming Noble's way, so he has to think, what next? At times it has been almost blasphemy to criticise Noble, but it certainly occured more last season. West Ham snapped up Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria earlier this summer along with Dimitri Payet from Marseille and are reportedly closing in on bringing Alex Song back to Upton Park. Three more midfielders for Noble to compete with. Cheikhou Kouyate will likely go from strength to strength and youngster Diego Poyet is almost certain to find more game time this season with Sam Allardyce out of the way as well as any more signings coming through the door. So where does that leave Noble? Like his team-mates, Noble fell away dramatically towards the end of last season and just didn't have the impact on the team that was needed. With even more games this season, in the Europa League for starters, Noble's ability to play three times in a week will surely be questioned after niggling injuries started to play a part last term. I'm not suggesting either West Ham will get rid of Noble, nor the player himself will want to leave, but a starting role every week for the homegrown star is in doubt. Slaven Bilic will see Noble as a West Ham man, with Julian Dicks' appointment fairly poignant, so upsetting that ship will not be an option but if anything it could motivate Noble to take on more responsibility, and even the captain's armband.

West Ham, West Brom & Watford interested in Nene despite Olympiakos deal
30 Jun 2015 12:05:17
The 33-year-old looked set to join the Greek side after leaving Upton Park this summer but the deal is not yet finalised and the Hammers could re-sign the midfielder
GOAL By Graeme Bailey

Nene could still play in the Premier League next season despite leaving West Ham and agreeing terms on a deal to join Greek side Olympiakos, Goal understands. The former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder joined West Ham in February as a free agent and played eight games under Sam Allardyce. Nene left the club at the end of the season once his short-term contract expired but now, with Slaven Bilic in charge at Upton Park, a move back to West Ham is understood to be under consideration. However, Goal understands that West Brom – who tried to sign Nene earlier this year – and Premier League new-boys Watford are also showing an interest in the 33-year-old. Nene has agreed terms on a two-year deal with Olympiakos but is understood to be unsure about the financial stability in Greece. His English representative, Barry McIntosh, confirmed to Goal: "Nene does feel like there is some unfinished business in England and, yes, there is some interest. "The move to Greece is not yet finalised so we will have to see what happens in the coming days."

West Ham open to Kevin Nolan bids - sources

ESPNFC's Janusz Michallik provides the lowdown on West Ham's recruitment of France international midfielder Dimitri Payet from Marseille. West Ham are willing to offload captain Kevin Nolan as Slaven Bilic looks to overhaul the squad this summer, sources have told ESPN FC. Former West Ham boss Sam Allardyce signed Nolan shortly after his arrival at Upton Park in 2011 but, following his departure, the club are ready to listen to offers for the 33-year-old. ESPN FC has been told that a number of clubs, including Nolan's former side Bolton Wanderers, are monitoring the midfielder's position. Kevin Nolan made 10 of his 29 Premier League appearances from the bench last season, and scored one goal. Bilic, who has been charged with securing a top-eight finish this season, has already brought in midfield duo Dimitri Payet and Pedro Obiang this summer. Their arrivals will push Nolan, who found his first-team chances limited in the second half of last season, further down the pecking order. West Ham have also announced the appointment of Julian Dicks as coaching assistant this week, while Aaron Cresswell has signed a new long-term contract.

Scouting Report: West Ham's latest target looks a real prospect in midfield
Date: 30th June 2015 at 12:31 pm
Written by: Matt Bourne | Comments (0)

The latest Besiktas player linked with a move to West Ham is promising German midfielder Tolgay Arslan. Many will be familiar with him as he was the man who scored the goal against Liverpool in the game that knocked the English side out of the Europa League. Other than that, his status is relatively unknown, so here's the low-down on West Ham's latest target.



Arslan is a very gifted player. Capable of carrying the ball long distances, the midfielder is very skilful and will often look to beat players in the middle of the park. He always looks a composed and assured figure on the ball and shows maturity in possession.


The midfielder possesses a solid passing range. He likes to look for the measured lofted ball and often supplied the wingers in Bilic's Besiktas side. Arslan is a naturally forward-thinking player and will look to spark attacks when he is in possession. He is also economical on the ball, averaging an 86% pass success rate in the Turkish Superlig last season.


As well as being comfortable on the ball, Arslan is also very good at reading the game, often timing clean tackles before looking to get the ball forward. Due to his tackling ability, Arslan has been deployed in a deeper role but was encouraged to carry more of a creative influence under Bilic.



Although Arslan took his goal against Liverpool very well, it was the only goal he scored last season. In 2013/14, he managed just the single goal in 32 Bundesliga appearances. He clearly needs to improve in this area but at just 24-years-old, there's plenty of time for the German to add this element to his game.

Would he fit in at West Ham?

The Hammers are looking to play attractive attacking football under Slaven Bilic and Arslan would certainly provide the entertainment factor. He is an intelligent player who is capable of producing the extraordinary and he has the potential to be a very good Premier League player. Before he joined Besiktas in January, he attracted the interest of Arsenal before deciding to join Bilic's side, so his talent has been earmarked as appropriate for the demands of the Premier League before.

The young German certainly has ability and would provide a creative spark in midfield for a reasonable fee. Turkish newspaper Fanatik are reporting that the Irons have bid around £5 million for his services, a very good fee considering the talent of the player. It is very difficult to find a player that is very good on the ball but also good at reading the game and timing a tackle. He shows similarities with fellow countryman Ikay Gundogan, carrying that solidly assured persona coupled with a creative presence in the middle of the park.


Bilic initially bought Arlsan as a player for the future at Besiktas but towards the end of the season, he gradually forced his way into Bilic's first-team plans and impressed in his performances when given the opportunity.

It may not be as easy at West Ham but he certainly possesses the creative instinct that the club are desperately looking for as they try to encourage a more attacking style of football next season. An agile, quick and creative player, Arslan could slot in well alongside the physical, energetic presence of players like Cheikou Kouyate and Pedro Obiang in midfield. Also, considering the rather cheap asking price and the fact that the manager knows exactly what he's getting, it could represent an excellent bit of business for Slaven Bilic's West Ham side.

Enthusiasm trumps everything when recruiting, says Brady
Tue, 30 Jun 2015
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A candidate's track record and how bright they are figure highly in many a recruiter's decision-making process. However, according to Karren Brady (Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge), vice-chairman of West Ham United Football Club, businesswoman and one of Lord Sugar's advisers on BBC's The Apprentice, they are trumped by one thing: enthusiasm. Speaking last week at Recruitstock in Hampshire, The FIRM's (Forum for In-House Recruitment Manager's) annual event, Brady told the audience: "I only look for one thing, and that is enthusiasm. I cannot and will not work with unenthusiastic people no matter how bright they are, no matter how good their track record is. "I want people who are proud of what they do and want to do their best every day, and I think that as a trait carries you through an awful lot of ups and downs. "And I actually quite like honesty. I prefer [hearing] 'I don't know how to do it but I really want to learn how to do it'," she continued. Although not involved in recruiting on a day-to-day basis, Brady said she sits in on some final interviews, and takes an active role in senior level appointments.

Liverpool AND West Ham in talks with Monaco over £21m-rated defender
By talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) | Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Liverpool and West Ham have opened negotiations with Monaco over the signing of Aymen Abdennour, according to reports in France. The defender is being chased by several sides this summer and is available if a club meets his £21m asking price. AC Milan have made a £14m offer, while Newcastle are also believed to have lodged a £12m bid for the Tunisian. And now, according to RMC, both Liverpool and West Ham have begun talks with Monaco over a deal for Abdennour. The Premier League pair have scouted the 25-year-old on several occasions and are keen to secure his services. Monaco remain adamant the centre-back will only leave for £21m and it remains to be seen whether a club meets that asking price.

West Ham Cautious About Conteh Threat
By Sahr Morris Jr.

English Premier League side, West Ham United, are mindful of the threat posed by Sierra Leone and FC Lusitanos hit man, Alfi Conteh Lacalle aka 'White Boy' ahead of their Europa League qualifiers. The Hammers, who qualified for the Europa League via the Fair Play League standings, were drawn to face their Andorran counterparts on July 2 at home with the return leg scheduled a week later on July 9. However, the East London side are considering the Sierra Leonean forward as the club's key man following his rich goal-scoring form last season, scoring nine goals in 10 appearances. Alfi Conteh, who was raised within the famed La Masia at Barcelona throughout his entire youth, helped the club finish as runners-up in the Andorran league as they missed out on Champions League football by only three points, losing out to the eventual league champions, FC Santa Coloma FC Lusitanos was only formed in 1999. Just one win in their final five games of the season meant they finished second, just three points behind winners FC Santa Coloma. They finished joint-top of the regular season before it broke away in March into a four-team 'Championship round'. The team has not enjoyed much success in the Europa League and Champions League first qualifying rounds. Since their first game in Europe, a 11-0 aggregate defeat in 2010, they have scored four and conceded 33.

West Ham make €7m bid for Tolgay Arslan
Posted by Eren Sarigul June 30, 2015

West Ham United have made a €7 million bid for Besiktas' midfielder Tolgay Arslan according to the Turkish newspaper Fanatik. Arslan joined Besiktas from HSV in January for just €500,000 in January and has already established himself as a first team player. The 24-year-old scored against Liverpool in the Europa League Round of 32 clash against Liverpool. The report goes onto state that the highly rated midfielder has also attracted attention from Italy and Germany. Newly appointed West Ham manager Slaven Bilic is a fan of the Germany U21 international following his time at Besiktas. Bilic resigned from his position as Besiktas manager at the end of the season after failing to win the league title. The former Croatia national team manager did not win any silverware in the two seasons he spent at the Black Eagles. Tolgay – who has three years remaining on his contract – made 16 Turkish Super Lig appearances since joining Besiktas.

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan sets Slaven Bilic top-eight goal
ESPN Staff, Now

West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan has set new Irons boss Slaven Bilic the target of a top-eight finish next season in the Premier League. Bilic, who joined West Ham at the beginning of June, had also agreed to walk away from the club without a payout if they are relegated. "Slaven knows what is expected of him," Sullivan said according to the The Sun. "He gets no bonus unless we finish top eight or above. He has accepted that." "We also insisted he agrees to being sacked with no pay-off if we get relegated. "If he utterly fails, it's his responsibility. But Bilic sees this as his big chance and has an amazingly positive attitude." Sullivan also revealed that new Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez was originally the man chosen to replace Sam Allardyce in the Hammers hot-seat, before being offered the Bernabeu job. "We spoke to several coaches ahead of Slaven and had everything sorted out with Rafa," he said. "Then he got a call from Real Madrid and called to say sorry but he was going there, as it was his dream. "But Slaven should not feel bad that he wasn't first choice. In fact, he has told us he will prove that he should have been. You can't argue with that."

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic will be sacked with no pay-off if Hammers go down - and needs top-eight finish to land bonus
Evening Standard
Published: 30 June 2015 Updated: 10:23, 30 June 2015

West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan has revealed Slaven Bilic will be dismissed with no pay-off if the Hammers drop out of the Premier League this season. The former Croatia international coach was named as Sam Allardyce's successor learlier this month on a three-year deal, returning to the club he played for 54 times during the mid-90s. Sullivan openly revealed the new manager was not West Ham's first choice with Rafa Benitez, David Moyes, Carlo Ancelotti, Unai Emery and Jurgen Klopp all linked to the post, but offered the job to Bilic after the 46-year-old agreed to strict terms. "Slaven knows what is expected of him. He gets no bonus unless we finish top eight or above. He has accepted that," Sullivan told The Sun. We also insisted he agrees to being sacked with no pay-off if we get relegated. "If he utterly fails, it's his responsibility. But Bilic sees this as his big chance and has an amazingly positive attitude." Sullivan added: "We spoke to several coaches ahead of Slaven and had everything sorted out with Rafa. "Then he got a call from Real Madrid and called to say sorry but he was going there, as it was his dream.

David Sullivan claims Rafael Benitez agreed West Ham deal before Bilic arrival
Olly Dawes

David Sullivan has revealed that Rafael Benitez had agreed to become the new West Ham manager earlier this summer. West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has told The Sun that he had struck an agreement to appoint Rafa Benitez this summer - only to lose out to Real Madrid. Sullivan oversaw the departure of former manager Sam Allardyce on the final day of the Premier League season, and after an extensive search for a new boss, West Ham settled on Slaven Bilic. The Croatian played for West Ham as a defender during the 1990's, and makes his return to Upton Park ahead of the new Premier League campaign. However, co-owner Sullivan has now admitted to The Sun that Benitez - who won the Champions League with West Ham's Premier League rivals Liverpool in 2005 - had agreed to become the new West Ham manager. That deal fell apart though, as Spanish giants Real Madrid handed Benitez his dream move, and he became their latest boss after the departure of Carlo Ancelotti. "We spoke to several coaches ahead of Slaven and had everything sorted out with Rafa," said Sullivan. "Then he got a call from Real Madrid and called to say sorry but he was going there, as it was his dream." "But Slaven should not feel bad that he wasn't first choice. In fact, he has told us he will prove that he should have been. You can't argue with that," he added.

Benitez or Bilic?

West Ham have made a fine choice in appointing former Besiktas boss Bilic, but would they have been in a better position with Benitez? The Spaniard hasn't enjoyed a great deal of success since leaving Liverpool in 2010, but West Ham would have sent out a real signal of intent by appointing a manager who has been with some of the best teams in the world, including Valencia, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Napoli. Benitez would have brought Premier League experience, which Bilic doesn't possess, at least in terms of being a manager, but West Ham now have to hope that Bilic can show them that they aren't missing anything having failed to land Benitez.

'The path to West Ham is closed' Hammers to miss out on defender as Newcastle and Liverpool eye bids
London 24
06:30 30 June 2015 Brad Pinard

The agent of West Ham target Aymen Abdennour has claimed his client will not be moving to east London. The Monaco central defender is reportedly top of Slaven Bilic's shopping list as he gets to grip with life back at West Ham, however the £13.5million price tag looks hefty. Newcastle, Liverpool and AC Milan are reportedly interested too and could now pounce with West Ham unlikely to get their man. "We've never been contacted by Milan, or any Italian club," agent Abdelkader Jilani told Calciomercato. "Abdennour wants to play in the Premier League or La Liga, not in Italy. The path leading to West Ham is closed. "Would he consider Milan? No, because he doesn't want to go to Italy. I repeat, England or Spain is his future."

Aaron Cresswell hopes for more new signings at West Ham
Damien Lucas

West Ham United's Hammer of the Year Aaron Cresswell hopes he is the first of many to be signing contract papers at the club this summer. Fresh from putting pen to paper on a new contract which could potentially keep him with the east Londoners for the next seven years, Cresswell hopes new arrivals will be hot on his heels ahead of a crucial few seasons in the history of the club. Premier League champions Chelsea and fellow big guns Manchester City have been linked with a move for the 25-year-old left-back this summer by the likes of the Daily Mail.
But the Hammers have moved quickly to ward off any interest with a bumper new deal running until 2020, with the option for a further two years after that. Speaking to West Ham's official website after penning the new deal, the former Liverpool youth player said he hopes new arrivals will boost the squad even further as they compete in Europe for the first time in nearly a decade in what is also the club's last season at the Boleyn Ground before their move to the 54,000 seater Olympic Stadium. "It's going to be a massive year for us, the last year at Upton Park," the former Ipswich Town defender told "But it's exciting times going into one of the best stadiums in Europe, even in the world. It's going to be a good summer, hopefully a few more faces will come in and we'll have a good year." West Ham have been one of the busiest clubs so far this summer since replacing Sam Allardyce with Slaven Bilic. They have already signed Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph from Birmingham City, Spanish midfielder Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria and star midfielder Dimitri Payet from Marseille. But if co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold are true to their promise of bringing in at least five top quality additions, then Cresswell will get his wish come the start of the season.
The former Tranmere defender was one of the big success stories of West Ham's ultimately disappointing 2014/15 campaign where they were as high as fourth at Christmas but ended up finishing 12th. After signing from Ipswich for just £3million, Cresswell proved players can make the step up from the Championship as he went on to play every minute of every league game for the Irons and won a hat-trick of awards at the end of the season including the prestigious Hammer of the Year honour.

Mr West Ham Mark Noble is looking forward to enjoyable new era under Slaven Bilic
Damien Lucas

The man known as Mr West Ham United Mark Noble says he is looking forward to what he hopes will be an 'enjoyable' new era under Slaven Bilic. The Hammers replaced Sam Allardyce with former defender Bilic in the summer and will play in Europe for the first time in nearly a decade this season, the last at their Boleyn Ground home of 112 years. Noble was a teenager on the fringes of Alan Pardew's first team squad when the east Londoners were uncremoniously dumped out of the UEFA Cup at the first hurdle 4-0 by Palermo nine years ago. Now, aged 28 and with 282 games to his name, Noble has told West Ham's official website he is hoping to strike up a good rapport with his new manager, who has already signed two midfielders since taking over earlier this month. And he thinks Bilic will fit straight in given his experience of working in Turkey with 'crazy' fans not to dissimilar to West Ham's very own - who have already sold out their Europa League first qualifying round match against Andorran minnows FC Lusitans. "I'm hoping it will be very enjoyable," Noble told "I've not met the new gaffer yet, as he's over in Ireland (with squad players likely to face FC Lusitans on Thursday night), but it's a new start with a new set of staff. "It's going to take a little while for us to get used to each other and the manager to get used to his players, which is to be expected. "He has come from a different country where the fans are not dissimilar to ours – crazy – and I think it'll be a good match. "I'm looking forward to working with the new manager and seeing where that takes us this season."

Noble's opinion on anything to do with his boyhood club is always scrutinised given his affiliation with the fans. According to a recent poll, Noble is even the man the Upton Park faithful want to see replace Kevin Nolan as the club's captain. A dyed-in-the-wool Hammer from birth he has consistently been a first-team regular since breaking into the senior side as a teen. He is Mr West Ham, the closest you will get to a fan on the pitch. However, it will be interesting to see how things pan out given that Noble is coming off the back of one of his worst seasons personally in the claret and blue. Bilic's first move on returning to east London was to sign Spanish U21 international midfielder Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria. And the club has since added the gifted Dimitri Payet to its ranks from Marseille in an eight figure deal. Therefor the Canning Town-born star will face increased competition for his place and may not even be a certain starter. So he will be looking to impress Bilic from the off to ensure he plays his part in what promises to be an exciting time in West Ham's history with the move to the 54,000 seater Olympic Stadium just a year away.

West Ham have agreed terms over a long-term contract with Barcelona midfielder Alex Song.
Now comes the tough task of agreeing a fee with Barcelona.
Michael Oliver 8 hours ago

West Ham have agreed terms to a long-term contract with Barcelona midfielder Alex Song, reports the Daily Mail. The Cameroonian spent last season on loan at Upton Park, and West Ham are very keen to bring the former Arsenal man back this summer on a permanent basis. Reports claim that Song has agreed terms to a four-year deal worth £70,000-a-week, which is a hefty wage drop from what he's currently earning in Spain from Barcelona. The La Liga champions are desperate to offload the 27-year-old this summer, but want to recoup some of the £15m they spent on him three years ago. However, the Hammers are hoping they can bide their time with Barcelona and hope they cave in and let the player go for nothing, despite the Catalan club wants around £5m for his services. West Ham are said to be willing to pay a certain amount for Alex Song, but as interest elsewhere begins to dissipate, they believe Barcelona will eventually reduce their demands and a deal can be struck soon.


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