Thursday, July 30

Daily WHUFC News - 30th July 2015

Dicks – 'Some of the football was fantastic'

Coaching assistant Julian Dicks could not help but be impressed by the impact of wholesale changes in the second half at Carrow Road, as Slaven Bilic shuffled almost the entire pack to see off Norwich City on Tuesday. The Hammers made no fewer than nine substitutions on the hour and it most certainly had the desired effect, with the visitors completely running the show thereafter. Though it ultimately took an 82nd minute own goal to break the deadlock, but for the outstanding John Ruddy, Bilic's men could well have helped themselves to a hatful in the closing minutes. "The lads played well, considering it was a friendly, it was pretty competitive," Dicks told West Ham TV. "Obviously the turning point was when Slaven put the subs on. Some of the football was fantastic. "The players that have gone on are very good players and they'd change most games. They were sat there watching the game and when they came on they just changed it. The passing and the movement was fantastic, it was great to watch."

Not for the first time this pre-season, it was another largely frustrating evening in front of goal, with Ruddy proving equal to almost everything the Hammers had to throw at him. But with no shortage of opportunities, Dicks sees no reason to worry. He continued: "We have to finish them, we have to score goals. It's about creating chances, when you don't create chances, that's when you have a problem. So as long as we keep creating them, hopefully we'll start putting them away. Another clean sheet, however, is no small consolation and Dicks reckons a second successive shutout bodes well for the fast-approaching Barclays Premier League campaign. "I'd like to take credit for it," he joked. "Football's about keeping clean sheets. If you keep them then you've got a chance of winning as we proved in the second half. If you can do that in the Premier League games then you've always got a chance!"

Jenks - It's good to be back

Carl Jenkinson was delighted to be back in a claret and blue shirt on Tuesday as West Ham United continued their preparation for the new Barclays Premier League season with a 1-0 victory over one of their league rivals, Norwich City. The Carrow Road clash was Jenkinson's first run-out since rejoining the Hammers on loan from Arsenal and he is looking forward to continuing from where he left off last term. Since his last game for the Hammers, at Newcastle in May, a new manager and eight new players have all come in so the 23-year-old says these are exciting times. "It was great to be back on the pitch on Tuesday - I loved every minute of it," he beamed. "I was looking forward to it all day to be fair, I just wanted to get back playing football as I've missed it. "Even after just a couple of weeks off you start to miss it and it's nice to be back in front of our away following, which is always great. I really enjoyed it.
"There have been a lot of changes, but the change is for the positive. You look at the players who have been brought in and they are fantastic players. "There's a lot of reason to be optimistic for the season because I think we're shaping up really well."

Tuesday's victory came courtesy of an 82nd minute Harry Toffolo own goal, which arrived on the back of a strong spell of positive West Ham play. The one-touch passing and movement posed several problems for the hosts and Jenkinson says that was a positive sign. "We did well on Tuesday," he continued. "We were solid at the back throughout the game and in the second half we really pushed on. "We really took a stranglehold on the game in the last 20 to 30 minutes and we got the goal we deserved. "Attacking-wise we're looking exceptional. Dimi [Payet], who's come in, looks very good and I think he's going to link up play between the forward and the midfielders well this year. The other boys look sharp too. "It's nice - we'll be playing Norwich again in a few weeks time so it's nice to get one up on them before we play them."

Bilic still 'in contact' with Alex Song
Filed: Wednesday, 29th July 2015
By: Staff Writer

Slaven Bilic has confirmed that West Ham remain interested in re-signing Alex Song from Barcelona. The 27-year-old midfielder spent last season on loan at the Boleyn Ground and has also indicated his wish to remain in London, where his young family are settled. However the two parties have been unable to agree personal terms thus far, with West Ham having only offered Song a short-term contract whilst the former Cameroon international seeks a longer term arrangement. When asked about the possibility of Song returning to east London, Bilic replied: "We are in contact, but it's not for the media yet."

With little more than a month to go until the end of the current transfer window, Bilic also revealed that he remains hopeful of introducing one or two new faces - should the opportunity arise. "I'm happy with my squad, the transfer window is still very open and there's a possibility some players will come and some will go," he added. "We're not panicking. If we can find a player - or a couple of them, maximum - who are going to make us better, then we definitely want to do it. But there's a few things that have to match. "First we have to like the player, then the player needs to be free. If it's for a reasonable fee and is a good investment for the club, then why not?"

By Reece Bateman 29 Jul 2015 at 14:45

Following last night's win at Norwich the press is buzzing with new West Ham targets today. talkSPORT? suggest that we will look to sign defender Douglas from Dynamo Moscow. A Brazilian by birth, he allegedly turned us down in 2013 to move to Russia but he has never left our radar. I'm not so sure this one has any substance. I think nearly all of us would agree that we seem to be covered at Centre Half, if not overrun in this area, unless one of Tomkins/Reid/Collins is set to leave. There would be riots if we signed another defender instead of trying for a striker.

Talking of strikers and The Wharf? claim we are interested in Senegal striker Moussa Sow, currently of Fenerbache. The striker would be known to Bilic from his time in Turkey and would certainly be welcomed by Sakho & Kouyate whom he has played with for Senegal. He has a great scoring record wherever he has been and for the mooted fee of £12million its a risk worth taking in my eyes. At 29 years old he isn't getting any younger but he would still add something to our front line that we have lacked for a long time, a genuine goalscorer.

Apparently Lassana Diarra is set to reject West Ham in favour of a move to Marseille. The midfielder has been training with West Ham for about the last year in order to keep fit and whilst he has been sorting out his release from his previous club. The Brentwood Gazette suggest they are prepared to offer him a 4 year deal whilst it has been reported West Ham would offer only a 1 year deal with the option of a second season. Seems a bit cheeky that Diarra has opted to do this considering our hospitality, if true, but I don't see that it will disrupt our plans all that much as I think he would have only been a back up option to the likes of Kouyate and Noble.

The same source claim we have missed out on German wonderkid Thilo Kehrer to Inter Milan. Another player that I know very little about so perhaps some of our German readers will be able to enlighten us? He is a teenage centre back tipped for big things but unfortunately not with West Ham it would appear.

And finally, as Alex Song is out recovering from his operation West Ham are said to have turned their attention to Caen's midfielder N'Golo Kante. The 24 year old plays the holding role in midfield and would be almost a like for like replacement positional wise but it remains to be seen whether he has the star quality of Alex Song (think pre-christmas!!) With the fact we are being linked to a few holding midfielders perhaps Bilic isn't comfortable with having just Kouyate and Noble for this role, although with the recent performances of Oxford and Poyet he may feel they have the ability to step up this season.

Payet's contract is "100 per cent watertight"
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 29, 2015 in News, Whispers

Dimitri Payet has been locked into a 100 per cent watertight contract without a single escape clause. West Ham's negotiators led, by David Sullivan, refused to give way on any sort of escape clause when pushed to the limits in seriously tough negotiations. Having spent weeks agreeing a fee of around £10.8 million with Marseilles, negotiations on the player's deal were equally fierce . And the Irons made it clear throughout that there could be no 'get out' clauses if they were to offer the brilliant French midfielder the cash terms he wanted.

A high level source told ClaretandHugh exclusively: "There was no budging on get outs. There was no question of any escape clauses.
The negotiations were incredibly hard and eventually a five year deal was hammered out with a year's option in the club's favour. "We think he is the real deal and is a player around whom things will revolve. We couldn't therefore even consider giving way on a single escape clause. His deal is 100 per cent watertight."

Redknapp predicts a top ten finish
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 29, 2015 in News, Whispers

Former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp has suggested Slaven Bilic can finish tenth this season if he can keep his strikers fit. "I think he'll do well. They've got a good squad there and a decent group of players. Sam made some good signings last year and I think they look a good team," Redknapp told Talksport Radio "If the two front men stay fit this year, they'll have some pace up front and I think they'll be okay, I think they'll be mid-table, I think they'll be around tenth again."

Kante deal agreed in principle
Posted by Hammers Newshound on July 29, 2015 in News, Whispers

French media make fresh claims today that West Ham have an agreement in principle with SM Caen midfielder Ngolo Kanté's representatives about a possible deal. The player's agents, Mondial Promotion are working with Excelfoot's Mark McKay, the son of the Willie McKay. The player was proposed to West Ham by Mark McKay. The Hammers will need to offer a good €10m in order to sign the player but reports say there is an "agreement in principle", at least orally, with Kanté's representatives to do just that. The Hammers might want a loan option first but Kante may well be a back up option if a deal cannot be reached with Alex Song as reported yesterday.

Besiktas midfielder linked again
Posted by Hammers Newshound on July 29, 2015 in News, Whispers

The agent of reported Hammer midfield target, Veli Kavlak has been discussing the future of his client, He is quoted by Austrian press that he has inquiries from both England and German.
"There are requests from top clubs from England and Germany. Our goal is that he is at the European Championships [with Austria]." Bilic and Kavlak worked together at Turkish Super Lig side Besiktas. Reports in Turkey 9 days ago claimed that Hammers boss Slaven Bilic wants to be reunited his former player. Turkish sports news site 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. Kavlak started his career at Austrian side Rapid Vienna and is an Austrian international. He has 30 caps for his country and has scored one goal, against Turkey.

Bilic on transfers: 'We are not panicking'
Posted by Hammers Newshound on July 29, 2015 in News, Whispers

Hammer manager Slaven Bilic has confirmed West Ham have not given up on completing a permanent deal for Barcelona midfielder Alex Song but said to expect a maximum of two additional players.
Speaking about Alex Song Bilic said "We are in contact but it's not for the media yet" "We are not panicking, we are good: if we can find a player, or maximum two, who are going to make us better then we definitely want to do it, we have to like the player, and the player has to be free, or payable and a good investment for the club. I'm happy with my squad, the transfer window is still very open and there's a possibility some players will come and some will go." Bilic added.

West Ham 'agree' deal for €10m Song alternative
By James Jones - Jul 29, 2015 1

West Ham appear to have ramped up their efforts to sign Caen midfielder N'golo Kante by agreeing a deal in principle with the player's representatives, according to Get French Football.
The defensive midfielder, once labelled 'the new Makelele' had initially looked set for a move to Marseille this summer, but a deal eventually broke down. It is believed Slaven Bilic has turned his attention to Kante after a potential deal for Barcelona's Alex Song hit complications, with the player reportedly unhappy with the length of the one year deal the Hammers have offered him. Kante, 24, is thought to be available for around €10m (£5m), and the club have supposedly agreed a deal in principle with the player's representatives ahead of making an offer to Caen. London 24 claim Leicester, Southampton, Arsenal and Newcastle have all registered their interest in the player this summer, but West Ham appear to be the first to make a solid move. Kante score two and provided five assists in 36 starts in Ligue last season.

By Iain Dale 28 Jul 2015 at 23:51
West Ham Till I Die

Whenever I go to see a pre-season friendly I always vow never again. There wasn't a lot in this match to make me change my mind to be honest, although that's not to say I didn't have a good evening. Let me tell you about it.

I love Norfolk. I spent a lot of my childhood here on day trips to Hunstanton or Wells. I then spent four of the happiest years of my life at the University of East Anglia. I stood in the 2005 general election in North Norfolk (and got walloped, since you ask). And two years we bought a house in an idyllic little village north of Norwich. So when I heard West Ham were playing at Carrow Road to mark the 80th anniversary of the first game ever played there in 1935 I just had to book a couple of days off my radio show.

My friend Tim from university, who's a Gillingham fan, decided he'd come too. The last time we went to a match at Carrow Road together was more than thirty years ago, He's a solicitor in Wroxham so I drove over to his office and we got the train into Norwich as the football ground is only a ten minute walk from the station. There were no ticket machines on the station so we had to pay the conductor on the two coach train. A bit different to the London commute.

We picked our tickets up and found our seats in the Barclay Stand. The ground has certainly changed a lot since I was last there. It's a lovely, well presented stadium with a capacity of around 26,000. Unfortunately there's little scope for expansion. Ninety per cent of the seats are reserved for season ticket holders, or so I'm told so there's not much opportunity for the casual visitor. Today around 20,000 were there, including at least 2,000 Hammers fans, who made themselves heard throughout the game.

In terms of a spectacle it certainly wasn't much to write home about. Both sides fell down in the final third and initially there were very few shots on goal. West Ham dominated the opening changes, and it wasn't until the seventh minute until Norwich managed to venture into the West Ham half. In the first half I was particularly impressed by Doneil Henry and Diego Poyet. Henry is a big lump of a central defender, and throughout his time on the pitch he was at the centre of the action. He showed a nice first touch but could also be a bit of a brute. He stopped numerous Norwich attacks and very rarely lost possession. Poyet was also at the centre of everything. He was tough in his tackling and just like in the first FC Lusitans game, was great at spraying the ball around the pitch. I really see a big future for this young man at Upton Park.

Modibo Maiga and Cheikhou Kouyate both appear to have piled on the pounds a bit over the summer. Kouyate has certainly thickened out from his beanpole like stature. Maiga actually showed some nice touches. Matt Jarvis, too, made some good runs down the left but his crosses came to nowt. He also spurned a brilliant chance in the second half when he was through on goal. "He used to do that at Gillingham," said Tim helpfully.

After 60 minutes West Ham made no fewer than seven substitutions. I was a little mystified by this because you'd have thought the likes of Nolan, Valencia and Payet in particular would be saved for Thursday's Europa League game. Bilic clearly decided they needed the minutes on the pitch. Valencia, wearing the number 11 showed some nice touches and had a lot of possession, Zarate too, looked sharp and could have easily notched a goal.

The substitutions really made a difference to the game. The pace increased, the passing was better and Dimitri Payet grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. He looks the real deal. He's quite chunky and has some real strength. He shows some lovely skill and his cross which gave Reece Oxford the chance to glance the ball past John Ruddy was sublime. You can see why he got more assists than Lionel Messi last season. Every poisitve move West Ham made came through him, and he seemed to pop up everywhere.

It wasn't by any stretch of the imagination a great game, but it was a good run-out and Slaven Bilic will have learnt quite a bit. I left Carrow Road looking forward to the new season even more than I already was.

UPDATE: Hugh Southon of Claret & Hugh has an altogether more positive take on the game HERE? I'll have some of whatever he's been drinking!

West Ham keep tabs on Caen midfielder N'Golo Kante as Alex Song deal stutters
PUBLISHED: 23:44, 28 July 2015 | UPDATED: 00:23, 29 July 2015

West Ham have enquired about Caen midfielder N'Golo Kante. Kante joined Caen from Boulogne in 2013 and has made more than 80 appearances for the French club since. Paris-born midfielder Kante is valued at around £5million and has been likened to former Chelsea midfielder Claude Makelele. West Ham have enquired about Caen midfielder N'Golo Kante (right) who joined the club from Boulogne in 2013 The move comes as their deal for Alex Song stalls over his length of contract. Song has floating bone in his ankle which means he is out for three months and West Ham want to offer him a one year deal until he proves his fitness. The former Cameroon international made 28 appearances for the east London outfit last season, but ended the campaign disappointingly.

West Ham transfer news: Bilic confirms Hammers are still in the hunt for Alex Song
Evening Standard
Published: 29 July 2015 Updated: 15:13, 29 July 2015

Slaven Bilic insists West Ham have not given up on completing a permanent deal for Barcelona midfielder Alex Song. Former Arsenal star Song will miss three months with ankle trouble, leaving the ex-Cameroon midfielder haggling with the Hammers over the length of a permanent contract. Song spent last season on loan at Upton Park, and Barcelona are ready to let him return on a free transfer - but new West Ham boss Bilic admitted talks are ongoing with the 27-year-ol d. "We are in contact but it's not for the media yet," he said. West Ham will face Romanian outfit Astra Giurgiu at Upton Park on Thursday as their marathon pre-season continues apace. Hammers manager Bilic again admitted frustration with the packed schedule brought about by an unexpected Europa League qualification bid. "We are not panicking, we are good: if we can find a player, or maximum two, who are going to make us better then we definitely want to do it," he said. "We have to like the player, and the player has to be free, or payable and a good investment for the club. "I'm happy with my squad, the transfer window is still very open and there's a possibility some players will come and some will go."

West Ham face their 10th game of the pre-season already on Thursday - with two more to follow after that before they start their Premier League campaign with a testing trip to Arsenal on August 9. Former Hammers defender Bilic vowed he will not allow his side's lengthy run-up to the league season to account for any fatigue. "It's not ideal, but there's no point moaning or saying it again, we just have to cope with the situation and that's it - no excuses," he said. "I would have had to learn quickly here anyway, because I'm new here. "I've done my homework but these European nights we've had so far, they are not ideal, but at the same time they give you the best pictures from your players. "The negative side of that was that we had so many games because the club had to arrange friendly matches because we didn't know we'd compete in European qualification."

Bilic hopes West Ham can take control of their two-leg battle with Astra Giurgiu on Thursday - to allow him to mix up selection for the return clash in Romania a week later.
"They are a club that's investing money, has a lot of good players," he said. "Last year they knocked out Lyon so it's going to be a good test for us. "I'm hoping for that (a commanding victory) and it would be nice, and we're going to try for that, but to be fair we're not expecting an easy ride."

Bilic hopeful of securing Song deal

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic is hopeful the club can reach a deal for Alex Song. The defender spent last season on loan at Upton Park, making 31 appearances in all competitions, but he returned to Barcelona at the start of the summer. He is facing a spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury, but the Hammers are in talks with Barcelona over a possible deal for the 27-year-old. "We are in contact but it's not for the media yet," Bilic told reporters. "We are not trying to get many [players]. But if we can find a player or a couple who will make us better then we definitely want to do it. "We have to like the player. The player has to be available, but if they are available for a reasonable amount of money and are good investment then why not. "I am happy with my squad, but the transfer window is very open and it is possible players will come and go."

West Ham co-owner David Gold lauds Slaven Bilic for 'sensible' approach to chaotic pre-season
Damien Lucas

West Ham United co-owner David Gold has been singing the praises of new boss Slaven Bilic for the way he has been handling the club's hectic schedule. West Ham were the first Premier League side to be back in competitive action this season way back on July 2nd after making it into the qualifying stages for the Europa League through the FIFA Fair Play rankings. The early return to action meant the shortest summer break for any Premier League side in history and has made for a somewhat chaotic pre-season schedule with friendlies and competitive European matches coming thick and fast. The early qualifying rounds of the competition were always going to throw up some unknown opponents and interesting trips across the continent which have added to the exertions.

Strain starting to show?

It looked like the strain was beginning to show as Bilic's side toiled in the heat against Maltese minnows Birkirkara in the last round. They lost the second leg match 1-0 to draw 1-1 on aggregate and after the added burden of 30 minutes extra time had to hold their nerve in a penalty shootout to progress. But Hammers co-owner Gold has told the club's official website that Bilic has taken it all in his stride and has hailed his 'sensible' approach to the club's predicament. "The games are certainly coming thick and fast for the lub and I have never experienced such congestion when it comes to pre-season action," Gold told "But I have to say that Slaven Bilic is dealing with the amount of games in a very sensible manner and is providing the right balance when it comes to playing the senior and young players."

Will fitness levels help shoot down Gunners?

Gold said he had been particularly impressed with the way Bilic was mixing and matching his squad for each game and making sure players are getting the right amount of game time under their belts before the Premier League season gets under way in just over a week. They don't come much harder either. The Hammers will travel to London rivals and last season's Premier League runners-up Arsenal on August 9th, just three days after a long trip to Romania for the second leg of their third qualifying round match against FC Astra. But one consolation for Bilic is that his players will be sharp and fit with six competitive games already under their belt so may have a slight edge on Arsene Wenger's side in that respect.

This Fenerbahce forward could join Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho at the Boleyn
29 July 2015

West Ham incurred the wrath of the Senegalese FA when withholding 'injured' striker Diafra Sakho from January's Africa Cup of Nations, but the incident hasn't put the Irons off targeting a third Lions of Teranga star. The Express believes Fenerbahce's Moussa Sow is the centre-forward new Boleyn Ground boss Slaven Bilic wants heading into the new campaign, with a £12m bid in the offing for the 29-year-old. Sow has a fine Super Lig strike rate with last season's Turkish title runners-up, having bagged 51 goals in 106 matches since signing on at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium four years ago, and started for Fener on their return to Europe after a two-term match-fixing ban against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. However, the arrival of former Manchester United and Arsenal hotshot Robin van Persie will put huge pressure on Sow's place in the side, so a move could well be on the cards. During his 18 months with French outfit Lille between 2010-2012, Sow notched a superb tally of 31 goals in 54 league fixtures, top scoring in Ligue 1 en route to Les Dogues taking the title for the first time in 57 years during the Senegalese's only full campaign at Stade Pierre-Mauroy. A move to east London would see Sow link up with international teammates Sakho and Cheikhou Kouyate, who were signed last summer for combined fees totaling more than £10m. Sunderland are also thought to be in the hunt for Sow though, having been touted as a potential home for the striker during the last transfer window in January. With the Black Cats' forward ranks in need of refreshing, and the futures of striking trio Steven Fletcher, Danny Graham and Connor Wickham far from assured, the France-born hitman may see a simpler route to first-team action in the north east. On the other hand, he may not fancy Sunderland's annual battle against relegation, with Dick Advocaat's side priced up at 7/4 to go down next spring.

Report: West Ham weighing up move for exciting striker with fearsome scoring record, Moussa Sow
Damien Lucas

West Ham United are reportedly weighing up a £12 million move for exciting Fenerbache striker Moussa Sow, but what would he bring to the Hammers? According to the likes of the Express, Slaven Bilic is returning to Turkey in the hunt for a new striker with Fenerbache's Senegal star Moussa Sow the latest name being linked. The French born 29-year-old is an international teammate of West Ham hero Diafra Sakho and boasts an astonishing scoring record of more than a goal every other game at his last two clubs. Reports claim Bilic, who used to manage Fenerbache's rivals Besiktas, is keen on Sow who only has a year left to run on his contract and faces new competition from former Manchester United star Robin van Persie. With Mauro Zarate and Modibo Maiga failing to impress, Carlton Cole having left and the injury-prone Andy Carroll out until at least September, West Ham are left with just Sakho and Enner Valencia up front. Signing a striker is the club's number one priority before the start of the season. And the Hammers have been linked with a host of forwards this summer including Queens Park Rangers' Charlie Austin, Chelsea's Loic Remy and Manchester United's Javier Hernandez. But with no sign of any movement on potential deals for those players, Bilic looks to be moving on to other targets.

West Ham to reap what they Sow

If the former Croatia boss does manage to get Sow, he will quite literally be buying goals. The former France youth international has scored 82 goals in just 164 games for Fenerbache and before that Lille. In fact during his time with Lille he fired in 25 Ligue 1 goals to lead his side to the title. A final day hat-trick against his former club Stade Rennes sealed the league crown and also persuaded Fenerbache to splash out £7 million to bring him to Turkey. Known for some acrobatic goals, including his trademark bicycle kicks, he actually scored a last gasp goal in a 1-0 win over Bilic's Besiktas side on his debut and has clearly left an impression on the Hammers manager. West Ham fans should be excited at the potential partnership between Sakho and Sow who would be amongst the most feared pairings in the Premier League.

West Ham reignite interest in Dynamo Moscow defender
By talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) | Wednesday, July 29, 2015

West Ham are ready to rekindle their long-standing interest in Brazil-born defender Douglas but will face competition to land him from Galatasaray. The Hammers were keen on the centre-back back in 2013 when he was at Twente but he decided to join Dynamo Moscow instead. He has racked up 43 league outings since his arrival but has been heavily linked with a move away this summer. Newcastle and Liverpool have also tracked the 27-year-old, who is entering the final year of his contract in Moscow, although it appeared that Inter Milan were set to enter the race to sign him. But, according to sources in Italy, Inter have fallen behind the Hammers and Galatasaray who are now the frontrunners. Galatasaray were interested in Tottenham defender Vlad Chiriches but now he looks set for Napoli, the Turkish club could switch their attention to Douglas. And that could entice new Hammers boss Slaven Bilic to make his move.

West Ham chief provides double injury update ahead of Hammers' Europa League clash
London 24
09:58 29 July 2015 Jack Green

West Ham co-owner David Gold has revealed that two Hammers stars will miss Thursday night's game against Astra Giurgiu. Both players have been struggling with injuries in the pre-season and will not feature in the first leg of the club's Europa League Third Qualifying Round tie. Obiang was West Ham's first major signing of the summer as he moved to Upton Park from Sampdoria early in the transfer window. The Spanish midfielder made his first appearance for the Hammers in a friendly against Peterborough but has not been match fit since then. Gold has revealed that the 23-year-old will be back in training next week. Defender Reid will also not be available to face Astra. The New Zealand international is recovering from a minor injury and he will be held out of action until he returns to full fitness.

West Ham Archdeacon Elwin Cockett is a fan of West Ham manager Slaven Bilic
Newham Recorder
09:50 29 July 2015

I am a big fan of West Ham United's new manager, Slaven Bilic. Many years ago, I found myself in the same room as him, both of us having arrived early before a game. Knowing where he was from, I asked him about the war in Bosnia that was raging at the time. To my surprise, Slaven then spent the best part of an hour with me, explaining in depth the complexities underlying that conflict, and putting forward his ideas for a peaceful future for the Balkans. He showed a remarkable knowledge of the relevant history, law and politics, and I came away hugely impressed.

Now, I would be the first to say that you don't need a university degree in international law to be a footballer, but I am very glad that my football club has a new manager of such intelligence, wit and learning. It can only help. I'm also a big fan of our local MPs in Newham. Whatever our politics (and no, I am not a member of the Labour party or any other party, for that matter), it seems to me that we are particularly well-served by our Members of Parliament . It was no surprise to me that Stephen Timms was elected with the biggest majority in the country. Like the best of his colleagues, Stephen is a dedicated and able MP, respected by colleagues of all political hues.

What do Slaven Bilic and Stephen Timms have in common? You don't have to be a West Ham fan or a Labour party supporter to recognise that they are both bright, dedicated people. What they also are is men of faith. Both of them have a faith in God, and neither of them is ashamed to say so. It doesn't stop them being competitive, nor does it require them to leave their intellect behind. But at a time when the new Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron is under fire for admitting that he prays, it affirms that it is perfectly possible to excel at things and believe in God. Thank God for that!

'Payet looks like the real deal… but I'd love to see Charlie Austin or Javier Hernandez join' - West Ham Till I Die preview the 2015/16 season
Evening STandard
Published: 29 July 2015 Updated: 09:21, 29 July 2015

It's been a summer of upheaval at West Ham, and by jove the fans are loving it thus far! The arrival of Slaven Bilic has filled Upton Park with renewed optimism, as have the signings that have arrived at the club. Dimitri Payet, for one, has certainly excited the Hammers faithful, while Europa League football in East London has seen the club start their season earlier than their Premier League rivals. And Standard Sport spoke to West Ham Till I Die editor Iain Dale to get the Hammers fans' perspective ahead of the new campaign.

What's your target for the club's forthcoming season?

Any club with a new manager always has high expectations. Last season, after a fantastic start we under-performed dramatically and finished 12th. This season the aim has to be to finish in the top half and I think 8th is a realistic target as a springboard into the Olympic Stadium. We have the players to do it. Prediction: 8th

Who would you like to sign before the window closes?

Our weakness over the last two years has been that our main strikers have been injured too often. Our main priority has to be to sign a goalscorer, and that man is Charlie Austin. He's similar in style to Diafra Sakho and vaguely like Andy Carroll. He's proved himself at all levels. The Davids need to get their checkbook out. And if it isn't him, let's go for Chicarito!

Who's in your Starting XI?


Which fixture are you most looking forward to?

Perhaps somewhat strangely, the fixture I look forward to is playing Norwich, as they are my second team and I have written a history of Norwich City. Alex Neil has done a fantastic job and I really hope they survive this time. Having said that, I hope we take six points off them.

Which signing are you most excited about?

There is only one answer to that question. Dimitri Payet. In his debut in a friendly at Southend he scored two goals from outside the penalty area, laid on the third and put in a performance that was awe-inspiring, so much so that Southend manager Phil Brown asked Bilic to sub him. We love a playmaker with an eye for goal and Payet seems to be the real deal. He cost £14 million, our second highest ever fee. So far he looks worth it, but he now needs to prove himself in the Premier League.

Which young player excites you the most?

We have quite a few young players coming through. Diego Poyet has looked excellent and could well replace Kevin Nolan, while 16 year old Reece Oxford looks a real prospect. He's a tall, gangly central defender but has played in central midfield in the Europa League. He's got the languid style of a young Rio Ferdinand and I expect him to get quite a few substitute appearances under his belt this year, or to be sent out on loan to get some experience. An England player of the future.

Who's your most important star?

Whoever plays at centre forward is the most crucial player. And the most crucial thing is they stay fit and score goals. Diafra Sahko will certainly be in that position for the first couple of months, and when Andy Carroll gets fit (no, don't laugh) they can duke it out. Sakho scored ten in 23 games last season. I have no doubt he'd have scored double that if he'd been fit throughout the season. That has to be his aim this time.

Who's the weak link?

I could repeat what I wrote above for goalscoring has always been our problem under the last few managers. Dean Ashton was our last semi-prolific goalscorer, and if we don't have someone in that position who can hit the back of the net regularly, that will be our downfall this season. Otherwise it's Kevin Nolan, who I'm afraid has reached his sell-by date. He will be replaced by Pedro Obiang or Diego Poyet.

Who will get booed at Upton Park?

Now that Frank Lampard has departed these shores, I suspect the most hated ex West Ham title is passed to Jermain Defoe, mainly because of the way he left us 12 years ago. Yes, we have long memories. Defoe and Lampard have one thing in common. They invariably score when they return to Upton Park. Perhaps we need to cheer Defoe when he comes back this season. That might put him off his stride.

Carl Jenkinson praises the 'fantastic' changes made by Slaven Bilic
Lewis Doe

West Ham United defender Carl Jenkinson is confident that the future is looking bright for the club. West Ham United defender Carl Jenkinson has praised the signings made by manager Slaven Bilic as he spoke to the club's official website. The right-back has re-joined the club on loan for the coming season from Arsenal and he's suggested that there is plenty for supporters to be optimistic about, with the first game of the domestic season against Arsenal just around the corner. "There have been a lot of changes, but the change is for the positive. You look at the players who have been brought in and they are fantastic players," he told "There's a lot of reason to be optimistic for the season because I think we're shaping up really well."

Credit to Bilic for addressing a problem

Credit has to go to the manager for addressing a key problem with the team's attack while adding quality players in other areas. One of the areas the side arguably struggled over the second half of last season is in terms of creativity and scoring in big games. Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini have come in to improve the options in terms of the creativity in midfield, which should mean more chances for the strikers in the side to attack. There is plenty for West Ham fans to be optimistic about because the early signs under his reign are very good.
The team has shown a resilience to grit through difficult games in Europa League qualifying and there is evidence that new signings haven't taken long to gel and adapt to the mentality and philosophy which is already in place at the club.

David Gold: West Ham summer signing Pedro Obiang will return to training next week
Olly Dawes

David Gold says West Ham midfielder Pedro Obiang will return to training next week. Following the 1-0 friendly win over Norwich City, West Ham United co-chairman David Gold took to Twitter to announce that midfielder Pedro Obiang will be back in training next week. The Hammers beat newly-promoted Norwich at Carrow Road thanks to a late Harry Toffolo own goal, and there was more good news for supporters as Gold revealed Obiang's scheduled return, as seen above. Obiang, 23, joined West Ham from Italian club Sampdoria earlier this summer, and it seen as a huge signing for the Hammers given his reputation in Serie A. The Spaniard is an athletic, box-to-box midfield player who starred on a regular basis for Sampdoria, and has earned comparisons to Yaya Toure in the process. Fans have yet to see much of Obiang this summer due to injury and fitness problems, but Gold's revelation that Obiang will return to training next week will be a big boost for Hammers fans.

How important can Obiang be this season?

West Ham have seen last season's loanee Alex Song return to Barcelona, leaving a vacancy for a physical midfielder in the Hammers line-up. Cheikhou Kouyate formed a great partnership with Song last season, and with Mark Noble sitting to dictate play, Obiang could step into the role that Song filled last term. With speed and strength, Obiang's athleticism could be a huge asset to West Ham, have a star both for now and the future in Obiang - and he should be a vital player for the club this coming season and beyond.

Agent of reported West Ham United target Veli Kavlak admits English interest
Mathew Nash

The Besiktas midfielder worked alongside Slaven Bilic in Turkey. The agent of Austrian international Veli Kavlak has been discussing the future of his client, who has been linked with a move to West Ham United this summer. He is quoted by Laola1 in Austria as claiming that Kavlak has both offers from England and Germany ahead of the new campaign: "There are requests from top clubs from England and Germany. "Our goal is that he is at the European Championships [with Austria]." It was reported by Hurriyet earlier this month that new West Ham boss Slaven Bilic was keen on midfielder Kavlak. The two worked together at Turkish Super Lig side Besiktas but with Bilic gone the future of Kavlak has reportedly been cast into doubt. Kavlak started his career at Austrian side Rapid Vienna and is an Austrian international. He has 30 caps for his country and has scored one goal, against Turkey. Kavlak's signing would certainly be impressive for West Ham. They have already strengthened their midfield area with the arrival of Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria. But the Spaniard is not enough and West Ham certainly could do with signing another central midfield player for the upcoming campaign. Kavlak could be the perfect man to join the likes of Mark Noble and Obiang in the heart of the West Ham midfield this season.

Leyton Orient will not sign former Cardiff City and West Ham United defender Danny Gabbidon
Guardian Series

Leyton Orient head coach Ian Hendon has confirmed the club will not be offering a contract to Danny Gabbidon. The former Cardiff City and West Ham United defender played 45 minutes of the O's win at Colchester United on Saturday but was not involved in tonight's 4-0 victory at Woking. Orient completed the signing of experienced former Millwall defender Alan Dunne on Monday and he made his debut in their latest friendly. His arrival appears to have been a key factor in the decision over Gabbidon. Hendon said: "I've spoken to Danny's agent and that's not going to happen now. "Alan's not played much football over pre-season to be fair so he's playing a little bit of catch up. He's been training at Millwall doing some stuff over the summer but he's not played many minutes. I think you've seen what he's about in the first half. "He's very experienced, knows what to do when he's got the ball, organises and I was very pleased with what I saw in the first 45 minutes. That was the plan to give him 45 minutes and then come off so I was delighted with his first performance."


This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.

No comments: