Thursday, July 9

Daily WHUFC News - 9th July 2015

Bilic: 'We are expecting big things with West Ham'

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic is hoping to bring more new additions
into the squad and make the Club even stronger as he prepares for his first
season in charge at the Boleyn Ground
Bilic has flown to Andorra with the squad for the second leg of the UEFA
Europa League first qualifying round tie with FC Lusitans, having been
working hard with the players at a fitness camp in Ireland, and has already
been impressed with the attitude that the squad have showed in Cork. The
Club have already signed Darren Randolph, Pedro Obiang and Dimitri Payet
this summer and Bilic hopes he will be able to make the squad even stronger
over the coming weeks Bilic said: "Our plan is to bring in more players. We
are trying to bring in players who we believe can lift us to another stage
and make us better "We have already signed a few players and brought them
into a good team. Sometimes they will click straight away and sometimes it
will take a bit of time. "We are aware of that and we are going to try and
make that adjustment period as short as possible. "We are expecting big
things with West Ham. We are not big headed and will take it step by step
but the early signs are very promising."

The Big Interview - Aaron Cresswell

Hammer of the Year Aaron Cresswell is already feeling the benefits of
pre-season, just over a week after returning to training. The defender has
been part of the squad working under new manager Slaven Bilic in Ireland and
has enjoyed the impact of the new boss. He won't be involved in Thursday's
UEFA Europa League tie at FC Lusitans but is looking forward to his first
run out, which could come at Peterborough United on Saturday.

Aaron, we've been in Ireland for over a week now. How's it been?

AC: "Very good. We've been working hard, the boys have been enjoying it and
we're all getting fitter."

When a new manager comes in, is this bonding even more crucial?

AC: "Yes, definitely. None of us knew the Gaffer personally and it's good
for us to get to know him. The main thing is to get fit and that's what
we're doing."

A lot of sharp sessions have been taking place - the players must relish

AC: "Definitely. We did a longer run the other day, but mainly it's been
football based and a lot of sharper sessions as you said."

Slaven's been very hands on. You must love that from a manager who's in the
thick of the action?

AC: "Yes. He's a very experienced manager and played at the top level too.
It's good that when he steps on the pitch he's hands on. Hopefully we can
learn little things and become better players."

As the days count down now, can you sense the excitement around the squad at
the start of the season?

AC: "We're all buzzing for the first game. There's the pre-season and Europa
League games first too, so I'm sure we'll all get together soon as a squad,
enjoy each others' company and work hard together."

Barclays U21 Premier League Division 2 Fixtures

The fixtures for the Barclays U21 Premier League Division 2 have been
announced and West Ham United will begin the campaign with an away trip to
West Brom on 17 August. The Development Squad will then play their first
home game against Aston Villa on 24 August. All home games are scheduled to
be played at Rush Green, but a minimum of three fixtures will be selected to
play at the Boleyn Ground. The away fixture at Derby County on 3 February is
subject to change. There is a new format for Clubs playing in Division 2
this season.
A play-off will now take place for teams finishing in second to fifth place
to determine the second promotion spot into Division One.

*Mon 17 Aug - West Bromwich Albion (A), 7pm

*Mon 24 Aug - Aston Villa (H), 7pm

*Fri 28 Aug – Arsenal (A), 7pm

*Mon 14 Sep - Blackburn Rovers (A), 7pm

*Mon 21 Sep - Newcastle United (H), 7pm

*Sat 26 Sep - Stoke City (A), 2pm

*Mon 19 Oct - Wolverhampton Wanderers (H), 7pm

*Mon 26 Oct – Fulham (H), 7pm

*Mon 2 Nov - Brighton & Hove Albion (A), 7pm

Mon 23 Nov - Derby County (H), 7pm

*Mon 30 Nov - Swansea City (A), 6.30pm

*Mon 7 Dec - West Bromwich Albion (H), 7pm

*Mon 14 Dec – Arsenal (H), 7pm

*Mon 04 Jan - Brighton & Hove Albion (H), 7pm

*Fri 22 Jan – Fulham (A), 7pm

*Wed 3 Feb - Derby County (A), 7pm

*Mon 8 Feb - Swansea City (H) 7pm

*Mon 22 Feb - Wolverhampton Wanderers (A) 7pm

*Mon 7 Mar - Blackburn Rovers (H) 7pm

*Fri 11 Mar - Newcastle United (A) 7pm

*Mon 4 Apr - Stoke City (H) 7pm

*Mon 11 Apr - Aston Villa (A) 7pm

*Sat 23 Apr - Play-Off Semi-Final

*Sat 7 May - Play-Off Final

Boleyn Insider

Our man on the inside lifts the lid on the latest transfer speculation...

All the focus has now switched towards the second leg of the Europa League
first qualifying round in Andorra but I can reveal that there is some
exciting developments taking place around the Boleyn Ground.

My sources have told me that the Club are very close to making their fourth
signing of the summer and hope the player will be ready to sign a contract
in the near future.

My understanding is that he was one of the best defenders in Europe last
season and will be an exciting new addition to the West Ham United squad.

There have been a lot of stories linking the Club with a move for Paris
Saint-Germain midfielder Yohan Cabaye.

Reports suggest that the former Newcastle midfielder is now set to complete
a move to Crystal Palace.

I have been told that the Club were very interested in signing Cabaye, but
felt they had greater priority in other positions.

My understanding is when the fourth new signing is announced, the Club will
turn their attentions to signing another striker/goalscorer.

The Club are also looking to bring in another highly rated midfielder and
hope a loan move will also be finalised by end of the month.

From the Boardroom - David Gold

It was an emotional night for me to see West Ham United back in European
action last week as it was the first time for nearly a decade, but it felt
great. I know this is only the early beginnings of a long journey, but it
still felt very good and this is the start of a new era for the Club. It was
also fantastic to see the reception that Slaven Bilic got from our
supporters. We always knew he was a fans favourite and I was pleased for
Slaven as well because this is the job he wanted. This is all very exciting
for Slaven and the fans and I can sense the excitement and optimism around
the Club at the moment. Our time has come. I was delighted to see Diafra
Sakho get among the goals straight away. Whatever level you play at scoring
goals is not easy and you have to rise above the defence and score and it
was great to see him do that. We have a lot of high hopes resting on Sakho
next season and he is the one who can surprise everyone. I believe he can
become a world class striker. He has the passion and attributes to be one of
the top forwards in the Premier League. He had an unbelievable start last
season and scored eight goals in nine games which is up there with the very
best. Sadly he got injured and who knows how many goals he could have
finished the season with. I am pleased to say he has made a full recovery
during the summer and it will be great if he can keep scoring goals heading
into the new season.

We also saw Mauro Zarate produce an impressive display last week.
Unfortunately he picked up a slight injury which will keep him sidelined for
a short period but he has his chance to show what he can do. The slate has
been wiped clean and everyone has got their opportunity. Slaven is clearly
saying to his players show me what you can do. All the fringe players from
last season will now get their chance. We have so many games coming up with
Europe and the cup competitions alongside the Premier League. If we get to
the group stages of the Europa League it will almost be like playing in
another league and we need the competition in the squad. Everyone will get
their chance.

I was pleased to see James Tomkins given the captaincy last week. James is a
West Ham boy and Slaven handed him the armband. He certainly did the
business with another solid display and managed to get on the scoresheet.
Reece Oxford also showed again why he is rated so highly. He went out and
played in midfield and that shows the quality he has got that he is so
versatile. He was then moved back into a defensive role and played superbly.
These are exciting times for West Ham United and the hard work continues
behind the scenes to bring in new signings. Our people are working their
socks off to ensure we bring the best quality players to the Club. It is not
just about numbers but we want quality and people who will make a difference
to our football club. We want to bring in serious players to strengthen the
squad and I am confident that the squad will be stronger than the one we had
last season.

Dimitri Payet trains with West Ham: in pictures
Filed: Wednesday, 8th July 2015
By: Staff Writer

Latest arrival Dimitri Payet joined in with the rest of the squad today as
the majority of the first team were put through their paces at the club's
Irish training camp.

With the likes of new coaching assistant Julian Dicks in attendance, the
£11million man took part in a number of strenuous routines and drills in
preparation for the new Premier League season.

As you can see from our exclusive pictures below, Payet was all smiles as he
joined in with his new team mates, who included fellow new arrival Pedro

Payet and the rest of the squad who have not travelled to Andorra for
tomorrow night's Europa League qualifier against FC Lusitanos are scheduled
to fly back to London tomorrow, according to Dicks.

Karanka tight-lipped on Downing link
Filed: Wednesday, 8th July 2015
By: Staff Writer

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka admits he faces a battle to bring West
Ham's Stewart Downing back to Teeside.

The 30-year-old has been strongly linked with a move away from the Boleyn
Ground this summer with 'Boro, one of Downing's former clubs, said to have
made an official bid for the England international last week.

However Karanka admitted during a press conference earlier today that he
faced stiff competition to take Downing back to his home town club, where he
spent the first eight years of his professional career.

"I can't say anything about Stewart as a player because everybody knows
him," he said. "For me it is difficult to think about him.

"It is very difficult for me to get this type of player, because he is a
Premier League player and has offers from other places. But I am here to
assemble a squad as good as we can."

Downing made 234 first team appearances for Middlesbrough during his
eight-year spell at the Riverside Stadium. In 2009 he moved to Aston Villa
in a £12million switch before joining Liverpool two years later for

West Ham paid just £5million to bring him to Upton Park in August 2013,
since when he has made 79 appearances and scored seven goals.

West Ham transfers: Carlos Vela rejects Upton Park move as Irons look to add
FOURTH striker
16:43, 8 JULY 2015
Slaven Bilic is desperate to avoid robbed of firepower up top with Andy
Carroll and Diafra Sakho both missing chunks of the second half of last
The Mirror

Carlos Vela is understood to have rejected an offer to join West Ham. The
ex-Arsenal striker has scored 25 league goals over the past two seasons at
Real Sociedad. Vela, 26, also has a £21million release clause in his
contract. He joined Sociedad on loan four years ago and made the move
permanent in a £9million deal. West Ham are looking for a fourth striker to
ensure that they are not robbed of firepower up front as they have been over
the past two seasons. Injuries to Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho last term
cost them a top-half finish as their form slumped over the second half of
the camp aign. The Irons have already signed £14million winger Dimitri Payet
and £5million midfielder Pedro Obiang. They are also closing in on £8million
Juventus defender Angelo Ogbonna as the new-look first-team under Slaven
Bilic continues to take shape. Deals for Al Jazira Club midfielder Manuel
Lanzini, right-back Carl Jenkinson and midfielder Alex Song are expected to
be completed within days.

Olympic Stadium opens for business
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 8, 2015 in News, Whispers

The grass turf will be laid at the rebuilt Olympic Stadium next week just in
time for the Morrisons Great Newham run on Sunday 19th July.

Entry to the stadium on Sunday 19th July is limited to to family and friends
of registered runners as they make their way down the finishing straight on
the famous running track inside the former Olympic Stadium.

All entrants taking part in the Morrisons Great Newham London Run 10k event
will receive two spectator passes as part of their entry to the stadium.
Each paying adult in the family run will also receive two spectator passes
to the stadium.

Anyone can enter Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that weekend but only those
holding spectator passes or run numbers will be granted access to the

The following weekend 24th to 26th July British Athletics are hosting the
Sainsbury's Anniversary Games. Three days of athletics on the anniversary
of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony. There will be three days of athletics
and IAAF Diamond League action taking place on Friday evening and Saturday
afternoon with many of the Olympic Champions, and the Sunday showcasing
Paralympians from 2012.

If Hammers fans want to experience first hand what the rebuilt Stadium
feels like, tickets are available from £25 for the Anniversary games from
the link below.

Irons unwilling to match Cabaye's £12.8m asking price
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 8, 2015 in News, Whispers

Yohan Cabaye's move to Crystal Palace seems to be nearing completion say
L'Équipe this morning. Palace and PSG are said to have finally agreed a 18
million euro deal in principle made up of a 14 million Euros up front fee
plus up to 4 million Euros in performance and appearance bonuses. The £12.8m
package is not a price West Ham are prepared to pay for the 29 year old
according to reports.

Yesterday reports emerged he would rather join West Ham than Crystal Palace
but that seems very unlikely with the Hammers unwilling to match Crystal
Palace's bumper offer. Another stumbling block were the claims the player
wanted up to £100,000 per week to re-join the Premier League which would
shatter West Ham's current wage structure where the highest paid player,
Andy Carroll receives £85,000 per week basic.

Cabaye will cost another £15.6m in wages over three wages if his wage
demands are met.

Cabaye was spotted in London's Regent street yesterday shopping in advance
of agreeing personal terms and a medical later this week.

Downing looks certain to leave!
Posted by Hugh5outhon1895 on July 8, 2015 in News, Whispers

Stewart Downing is almost certain to be gone from West Ham before the
transfer window closes. It's one of the facts of footballing life that when
such strong "rumours" start about player movements it's a near inevitability
it will happen. The usual fencing and haggling on price will go on of course
– appearances have to be maintained – but our understanding is that the 30
year old has been offered around £70k a week to return to his 'home' and
that HE WANTS TO GO! ClaretandHugh was told by a top Irons insider: "Steve
Gibson (Boro chairman) clearly sees him as the marquee signing and a player
who can lead Boro back to the Premier League. However, whilst it's a huge
deal for Stewart but not West Ham." However, that the issues involved are
being discussed so freely suggests that it won't be long before Downing does
indeed return home with the Hammers recouping something in the region of £7
million for him. The Hammers will realise that whilst they are building a
deeper squad, Downing is an unlikely starter with the likes of Dimitri Pyet,
Chiek Kouyate Pedro Obiang, and probably Alex Song in the squad. And at 30
years of age £7 million will allow Slaven Bilic to identify the new
attacking midfielder he wants as mentioned on a number of occasions. We
could be wrong but we expect a Downing departure.

Slaven Bilic and his new West Ham squad travel to Barcelona ahead of their
second leg clash with Andorran minnows Lusitans
PUBLISHED: 10:31, 8 July 2015 | UPDATED: 10:37, 8 July 2015

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has flown to Barcelona with his new squad
ahead of the second leg of their Uefa Europa League first qualifying round
tie with Lusitans in Andorra. Bilic and his West Ham players have spent
time training hard at a fitness camp in Ireland ahead of the upcoming new
season and their trip to the Principality. But the Croatian manager, who
replaced Sam Allardyce as manager earlier this summer, was brandished
'disrespectful' by Lusitans boss Xavi Roura just last week. Roura was upset
that Bilic chose to let academy coach Terry Westley take charge as the east
London side easily saw off the Andorran minnows in their first leg clash.
And when asked after the match whether Bilic would travel to Andorra for the
second leg, Westley said: 'I wouldn't have thought so with all he has going
on. 'Not every manager sits in the dugout. He has come back from a training
camp in Ireland.' However, Bilic has made the decision to fly out with the
squad having been impressed with what the players showed him during their
time in Cork. The former Besiktas coach told the club's official website:
'We are expecting big things with West Ham. We are not big headed and will
take it step by step but the early signs are very promising.' West Ham
co-chairman David Gold and David Sullivan have moved quickly to strengthen
the squad this summer, signing a whole host of new players. The club have
already added Darren Randolph, Pedro Obiang and Dimitri Payet to the squad,
but Bilic admitted there is still more to come. Bilic said: 'Our plan is to
bring in more players. We are trying to bring in players who we believe can
lift us to another stage and make us better
'We have already signed a few players and brought them into a good team.
Sometimes they will click straight away and sometimes it will take a bit of
time. We are aware of that and we are going to try and make that adjustment
period as short as possible.'

£6m can be freed up from Downing/Nolan
Posted by Sean Whetstone on July 8, 2015 in Sean's Blogs, Whispers

This summer could yet see the departure of two of the club's highest
earners, freeing up wages to be spend on loans and/or new signings while
complying with the Financial fair play regulations. Kevin Nolan is thought
to earn a £55,000 per week basic wage plus bonuses. His basic annual salary
alone is £2.86m plus Employers National Insurance contribution adding
another £400,000 per year. Meanwhile Stewart Downing is thought to earn a
£50,000 per week basic wage plus bonuses. His basic salary is £2.6m plus
Employers National Insurance contribution adding another £364,000 per year.
Only Andy Carroll £85,000 per week, Alex Song £75,000 per week and Dimitri
Payer £68,000 per week are thought to earn more at the club. Realistically
neither Nolan or Downing are likely to feature regularly in Slaven Bilic's
first team this season so that is a lot of wages to sit on the bench for a
club the size of West Ham. Their combined £6.2m of wages could be freed up
should they leave this summer allowing the recruitment of younger, hungrier
and cheaper players to fill their bench and squad positions. Earlier this
year Nolan said he was open to move away if he was not wanted. He told the
Newham recorder "I have been considering my future, without a shadow of a
doubt, I am not one who wants to sit here on the bench, I won't continue to
do it, just for the fact that if you are not good enough for one club you
move on and you prove to someone else you are." As reported by Claret and
Hugh, Downing wants a return to the North East to his beloved Middlesborough
who have offered him a bumper £70,000 per week to join them in the

Jack Sullivan explains the impression he was given after meeting Slaven
Lewis Doe

Jack Sullivan, son of West Ham co-owner David Sullivan, has explained the
impression he got of Slaven Bilic after meeting the first team boss. Jack
Sullivan, son of West Ham co-owner David Sullivan, has explained on the
club's website what he noticed about Slaven Bilic when he got the
opportunity to meet the first team boss. Sullivan commented on Bilic's
apparent state of mind and also suggested that recent comments from defender
James Tomkins, hint towards the respect that the manager is already
commanding in the dressing room. Bilic is under pressure but he's landed a
good job at the East London club where he'll be respected and hopefully
given the chance to push on and develop the team effectively over the next
few years. "I was able to meet Slaven for the first time which I was really
excited about. He was in a really good mood and looked very happy to be back
at the Club," he wrote on "I listened to what James Tomkins had
to say after the game and that you cannot hear a pin drop when the manager
speaks in the dressing room. That shows the respect that all the players
have towards him."

Happy manager equals happy team

Slaven Bilic has plenty to be happy about at the moment and as long as he
stays in a positive frame of mind, the team has a very good chance to
progress and develop. It's a great time to be involved at West Ham because
the side are moving to a new stadium in a year, have the possibility of
playing in the Europa League and should only grow. The pressure for Bilic
comes in terms of trying to better what the club achieved under Sam
Allardyce last season. Bilic has been handed a long term contract, but some
serious questions will be asked if the club doesn't finish any higher than
12th by the end of May next year.

Former West Ham United Star Wants To Be Left Alone To Succeed At Lazio
Forza Italian Football.

Lazio's English signing, Ravel Morrison, has hit out at criticisms received
by the British media and is hoping to do well for his new club in Serie A.
The England U21 ace signed for the Biancocelesti after having had his
previous contract with the Hammers rescinded in February and has trained
with the Stadio Olimpico outfit over the last few months. "I'm in Italy to
concentrate on football and work hard," he said on his official Twitter
account. "The English media write nothing but lies about me. "Leave me to
get on with my own life."
Reports from the UK had suggested that Morrison had become unsettled in Rome
and was angling for a move back to the English Premier League by asking his
representatives to find him a new club away from Italy.

Shaka Hislop jokes he will put his son up for adoption following Steven
Gerrard comment
PUBLISHED: 12:06, 8 July 2015 | UPDATED: 12:06, 8 July 2015
Mail Online

Former West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop has joked he will put his son up for
adoption after the eight-year-old teased him about former on-pitch nemesis
Steven Gerrard during a kick about.
Hislop was between the sticks for West Ham at the Millennium Stadium in 2006
when Gerrard thumped arguably the goal of his career past the Londoner to
send the FA Cup final to extra time.
Gerrard, who swapped Liverpool for Los Angeles this summer, then beat Hislop
once again during the penalty shootout as West Ham were left heartbroken.
And it seems Hislop junior likes to remind his dad of that day every time
the duo play football together. Hislop Tweeted on Wednesday: 'Playing footie
with my 8 yr old son. He scores and says 'no wonder Gerard kept scoring on
you.' I've put him up for adoption.' The 46-year-old is now working as a
commentator in American so could be reunited with Gerrard in the coming

What will West Ham be getting if they sign Italy international Angelo
Ogbonna from Juventus?
Damien Lucas

West Ham United are reportedly close to signing Italy defender Angelo
Ogbonna from Serie A giants Juventus, but what do we know about the former
Torino man? According to the Daily Mail, the Hammers have beaten off
competition from Premier League rivals Everton for Ogbonna's signature from
the Serie A giants. The deal is said to be worth in the region of £8 million
and he would become West Ham's third major summer signing after midfielders
Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria and Dimitri Payet from Marseille.

But what do we actually know about Ogbonna?

Well apart from the fact his picture was accidentally tweeted out by Hammers
co-owner David Gold when announcing the signing of Obiang last month, not
many people in England will have heard of the centre back. The 27-year-old
was an unused substitute for Juventus when they were beaten by Barcelona in
the Champions League final in May. It was a night that kind of summed up his
time at the Italian champions. Even without their first choice centre backs,
Ogbonna was not trusted with a start when it mattered. He has predominantly
been used at the tail end of the club's seasons when they are juggling
participation domestically, in Europe and the cups and therefore rotate
their squad. He has played just 41 times, many as a sub, for Juve since
signing for them in 2013.

A controversial figure who crossed the Turin divide

He is something of a controversial figure in Italy after he became the first
player in history to captain Torino and transfer to hated rivals Juventus.
To put it in perspective for West Ham fans. It would be like captaining
Millwall and then leaving to join West Ham, you just don't do it. He was
lucky to survive a car accident near Turin in 2008 when he ended up in a
river at 5am and it will be interesting to see how he handles the bright
lights of London. As a player he has all the attributes to make him a
success in the Premier League. Strong and powerful, Ogbonna is known for
his outstanding physical attributes and can also play at left back. He is
good with the ball at his feet but interestingly is left footed the same as
West Ham's key defender Winston Reid.

The new Joseph Yobo?

The 6ft 3in star, who is of Nigerian heritage, has 10 caps for Italy after
getting citizenship on his 18th birthday. The general consensus of opinion
among Juve fans is that Ogbonna was a disappointment but that with time on
his side and at a club with lower expectations and less pressure he can
kickstart his career. It is ironic that Everton were one of the other clubs
in for him as he has often been likened to their famous centre back Joseph
Yobo back in Nigeria due to the similarities between the two.

Ian Pearce impressed by recent performance of Hammers youngster Reece Oxford
Lewis Doe

Former West Ham United defender Ian Pearce has been impressed by young
centre back Reece Oxford. Former West Ham United defender Ian Pearce told
talkSPORT that he was impressed by Reece Oxford's comments following the
club's 3-0 win in the first leg of the Europa League qualifier against
Lusitans last week. The 16-year-old started the game for the Hammers and
Pearce has suggested that there are encouraging signs, but admits the player
has a long way to go before he features regularly under the guidance of
Slaven Bilic. "I've seen bits of him playing for the under-21 development
team and he's a very cultured player – I quite like what he said afterwards
that he's had a taste, it's a great achievement but if we're being honest,
he's not achieved anything yet," he told talkSPORT. "He's got a long way to
go, he gave the ball away a couple of times – Now he realises he's got to
step up a few notches and drive on."

Impressive confidence

It would have been very easy for a player in Oxford's position to have
become overawed by the occasion last week. However, he showed good
confidence and was able to get on the ball, attempting to play some football
by passing it out from the back. It was always going to be a difficult game
because he's still a very young man and physically underdeveloped compared
to some of the men he was playing against.

Build on the experience

Oxford is not going to be part of the West Ham side that starts the Premier
League season. However, he can take the benefits of the experience he's just
had and use them to his advantage as he goes about life with the under-21
side next year. If he performs on that platform, he could be drafted in as a
sub at some point or could be given a chance in one of the domestic cup
competitions and when they arrives, he can cash in.

Report: Stoke City begin talks with West Ham linked free agent Glen Johnson
Tom Thorogood

Crystal Palace, West Ham United and now Stoke City have been linked with
former Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson. According to a report in the Daily
Mail, Stoke City have joined the race to sign recently released right-back
Glen Johnson. The 54-capped England international's six-year adventure with
Liverpool was ended this summer as the club decided against renewing his
expiring contract. With plenty still to offer, Johnson has a number of
suitors with West Ham United, as per the Sunday People, having held talks
with him while Crystal Palace were linked in April by the Daily Star. The
London duo, however, have yet to push on with their alleged interest and
fresh reports now state Stoke City have jumped to the front of the queue,
opening talks with the 30-year-old. "Stoke City are in talks over a deal for
former Liverpool defender Glen Johnson. Mark Hughes is keen to bring him in
at the Britannia Stadium and is hoping to convince him with a three-year
deal," reports say.

Would Glen Johnson be a good signing for Stoke City?

Despite his waning ability on Merseyside with the Reds, Johnson is still a
capable defender at Premier League level and would be a solid signing for an
established club. Stoke are pretty light in the right-back area, and
bringing in the former Portsmouth man could prove a masterstroke if Mark
Hughes manages to get the best out of him. Las season he managed 15 Premier
League starts despite spending chunks of the campaign nursing an injury,
averaging 1.6 tackles and 2.3 clearances per encounter.

Ian Pearce: Bilic has helped himself with Dicks appointment
Lewis Doe

Former West Ham United defender Ian Pearce has suggested that Slaven Bilic
has helped himself by appointing Julian Dicks as a coach. Former West Ham
United defender Ian Pearce told talkSPORT show Sports Bar that he feels
Slaven Bilic has made a clever decision by bringing in Julian Dicks. Dicks
has been welcomed at Upton Park as a first team coach and Pearce has
suggested the decision on the part of Bilic will give him a little bit of
extra leeway with fans, because of how popular a figure the ex-defender is.
"I really hope so – I think he's got a real passion – He's very intellectual
and obviously very tactically astute and he's been very clever by getting
Dicksy in because he's West Ham through and through, the fans will see that
and the fans will like that and that will give him a bit of extra time," he
told talkSPORT.

Bilic's thinking over Dicks

Dicks is someone, as Pearce suggests, who knows the very fabric of the
football club. He's someone who knows what it means to represent West Ham
and he's someone who knows the importance of a positive relationship with
the club's fans. He can relay that importance to all players in the West Ham
squad, ensuring that they don't let their standards slip regardless of any
match or situation.

What can he offer as a coach?

Despite the fact that he's an ex-West Ham player, Dicks also has experience
as a defender to bring to the table. Dicks played for the Hammers during the
late 80s and early 90s, when the game was arguably much more physical. He
can help players adapt to that side of the game, as well as providing some
fresh insight into the current back four and how they can develop over the
course of the next ten months.

West Ham's renewed commitment to Mauro Zarate to be put to the test by
Dan Coombs

After a loan at QPR, Mauro Zarate is back in favour at West Ham, but new
suitors are on the horizon. West Ham face a challenge to their commitment to
Mauro Zarate, with Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport claiming Bologna
are interested in the forward. Zarate signed with the Hammers last summer
and made a good early impression before falling out of favour under Sam
Allardyce, and being sent out on loan to relegated QPR. As far as 2015/16
goes, Zarate is already off to a positive start, being picked in the
starting line-up for Slaven Bilic's first game as manager, going on to
provide an assist in a 3-0 Europa League win over Lusitanos. The Hammers
appear keen on giving him a second chance, with co-chairman David Gold
saying on Twitter in late May the striker would be welcome back at the club.
Corriere dello Sport report Serie A side Bologna have identified Zarate as
an affordable transfer target after being priced out of the market for
Liverpool's Fabio Borini. The paper even claims Zarate is keen to leave West
Ham, but this information could very well be outdated considering his recent
return to the first team fold, so should be taken as conjecture rather than
fact. What West Ham decide to do if there is a bid could be interesting, and
will depend very much on whether Zarate keeps impressing during the early
Europa League matches and in pre-season. After the way he trailed off last
season there could be temptation to cash in while there is interest, but
this will depend on how much of this was attributed to the player, and how
much to then manager Sam Allardyce for failing to get a talented player
performing at his best.

'I would go to West Ham or Crystal Palace' £15million striker should ditch
Newcastle for London stay
London 24
06:40 08 July 2015 Brad Pinard

Former West Ham and Newcastle midfielder Rob Lee believes Charlie Austin
could reject a move to the north east this summer. Lee, who is a cult hero
at St James' Park, believes the Toon is no longer a big pull for big names
due to their poor form over the past two years or so. Selling off names such
as Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye too makes Newcastle no bigger club than the
likes of West Ham and Palace, who could both pounce for Austin. "The problem
we are going to have is that two or three clubs want Austin. Why would he
choose Newcastle United?" Lee exclusively told the Evening Chronicle.
"Playing in front of 52,000 is still a pull - but Newcastle are struggling.
He had that last year with Queens Park Rangers and that will be my concern.
"Even if we agree a fee of £15million and pay him what he wants he still has
to choose to come to Newcastle. "I'd be asking: 'Who else will you buy
because the team isn't good enough?' If I didn't get the answers I would
possibly go to West Ham or Crystal Palace or whichever club he gets offered.
But you would have to ask for assurances. "He had a year of struggling now
he wants a team that can at least finish in mid-table." QPR want £15million
for Austin, but no club is keen on that fee. Leicester have seen a bid
rejected and Bournemouth are said to have joined the likes of West Ham,
Palace, Chelsea and Spurs. Latest Charlie Austin next club odds on SkyBet:
Newcastle 8/11 Bournemouth 3/1 West Ham 6/1 Chelsea 12/1 Spurs 16/1 To stay
at QPR 20/1


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