Tuesday, July 21

Daily WHUFC News - 21st July 2015

Mavila praises mentor Sakho

For most of the squad, this pre-season has proved a busy yet prosperous time, and none more so than for explosive winger Nathan Mavila. The 19-year-old enjoyed a brief yet successful stint on loan at Wealdstone FC last season, and his development and maturity, both on and off the pitch, is clear for all to see. Mavila was one of a number of exciting youngsters to travel to the Hammers pre-season training camp in Ireland, where he fell under the tutelage of Diafra Sakho. Explaining how he befriended last season's top goalscorer, Mavila said: "Diafra has been really, really nice to us, all the younger lads. In Ireland, he would come out of his hotel room and come into ours to talk to us. Everyone has been really nice, but he was the standout.
"His main advice really was to be selfish. You have to play for the team of course, but at the same time you have to show what you can do. You have to remember that it's your career."

These are sentiments that Mavila has clearly taken to heart. After featuring against Peterborough United, he mirrored his mentor's special ability of scoring by notching the opening goal of a 4-0 win over Chelmsford City. "I stuttered a bit before I hit it, but I thought 'why not try it?' Trust yourself and believe nd it went in. "It was really good to be playing again, we've been away with the first team in Ireland for a while which was a good experience. "Chelmsford were tough, they were quite physical, they are an older, more experienced side. On the ball I thought we were really good and our quality showed. Second half we did really well, I thought we were all over them."

Following an hour against the Clarets on Friday evening, Mavila was called upon for the Hammers first team win with fellow Essex side Southend United on Saturday. With two wins in less than 24 hours, a tired but clearly happy Mavila welcomed the challenge: "Obviously I felt a bit leggy having played twice, so it was a challenge but it's good to be tested. Overall I thought I'd done alright. "It's a great experience to play in front of so many people. Our busy pre-season schedule is great for myself and the younger players because it gives us more of an opportunity to show what we can. Opportunities are hard to come by, so it's good to be getting a chance."

So far the Hammers have played five first team games, with a chance of a further seven, depending on the Iron's European progress, before their first Premier League game away at Arsenal.
With that firmly in mind, Mavila finished by highlighting new manager Slaven Bilic's attention to detail, both on the training ground and during games. "I think the new manager has been excellent so far. He's knows everyone's names already, the youngsters, everyone. I think that is very important. He always takes the time to talk to everyone individually about how to improve their game. A few of his staff came to watch the game yesterday, so it's very good."

"A new manager coming in gives everyone an opportunity. It gives everyone a chance to impress. I'm not too far from full fitness, I'm quite a naturally fit person anyway. Hopefully after a few more games I'll be alright."

Patient Hendrie settling in well

Stephen Hendrie had long wait to join West Ham United, but the left-back's patience is being rewarded with an encouraging start to his career in Claret and Blue. The former Hamilton Academical star made his Hammers debut as a substitute at Peterborough United before producing an eye-catching display in the 3-2 pre-season win at Southend United. The quietly-spoken Scot admits that, with Hammer of the Year Aaron Cresswell sharing his position, he has a tough job on his hands to earn match-time, but he prepared to wait for his opportunity to shine in the long term. "It was a good game to play in at Southend with a lot of goals, and it was good to get my first start, a good win and 60 minutes under my belt, so I'm happy with it," the 20-year-old told West Ham TV. "Obviously I'd rather we'd have kept a clean sheet, as a defender you don't want the other team to score. We'd rather be winning 3-0 or 5-0, but even though the other team scored we got the win and that was good for the team. Hendrie has spent the past three weeks training with his new teammates, having signed a pre-contract to join West Ham in January, and has quickly been accepted into the squad. For the Scotland U21 international, playing and training with established full internationals has been a thrill in itself. "It's been brilliant, training with some of the players we get to train with. You could see on Saturday that Dimitri Payet is a fantastic player, scored two goals and has done well with the third one as well. "It's absolutely brilliant to be playing with players like him and to be at a club like West Ham, which is a family club and all the boys have welcomed me great. It's been a good few weeks. "Coming from a small but great club like Hamilton Accies down to a big club like West Ham in the Premier League has been unbelievable, to be honest with you."

After spending his opening fortnight of pre-season with a small group in Ireland, Hendrie joined the full group at Chadwell Heath last week and feels things are coming together for the Hammers ahead of the Barclays Premier League kick-off at Arsenal on Sunday 9 August. "There were two different squads, with the other group going to the Europa League, but now we're all back together and that's what you need to get to know all the new players and work on things."

For Hendrie, one of his new teammates is Cresswell, who enjoyed an outstanding debut season himself last term. The young Scot knows a starting place will be tough to earn, but he is mature and patient enough to know opportunities will come his way with the Hammers potentially fighting on four fronts this coming campaign. "Aaron is unbelievable and won Player of the Year last season, so all I can do is work hard on the training ground and play pre-season games and see where it takes me. "Hopefully I can get more game-time at Colchester on Tuesday and see what happens in the Europa League. I just need to see where it takes us."

From the Newsroom

Recorder Series West Ham United correspondent Dave Evans reflects on Dimitri Payet's outstanding debut and looks ahead to Thursday's UEFA Europa League tie in Malta…

As debuts go, Dimitri Payet's has to be one of the best I have ever seen at West Ham United. From the moment the game kicked-off he was on it and he looked dangerous every time he got the ball.

He linked well with Diafra Sakho and brought the wingers Martin Samuelsen and Djair Parfitt-Williams into the game regularly as well.

His two goals were both fairly incredible. The free-kick looked like it was going to go in from the second he hit it, while the second was a great controlled finish into the corner, so there are some exciting times to come from the Frenchman.

The secret will clearly be to give him the ball. He is going to be in the hole and be able to turn with it and do things with it, so if the other midfielders and defenders can give him the ball, he is going to be very effective.

We have to measure our expectations about Dimitri, but on the evidence of his first game he looks top-class.

Talking of Samuelsen, we have seen him twice now at first-team level and he looks really good. He is only a youngster at 18, but he looks tricky and doesn't mind taking people on.

He won the free-kick for Payet's first goal on Saturday, is always keen to get involved and he came on in the Europa League last Thursday and looked impressive. He isn't scared to take his man on, get to the byline and get crosses in, so he looks like he'll be a nice addition to the squad.

I'm not sure where he will fit into the starting XI, if at all for now, but certainly if there are injuries he could come in or he could step off the bench.

Style-wise, there was certainly a lot more passing of the ball and it looked very smooth with Cheikhou Kouyate looking sharp in midfield and Payet as the main man making things tick. It's probably a little too early to say how the team is going to play.

A couple of defensive slips mean we should not get carried away, but it was certainly impressive and if this is the new West Ham Way, then it could be exciting.

I get lots of tweets from West Ham fans on social media and the consensus feeling is that the signings last summer were good, but this summer they seem to have moved onto another level. It's going to be hard to find starting places for a lot of players, so it's moved onto another level.

Expectation is always high at West Ham, but you never know how things are going to turn out. Obviously the season starts at Arsenal, which is always a difficult place to go, but the opening home games of the season look to be winnable.

If they can start well and confidence is high then they can have a good season in the league.

More immediately, the Europa League is a great novelty. The first home game was a real novelty and everyone wanted to come along and see it in the sunshine.

Last Thursday's game was a bit of a frustrating one, but they got that all-important goal and that should see them through to the next round, then you never know. The bigger teams start to come in now and there could be some big European nights at the Boleyn to come, but at the minute it's just about getting through.

*Dave Evans is the only West Ham journalist to follow the team home and away. You can follow him on twitter @Recorder_Hammer.

Boleyn Insider

The Club have certainly been busy in the transfer market this summer bringing in six new signings and my understanding is that another international player should be joining in the next 24 hours. With Stewart Downing leaving the Hammers for Middlesbrough last week, I have been told that Slaven Bilic is keen to strengthen the midfield area. Big things are expected from new signing Dimitri Payet who marked an impressive debut against Southend last Saturday with two goals and an assist. But it seems clear that Bilic wants competition for places throughout the squad and my sources have indicated that an exciting new player should be unveiled in the near future. I understand that the player has arrived in England and will now undergo the necessary procedures before hopefully putting pen to paper on a season-long loan. The Club have once again been linked with a number of strikers over the weekend and with reports suggesting that Andy Carroll could be ruled out until October, the priority appears to be bringing another forward into the squad.

I have been told that a proven striker still remains one of the top priorities before the new Premier League season gets underway. The Club have been linked with three big name forwards in the UK, but I believe they are keeping all their options open and would consider looking overseas if they can get in the right player. The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United

Bilic keeping tabs on Austrian international
Filed: Monday, 20th July 2015
By: Staff Writer

Reports from Europe this afternoon suggest that new Hammers boss Slaven Bilic is monitoring the situation regarding Austrian international Veli Kavlak.

The midfielder, who can play in both defensive and attacking roles within the centre of the park has been with Bilic's former club Besiktas since 2011, to whom he is contracted until 2019.

And reports emerging this afternoon suggest that Bilic has been keeping tabs on Kavlak's situation since moving to West Ham with view to making a move for the 26-year-old, who holds Turkish citizenship (via his parents) but plays at international level for Austria, having been born in Vienna.

According to sportnet.at, Bilic "is showing great interest in his former protege and is in constant contact with him" - despite the player having been sidelined since March with a shoulder injury.

The source claims that current Besiktas boss Fikret Orman is unhappy with the length of time it has taken to resolve Kavlak's injury and is said to be "losing patience" with the midfielder.

We're in it to win it, says Poyet
Filed: Monday, 20th July 2015
By: Staff Writer

Diego Poyet says West Ham will be going for the win when they travel to Malta this week for the return leg of their Europa League qualifier against Birkirkara. James Tomkins' late, late strike gave West Ham the narrowest of advantages to take to Malta later this week. However Poyet - speaking to KUMB after Saturday's 3-2 win at Southend United - insisted that the Hammers will be looking to further increase their lead, rather than defend what they already have. "Obviously we wanted it to be a bit more comfortable, but a win's a win at the end of the day," he said. "We go over there confident that we can finish it off by winning the game. We'll not be playing for a draw, we'll be looking to win the game with another solid performance and then see who we get in the next round."

Poyet also revealed that all the players were excited about the opportunity to be involved in European competition - even if many of the club's first team regulars are yet to be involved.
"Everyone wants to play as it's a competitive game and it's Europe, so everyone wants to be involved," he added. "There's a lot of pre-season games from here to Arsenal where people will get the chance to try and impress and show the manager what they can do. "Training is sharp and we're ready to play the second leg. Win that and we've gone through two stages of the Europa League, so it's very pleasing and very exciting for everyone. "But before we think about the next round we need to get a result in Malta - and then we'll see who we get. But everyone's really excited and wants to play every game, as you can imagine. "Some of the boys have played in Europe before, some haven't, so everyone's fighting for their place and we'll see what happens. It's very exciting for the fans, being the last season at Upton Park as well so I'm sure it's going to be a great season for us."

The Companion Guide to Birkirkara
Filed: Monday, 20th July 2015
By: Maltese Hammer

So it's on to the second leg in Malta! For those who have little idea of Malta and its football-crazy population I thought I'd give you all some background.

Malta is small, really small! 26x18 miles with a sister island called Gozo which is a fifth of the size. Population is 400,000 so we're a bit overpopulated with people and cars!

We've been ruled by nearly everyone under the sun...Romans, Phoenicians, Byzantine, the Normans, the Knights of Malta, the French (alas), albeit for two years and then finally the British from circa 1800 until 1964 when we gained independence, and I'm sure I've left a country or two out!

We are the only country to be awarded the George Cross, and the country suffered more bombs than London did during the Blitz. We joined the EU in 1994 and our currency is the Euro which means the rate of exchange is seriously in your favour. We have our own language which unsurprisingly is called Maltese, but nearly everyone speaks English to a lesser or greater degree.

Since we entered the EU, loads of non-Maltese have begun working here especially in catering, and also the gaming industry, which is huge. For those who want to visit the island, Valletta and Mdina are a must. And if you turn up early for the game, there's an aviation museum right next to the ground which has historic war planes and all, for those interested.

But on to more important matters! Maltese love their football, with a local passion and an equally if not greater love for teams in England and Italy in the main, with some fans supporting the obvious German or Spanish sides (Bayern, Real and Barcelona).

English clubs are the usual suspects...Man United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea (yawn, yawn), but you'll find fans of all clubs here. West Ham even have their own fan club and there's one mate I know who has a season ticket and flies to London for each and every home game! That's a feat in itself and even greater when you realise that all, yes, that's all Premier League games are shown live on TV over here!

Birkirkara are a relatively new club. The older clubs in Malta are Hibernians, Floriana, Sliema and Valetta. B'kara are well supported locally and are always among the frontrunners. I'm embarrassed to say that I've been to the Boleyn more often that I have to see my local side (Valetta) and you'll find that I am not alone in that respect. That said, the level of football has improved significantly in the last few years and I can see the gap between local clubs and the smaller foreign ones closing a bit more.

The atmosphere in the National stadium should be good, even though the ground has a track around it, which as far as I know serves no purpose whatsoever! There is safety netting so anyone in lower seats has their view impaired. That said, although tickets are numbered, no one will stick to their seat and I am certain that other than the VIP section, you can sit wherever you like within the section you're in.

West Ham fans are being placed in the Millennium Stand which, believe it or not, was opened in 2000! It's the newest stand, with good views and by the time we play the sun will have gone down so no problem seeing the game well!

Maltese fans will be welcoming and lots will come along to see the Irons even though they support neither B'kara or West Ham! For those who want a drink or six, there's nothing near the ground. Bugibba, St Pauls Bay, St Julians are all seaside places with loads of bars and pubs and a 15 to 30 minute drive to the match. Local transport is good but in summer can be busy, so allow plenty of time if you intend using it.

As for the game? I think West Ham will win 1-0, possibly 2-0, especially with a week more to prepare and hopefully some more regulars featuring!

I hope you all enjoy your brief stay in Malta... but please bring sunblock as it's obscenely hot right now! Then again, it is July.

Hendrie on Payet: 'we've got a class player there'
Filed: Monday, 20th July 2015
By: Staff Writer

New signing Stephen Hendrie believes fellow summer arrival Dimitri Payet has what it takes to light up the Premier League next season. The former Hamilton left back, who completed his move South at the beginning of July was full of praise for the French international following Saturday's 3-2 win at Southend. "He is a world class player, coming from Marseille which is a massive club," said Hendry. "I thought he was unbelievable [against Southend]. His touches were amazing - as well as that free kick, which was unbelievable. "We've got a class player there. It shows in training too. He takes the ball with his back to goal and he can turn and do anything with it. He is brilliant."

Hendrie might have been celebrating his first goal for West Ham - courtesy of an assist from Payet - too, had he been slightly more fortunate with a first half effort that missed the far post by a matter of centimetres. "I got too excited man!" he recalled with a smile. "I saw a gap and I ran into it and I think Dimitri put it in for me with a good pass. A couple of inches the other side and it's in, so hopefully things will be better next time."

As to how he is settling into life in London - a far cry from his former home in South Lanarkshire - Hendrie admitted that living in the capital is taking some getting used to, but added that it's a transition he's enjoying. "London is good," he mused. "I'm just getting used to it at the moment. "Hamilton are a great club but this is a massive change for me. It's a different world coming down to England and the Premier League. You can just see the difference in training, the players I am now playing with. "And it's an excellent squad. Some of the players we have got are unbelievable. Coming from such a wee squad at Hamilton to be playing alongside players who have got such experience in the Premier League really is amazing. I am just happy to be here."

Hammers Eye Up Song Cover
Posted by whufc_news@hotmail.com on July 20, 2015 in News, Transfer Rumours

West Ham are lining up defensive midfield targets to cover for injured Barcelona star Alex Song. The Cameroon midfielder has agreed a deal to join the Hammers permanently, but it is currently being held up due to an injury the player has – which could rule him out for up to FOUR months. Song WILL join the East London in the next coming weeks, however due to his injury the club would like to sign a cheap midfielder to provide cover for him. Former Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra is likely to join the club, after his administrative issues were resolved with FIFA. The Frenchman had been training with the Hammers for months – and a deal had been agreed between the two parties before falling through. An alternative option would be former Leicester star Esteban Cambiasso – who reportedly held talks with the club last week.

Hammers Set To Sign Arsenal Defender
Posted by whufc_news@hotmail.com on July 20, 2015 in News, Transfer Rumours

West Ham have been linked with Arsenal defender George Dobson. The Hammers are trying to rebuild their academy, with plenty of triallists joining up with the development squad in recent weeks – including 17 year-old Dobson. He played a part in the 4-0 win at Chelmsford on Friday, and likes to operate in central defence or defensive midfield role. A current team-mate of his at Arsenal – Tyrell Robinson, confirmed that Dobson will be joining the East London club, in an Instagram post which read: "It's sad to ee one of my good mates leave the club @georgedobson4 hope you have a good time where ur going."

What Slaven told our man Moncs
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 20, 2015 in News, Whispers

Slaven Bilic has told ClaretandHugh blogger John Moncur he believes Dimitri Payet is set to take the Premier League by storm this season. Moncs met up with his old team mate over the weekend and told ClaretandHugh: "It was great to see him after so many years and Slav is absolutely thrilled to be back with us. "He couldn't be happier with things or the squad he is assembling but he is absolutely delighted that Payet is on board. "He told me that he reckons the lad is going to be a Premier League sensation and after Saturday at Southend not many will disagree. "He is also impressed with young Martin Samuelsen who has taken everybody by surprise – one thing is sure, this will be a very different West Ham to the one we've been watching in recent years."

Moncs believes that Andy Carroll's situation must be causing concern following the news that the club will hold him back until October at least . He said: "I have no doubt whatsoever that he and/or Sakho been available for the Europa Cup match we would have taken a two or three goal at least to Malta. "Slav knows he needs a cover striker and the club are working hard on it."

Hammers linked with Arsenal youngster
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 20, 2015 in News, Whispers

Terry Westley continues to look to rebuild the West Ham Academy with Arsenal youngster George Dobson training with the Hammers over the past few weeks ahead of a possible permanent move to the Irons. The 17-year-old, who has progressed through the ranks with Arsenal youth has been previously linked to a move to Newcastle but would prefer a stay in the capital. Dobson can play as a centre-back or a defensive-midfielder. Dobson broke into Arsenal's U18 team as a schoolboy and featured for the U21s last season during the first year of his scholarship. However, it is believed that he is finding it difficult to envisage himself making the grade at Arsenal with several players ahead of him in both of his preferred positions. Dobson remains under contract with Arsenal having signed his first professional deal last November, meaning that the club would receive a fee should a move to West Ham materialise.

Report: Everton reject Mirallas bid
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 20, 2015 in News, Whispers

Everton have rejected a bid in the region of £6million from West Ham for midfielder Kevin Mirallas according to Belgium media outlet HLN. The Hammers are in the market for a new winger to replace Stewart Downing and the Belgium international has been strongly linked with the Irons in recent days.

Spurs join Irons in Hernandez battle
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 20, 2015 in News, Whispers

Spurs are this morning being reported as having joined the Hammers in the race for Javier Hernandez. Despite Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal appearing to take the Mexican into the Reds fold for the season, nobody appears to be taking him very seriously. West Ham remain in pole position to sign the striker and are still not taking van Gaal's change of heart on board given he was ready to let Hernandez go to Real Madrid for £7 million at the end of last season's loan spell. The Dutchman apparently believes the 27-year-old can make his first team but is playing a dangerous financial game as with the player in the final year of his contract, every game out of the team or on the bench reduces his market value. And if, as expected, the club sign another striker, that is is likely to become a more familiar scenario. According to Sky Italia, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has expressed an interest in signing Hernandez as an occasional partner to Harry Kane. But West Ham, are continually monitoring the situation and may be ready to top the £9 million already offered given Andy Carroll's continuing injury woes.

Hammers check out West Brom youngster
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 20, 2015 in News, Whispers

Another player being given a chance by Academy Director Terry Westly is 18 year old West Brom youth striker Jack Hallahan. The Republic of Ireland youngster was handed a trial during the under 21's 4-0 trashing of Chelmsford on Friday evening. Although the youngster didn't manage to get on the score sheet himself he contribute an assist during the game. A short corner from Hallagan resulted in Nathan Mavila nipping inside before curling a beautiful shot inside the far post and beyond the outstretched arms of Timms to make it 1-0 at Half time.

West Ham United Starting XI: Sarkic, Knoyle, Westley, Cullen, Pask, Oxford, Mavila, Nasha, Gordon, Brown, Hallaghan.

ExWHUemployee Column: Hernandez & Mirallas moves expected, Tomkins' future, Academy signings, Captaincy & more
by @ExWHUemployee on July 19th, 2015

Well a lot has happened since my last column. I went to the game on Thursday and it is fair to say that we dominated it, as all the statistics point out. The first half we kept threatening but couldn't put the ball in the net. I think there were also a few dodgy calls by the referee in that first half which didn't help and that made the players a bit frustrated. Thankfully we got the important goal at the end and we should be able to put out a similar team in the away leg to see ourselves through.

It was hard to pick out any strong individual performances on Thursday as the game should have been more comfortable. I thought the centre-backs played well. The talk of James Tomkins being on his way out of the club and not being in Bilic's plans are not true. Bilic knows how important it is to have four quality centre-backs and he thinks that we have that. The fact that James was made captain in Europe recently, suggests he does have a future. Of course the papers have had to publish their regular Tomkins to Newcastle story, but as always there is no truth in these reports.

The Southend game saw the debuts of Ogbonna and Payet. Payet stole the show and his quality was clear for all to see. The fact that Southend's manager asked for him to be taken off is a brilliant sign and reminds me of the stories my dad has told me about Brooking and Devonshire being unplayable when they were at their peak.

It was a shame to see Stewart Downing leave. I felt he played really well for us before Christmas and could have done another season with us and performed well under Bilic. As I have spoken about in my other columns, the club wanted to keep him but he wanted to return to his boyhood club and make himself a legend at the club. He is also going to be on a very good wage should the club return to the premier league. I wish him well.

We have made a serious enquiry about Javier Hernandez of Manchester United and he would be our number one forward choice. The problem we have is that Manchester United only have him and Rooney on the books now as recognised first team forwards so United are reluctant to sell unless they can get a couple of players in. We will continue to pursue this though. We still have an interest in Austin, as I have repeated a lot and we will try to bring in a new forward within the next week. The news that Andy Carroll may not return from injury as soon as we had hoped will speed up the search. The forward search is the real priority and we have a number of targets on the list, most of which I have covered in previous columns.

As I have covered in other articles too, we have an interest in Kevin Mirallas of Everton and there are reports of an offer going in this weekend. I should be able to confirm this tomorrow but I know that we have been long term admirers of the player and he would provide options for us up-front and on the wing, which we are desperately in need of.

Lanzini should complete his move this week, it will be a season long loan with a view to a permanent move at the end of it. The deal has been agreed, as I have reported for weeks and he just needs to pass a medical. He has an Italian passport so there will be no work permit issues.

Alex Song has also agreed to a move, something that I have reported (many times) but due to his long term injury the deal cannot be completed yet. Lassanna Diarra has now sorted out his contract issues with his Russian club and is free to move to us. This is likely to happen as he has spent a lot of time training with us and the club had wanted to sign him. We have also been linked with Leicester's Player of the Year Cambiasso as an alternative to Song when he is injured. I would imagine that Diarra is the more likely option being younger and already having trained with us, although there is the possibility that both could be signed as they are not necessarily like for like players.

Some more of Slaven's backroom team should be sorted this week and there is still a chance that John Hartson could be involved in this as the attacking coach.

Some fans have asked why we haven't seen Obiang or Valencia yet. Obiang did feature against Peterborough but is currently carrying an injury. He should be back in training soon and ready to play some more part in pre-season. Valencia returned to training this week having been away at the Copa America recently, and should figure in pre-season games soon.

Whilst Kevin Nolan captained the team in midweek, Slaven is thinking about changing the captain to someone who will figure more regularly. The front runners are expected to be Winston Reid and Mark Noble. Alex Song was also a consideration but his injury is again likely to put pay to that.

The appointment of Marc Nurse as ladies manager is a very good one. He is highly rated at academy level. The ladies team also launched their season tickets this week and they represent excellent value for money.

The club will be releasing a third kit and that is due to come out in the next couple of weeks. This is again based on a traditional kit from the past.

The academy have been looking to recruit new players as well. We had the following players on trial: George Dobson, who is a centre back or defensive midfielder who has progressed through the Arsenal academy and has been with us a few weeks. Two trialists alongside George, played for the Under 21s at Chelmsford City on Friday ?night. They were Matija Sarkic who is a goalkeeper from Montenegro and is currently at Anderlect and Jack Hallahan who is an Irish forward who has been in the West Brom academy. Marko Livaja, I was first alerted to by a Croatian Sports Writer on twitter, he has been on trial with us from the Russian side Rubin Kazan. He is a Croatian under 21 international who joined Rubin for £5m from Italian side Atlanta. Slaven Bilic knows him well from his Croatia days and is expected to try to secure a loan move with a view to a permanent transfer at the end of the loan. Terry Westley has a number of other players potentially trialling at the club and the scouts have been seen attending many European under 21 matches and domestic lower league games. The board have spelt out that they want many more players to start coming through the academy again. Martin Samuelsen has recently arrived from Manchester City and the Norwegian youngster played on Thursday and has already made a good impression so far.

I expect another busy week at the club with matches and players arriving, it's a great time to be a West Ham fan!

Report: Bilic wants to reunite with Besiktas midfielder
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 20, 2015 in News, Whispers

According to reports in Turkey, Hammers boss Slaven Bilic wants to be reunited his Besiktas and Austria midfielder Veli Kavlak Turkish sports news site Sporx.com claims the 26 year defensive box-to-box midfielder would be interested in a move to the Premier League to join up with his former manager. Kavlak has a contract until 2019 at Besiktas and they would not let him leave without a fight. The midfielder has previously been linked with Leicester City, Southampton and Everton.

Kevin Mirallas odds on to join Hammers
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 20, 2015 in News, Whispers

Kevin Mirallas is odds on favourite to join West Ham. Book makers Skybet have the Hammers as 5/6 favourites with Spurs at 7/2 Monaco at 12/1 and Atletico Madrid at 20/1. He is 15/8 to remain at Everton.

Reports claim West Ham had a bid of £6m rejected by the Toffees at the weekend but further reports says the Hammers will make a second bid closer to Everton's £8m valuation this week to attempt to bring the midfielder to the Boleyn Ground.

Song arrives in Barcelona on crutches
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 20, 2015 in News, Whispers

Photos posted online by Alex Song on Instragram and Snapchat show the midfielder arriving back in Barcelona by private plane on crutches.

Reports suggest Alex Song's may face surgery and up to three months on the sidelines. The player's proposed move from Barcelona to the Boleyn ground could be in jeopardy depending on the severity of the injury.

Having experienced a torrid time with striker, Andy Carroll, the club is unlikely to gamble again in signing another crocked star – unless the injury proves to be minor. Song, 27, is understood to have already agreed personal terms with West Ham, but has been waiting for Barca and Hammers officials to iron out the finer details of his deal. Song has another year on his contract with Barcelona.

Reports claim Song has discovered he has a piece of floating bone, which may require surgery and rule him out of the start of the Premier League season.

MK Dons to loan former Hammer
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 20, 2015 in News, Whispers

MK Dons are close to re-signing former Hammer Rob Hall on loan until the end of the season. If the deal goes through it will be Hall's third season at Milton Keynes after helping them to promotion last campaign.

The 21-year-old will have the majority of his wages paid by the Dons which are believed to be in the region of around £6,000 a week. Hall scored three times in seven appearances as the Dons won promotion to the Championship for the first time in their history.

The manager had hoped to bring the Bolton winger in on a permanent deal this time, but it appears the agreement will now only be temporary. Hall left the West Ham Academy in 2013 and the Professional Football Compensation Committee set a compensation package with Bolton Wanderers for the transfer of Rob Hall. The independent tribunal has ruled that Bolton Wanderers must pay West Ham an initial sum of £450,000 with the following further additions:

• £250,000 if Bolton are promoted to the Premier League in the next three seasons
• £2,500 per appearance for the first 100 appearances (for Bolton) in the Championship
• or £10,000 per appearance for the first 100 appearances (for Bolton) if in the Premier League
• 20% of any profit made by Bolton Wanderers in selling the player to another club at any point in the future.

Promo code to watch Hammers in Malta
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 20, 2015 in News, Whispers

Premier Sports TV channel has purchased the TV broadcast rights for the Birkirkara v West Ham 2nd leg second round Europa League qualifier this Thursday. Kick off is at 7.45pm.

West Ham narrowly lead 1-0 through a 90th James Tomkins tap in.

Using promo code WESTHAMFC gets you the Sky channel for 2 months with no connection fee for £9.99. Alternatively Stream online via the Premier Player it is £9.99 per month with no contract. Just cancel at any time.

Premier Sports can be found on SKY channel 428 & Virgin channel 551 as well as online at http://www.premiersports.tv/football/european-qualifiers-2015/

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TalkTalk customers please call 0800 049 7833

West Ham transfers: Striker hunt gathers pace as Andy Carroll faces being out until October
22:30, 19 JULY 2015
Irons have seen moves for Javier Hernandez and Loic Remy rejected and won't pay £15m for Charlie Austin so are searching Europe for alternatives
The Mirror

West Ham are scouring the European market for a new striker, with Andy Carroll expected to be missing until October as his injury jinx continues. The Hammers have already had a move for Manchester United's Javier Hernandez turned down, because the Red Devils are reluctant to allow the Mexico international to join another English club. West Ham are also unwilling to pay the £15million that QPR have demanded for Charlie Austin, while Italian club Fiorentina are rivalling their interest in Roma's Mattia Destro and Chelsea have insisted Loic Remy is not for sale. Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor is also out of contention — Aston Villa are the only club with whom the north Londoners are negotiating. Carroll has not played since February because of a knee injury that needed surgery. He also missed the first three months of the last campaign following surgery on an ankle injury suffered in pre-season, and sat out the first half of 2013-14 following a £15m move from Liverpool the previous summer. It had been claimed that a fresh setback ahead of the Hammers' Europa League first qualifying round tie against FC Lusitans was only minor, but Carroll will definitely miss the start of the season.

While joint-chairman David Gold claimed this week that he is hopeful of seeing the £15.5million front-man in September, the 26-year-old Geordie is not expected back until October as the club are unwilling to take any chances with him. West Ham, who had always intended to bring in another striker this summer, have now stepped up their hunt. They still have Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate, but the plan has always been to bring in another front-man because of concerns around Carroll's condition. Meanwhile, attacking midfielder Manuel Lanzini is expected to finally join this week from UAE outfit Al Jazira Club this week. The 22-year-old will move on loan initially, with a view to a permanent deal.

West Ham set to make second bid for Everton forward Kevin Mirallas
13:59, 20 JULY 2015
The Hammers are confident of landing the 27-year-old - a long-time target - and see him as the perfect replacement for 30-year-old Stewart Downing
The Mirror

West Ham will return for Kevin Mirallas this week after their £6million bid was rejected over the weekend. The Hammers are confident of landing the 27-year-old - a long-time target - and see him as the perfect replacement for 30-year-old Stewart Downing. Everton are understood to have admitted defeat in their fight to keep Mirallas and will want around £8million for him. The Belgian has just a year left on his contract but, despite attempts by the Toffees to tie him to a new deal, he has refused to commit his future to the Goodison Park side. West Ham are exciting at the prospect of the goalscoring winger adding more potency to their attack and providing options for boss Slaven Bilic.

Crystal Palace and West Ham "offered chance to sign" AC Milan hero Alexandre Pato
ALEXANDRE PATO could be set for a stunning move to the Premier League, according to reports.
PUBLISHED: 12:54, Mon, Jul 20, 2015 | UPDATED: 13:03, Mon, Jul 20, 2015

The Brazil striker - still just 25 - is currently plying his trade in his homeland at Sao Paulo. And according to Mail Online Pato has been offered to "mid-level" Premier League clubs around London - with West Ham and Crystal Palace thought to be in the driving seat. Pato signed for AC Milan in 2007, aged 17. He scored 51 leagues goals in 117 Serie A games, but struggled with injuries. He has 27 Brazil caps but the last came in 2013 when he scored in a friendly against Australia. West Ham and Palace are both eyeing up strikers, with Slaven Bilic resigned to being without Andy Carroll for the start of the season. Palace have been monitoring Loic Remy's situation at Chelsea following the arrival of Radamel Falcao at Stamford Bridge.
However both clubs would be taking something of a gamble on a player who left European football for Corinthians in 2013 after failing to recover from his injury demons.

West Ham prepare second bid for Everton star Kevin Mirallas
London club see initial £6m bid rejected but believe player wants to move to Upton Park
By Matt Law

West Ham are ready to make a second bid for Everton's Kevin Mirallas after having an opening £6million offer turned down. The London club have targeted Mirallas to replace Stewart Downing, who joined Middlesbrough for £7m last week, and believe the Belgian is keen on the prospect of moving to Upton Park. Everton are understood to want around £8m for Mirallas, who only has one year remaining on his Goodison Park contract. Tottenham had previously enquired about Mirallas, but interest from the White Hart Lane club has since cooled and West Ham are at the front of the queue for the 27-year-old. Mirallas has a stormy relationship with Everton manager Roberto Martinez, and he sparked controversy in January when he disobeyed a team order over who should take a penalty in a game against West Brom. Mirallas took the ball off regular penalty taker Leighton Baines, but despite team-mate Steven Naismith remonstrating with Mirallas to let Baines have the penalty, the Belgian took it himself. After hitting the outside of the post with his effort, Mirallas was substituted at half-time by Martinez. Selling the winger would free up cash for Everton to try to complete a permanent deal for Aaron Lennon. Lennon spent four months of last season on loan at Everton, but Tottenham's £9m asking price has so far prevented a permanent transfer.

José Mourinho rules out Loïc Rémy joining Crystal Palace or West Ham
The Guardian
Steve Brenner in New York
Monday 20 July 2015 12.00 BST Last modified on Monday 20 July 2015 12.03 BST

Loïc Rémy has been told by José Mourinho he will remain at Chelsea and become an integral part of his strike force rather than leave the Premier League champions in search of guaranteed first-team football. The French striker, 28, feared his time at Stamford Bridge had come to an end following the loan arrival of the Colombian international Radamel Falcao , the former Atlético Madrid and Porto forward who has joined Mourinho's side on loan from Monaco following a frustrating season at Manchester United. With Diego Costa Chelsea's main striker, Remy understandably questioned his future and with the likes of West Ham and Crystal Palace interested in securing his signature, it looked certain he would leave for pastures new.
Yet Mourinho was quick to highlight some invaluable contributions from the Frenchman last season, which helped the Portuguese win the title and stressed that any side wanting to make a move will ultimately be left disappointed. Asked if Rémy was to leave, the Chelsea manager could not have been any clearer. "No chance. It is open competition between the three [strikers]. That's our objective, that's why we want three strikers ready and important. "Last season Rémy was basically the third forward, but he scored so many important goals for us in crucial moments that gave us crucial points – the goal against Hull City, the goal against Stoke." For Rémy himself, the backing of Mourinho despite the arrival of Falcao has been a timely boost to morale before the new campaign. He scored seven Premier League goals from six starts in the title-winning season, ensuring the Chelsea coach had a viable alternative to his first choice attacking options. "It's really good to come back for training as I had one month and a half off. Holiday is good but now it's time to work and to prepare the best way to start the new season," said the striker who signed for Chelsea from QPR last August for £10.5m. "We are all thinking about the future. We know that last season was amazing for us with two titles. Now the focus is on the new season and we know that this season is going to be more difficult than the last one because everybody would like to beat the champions. We're focused. "I was happy with what I did last season but I think all the players want more. So I want to play more than last season and score more goals than last season. I will see what will happen in the future. But for me the focus is the same, I want to be better than the previous season."

Why West Ham's ridiculous pre-season schedule could see them in real trouble
11:21 20 July 2015 Brad Pinard
London 24

The Europa League is a real thrill for a club such as West Ham but it could well turn out to be a disaster for the club. Slaven Bilic has arrived and a new vibe around the club is extremely positive, with ambitious new signings, young players getting a chance and the crowd back on side after a difficult spell under Sam Allardyce. Before Bilic took charge, the Hammers board had to set up their pre-season schedule for numerous possibilities. While thinking they were in, David's Gold and Sullivan didn't officially know they would be in Europa League action and what dates it would be on. So six pre-season games were arranged, a decent number, and similar to most clubs in the Premier League. However, the second West Ham found out they were in the Europa League, a number of these games should have been either binned or moved. Keeping a League One or Two club happy is fair enough, but West Ham's ambition and success is the most important thing for the club. The facts are that West Ham will likely play 12 games in five weeks before the season starts. That is ridiculous. Pretty much Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday every week. Yes, the Hammers squad is fairly deep with youngsters filling in, but the Hammers under-21 side have their own pre-season fixture list and Bilic picking his strongest XI will be virtually impossible with all the chopping and changing of squads. West Ham will want to build partnerships all over the pitch but that is hard to do when the club have to field a strong enough XI four times a week, all away from home. Playing away at Colchester late on a Tuesday night, then flying to Malta first thing Wednesday morning, before playing a game and then flying home on the Friday morning, only to head to Charlton for a tough game on Saturday afternoon just doesn't make sense. Where do you fit training in to all of this? Set-piece work? Shape work? All vital to Premier League football and something Allardyce worked extremely hard on. Bilic has already publicly aired his worries about the Europa League and over-working in pre-season and the club are trying to please everyone, but it could all end in tears. West Ham have to be a Premier League side this time next year, they have to, and there is no doubt they have a better squad than at least eight or nine other Premier League sides, but that doesn't always count for everything. Everton are a good example from last year as they struggled with coping with regular midweek games and then excelled once knocked out. Plus the Toffees didn't have to play eight Europa games before the season even started. Arranging so many pre-season friendly games when West Ham had a good chance of playing in the Europa League was a mistake and while Colchester, Southend, Charlton and Peterborough may excited by those games, it is simply a worrying chore for West Ham this summer. It is good to see young academy players getting a chance, but they won't be in Bilic's strongest squad and so he needs to find his best team which could well prove impossible with no time on the training ground and constant changing starting line-ups.

West Ham should make a transfer move for QPR striker Charlie Austin and not Chelsea's Loic Remy
Julian Shea for Metro.co.uk
Monday 20 Jul 2015 7:50 am

West Ham fans have their own seasonal favourite to add to that list: guess when Andy Carroll might be fit.

If the bush telegraph rumours are to be believed, it looks like the season will be up and running long before the same can be said of the man for whom West Ham paid £15m two years ago – for a return of (so far) seven goals and barely one-third of games played.

With such a record, for all the promise he may once have had, it is inescapable that Carroll is not a player who can be relied upon for a season's plans to be built around his presence. That makes Diafra Sakho all the more vital for West Ham.

In contrast to Carroll's high-profile entrance, last summer Sakho was a loose change signing from the French second division, derided by some as a bargain bin purchase ('Marco Boogers circa 2014' and 'another chancer who played in a poor league' are among the replies still visible on David Gold's Twitter feed) – but he has proved an inspired purchase.

After an injury-curtailed but exciting debut campaign, Sakho's form in pre-season and the Europa League suggest this term's 20-goal target is realistic. His European haul would probably be higher had he not been sent off against Lusitans, but that ban may prove a blessing in disguise, highlighting his importance – and the desperate need for alternative options, avoiding a repeat of the 'pin all the hopes and have no plan B' approach built around Carroll.

With Enner Valencia blowing hot and cold, and Elliot Lee promising but inexperienced, the question is – who to bring in? Two frequent nominees are QPR's Charlie Austin and Loic Remy of Chelsea – united by rumour, but otherwise, wildly contrasting characters.

Former non-league player Austin was the stand-out star of Rangers' dismal relegation season, with 18 goals in 35 starts. By contrast, Remy ended the season a Premier League winner with almost as many sub appearances (13) as starts (19) and seven goals, playing second fiddle to Diego Costa, a position unlikely to improve following Radamel Falcao's arrival at Stamford Bridge.

Whilst Austin paid his dues at Swindon and Burnley, Remy's choosy treatment of both QPR and Newcastle when he arrived in England raises doubts over his motivation. Champions League is nice, but can he do it on a wet Thursday night in Skopje, as the Europa League may require?

Austin has earned everything that has come his way, and for a team trying to better themselves like West Ham, that mindset might fit better than Remy's taste for the more refined things in life. Remy has the reputation and the big fees to his name – but so did Carroll, and look how that turned out. Who got West Ham out of that hole? The less glitzy option, Sakho. It's worked before; maybe, with Austin, it could again.

West Ham have £6m bid for Everton's Kevin Mirallas rejected - report
Sun 24 May
Gareth McKnight

Belgian media source HLN claim that the Hammers have had an offer for the Toffees attacker turned away. West Ham have had a £6 million bid for Everton star Kevin Mirallas rejected, according to Belgian media source HLN. The Hammers are on something of a recruitment drive this summer and have already completed a number of ambitious new additions, including Dimitri Payet and Angelo Ogbonna. Slaven Bilic's men are clearly keen to further strengthen ahead of the 2015-16 campaign and look to have identified Mirallas as a player to bolster their ranks.
HLN state that the London club have bid €8.5 million (£6 million) for the Belgium international, but Roberto Martinez's men have turned the offer down. Mirallas has had an up-and-down time with the Merseyside club, with his future with the Toffees a point of contention on a regular basis. The fact that the bid has been rejected would insinuate that Martinez sees the versatile forward as a player he needs in the forthcoming campaign. Should West Ham come back with an improved offer and land the former Olympiakos attacker, their attacking options ahead of next season all of a sudden would be very comprehensive.

Report: West Ham no longer interested in Emmanuel Adebayor despite January pursuit
Olly Dawes

West Ham are reportedly no longer pursuing Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor. According to the Daily Mirror, West Ham United aren't pursuing Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor - despite needing a new striker. The Hammers have the likes of Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate in the ranks, but with Andy Carroll still injured, new manager Slaven Bilic is allegedly in the market for a new centre forward. The Mirror report that West Ham are extending their search to around Europe having struggled to land Roma's Mattia Destro and Chelsea's Loic Remy.
The report also states that West Ham have no interest in signing Tottenham outcast Adebayor - despite pursuing the forward in January. As reported by BBC Sport, West Ham attempted to sign the Togolese forward on deadline day earlier this year, only for Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to block the deal. Now, it seems that West Ham have moved on from Adebayor, despite needing a new striker - leaving the 31-year-old in the wilderness at Spurs.

What positions should West Ham still strengthen?

Another striker seems almost a given for West Ham unless Bilic chooses to put his faith in youngster Elliot Lee, but another forward isn't all West Ham should be targeting. Despite a number of new additions, West Ham may still look to bring in another central midfielder - possibly last season's loanee Alex Song. Additionally, Bilic may look to bring in a winger if he chooses to play the 4-2-3-1 system he used at former club Besiktas, with West Ham having few options out wide.

Tomkins suggests patience will be key in adapting to Bilic changes
Lewis Doe

West Ham United defender James Tomkins has claimed it will take time for the club to get use to the style and tactical changes of manager Slaven Bilic. West Ham United defender James Tomkins has told the club's official website that patience is the key as the squad adjust to Slaven Bilic's style of play. The centre back has suggested that the side are being taught a very particular brand of pass and move football under the Hammers boss, who has now had a good chance to work with his squad in training as well as competitive matches. It's important that the side get used to the demands of Bilic's methods quickly, with the return of the Premier League now under three weeks away. "The Gaffer's impressing on us how he wants to play – pass and move, and press and defend. It's the whole rotating system that we need to get used to and it takes a bit of time," he told whufc.com. Bilic drilling his players into adapting to his style quickly is important and it's the responsibility of more senior figures in the side like Tomkins to ensure that the team works through any difficult periods and blips. Bilic wants West Ham to control games through possession play, with attackers moving off the ball to give the creative players in the midfield more options. However, it is very important for the defence to deal with some demons which started to appear over the second half of the last campaign. West Ham lost a lot of points late into games, with results against Spurs and Manchester United good examples, so it's important for defensive players to be able to drop back into position quickly, preventing late goals from being conceding and negative results from accumulating.

West Ham excited to get started under Slaven Bilic, says Diego Poyet
Sean Lunt

The midfielder says the whole squad is aware of their new boss' past achievements with Besiktas and Croatia. Writing on Kicca, West Ham midfielder Diego Poyet says everyone is excited to get the season started under Slaven Bilic. The former Croatia and Besiktas boss was confirmed as the club's new manager last month, with Sam Allardyce coming to the end of his contract.
He has faced a difficult start to his reign though, with the Irons having to begin their season much earlier than everyone else and already having played three games in the Europa League's early qualifying stages. They also face a tough opening fixture against Arsenal, but Poyet says the squad is excited to get started in the Premier League under their new boss. Everyone knows how well Slaven Bilic did at Besiktas and also with Croatia. It's really exciting for all of us at the club," he wrote on Kicca. "There's a great presence about him and even though we were only with him for a couple days in Ireland, we all know what he's achieved and are all very excited to get started."

How will West Ham play under Slaven Bilic?

It's hard to determine what style of football West Ham will play under Bilic at this moment in time, with much of pre-season still to go. However, it is likely to be much different from what was on offer under Sam Allardyce, with many having complained over the years that his sides did not play the West Ham way. That is something their new boss seems to bring back, with signings such as Dimitri Payet and Pedro Obiang showing he is keen to bring more technical players into the squad and change their style. Whether they play the football the fans crave next season, remains to be seen.


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