Thursday, March 23

Daily WHUFC News - 23rd March 2017

Everton tickets sell out to Claret Members

Tickets for the Premier League clash with Everton on Saturday 22 April have
sold out to Claret Members.

Demand for tickets at London Stadium has hit phenomenally high levels all
season, with the upcoming games against the Toffees and Swansea City both
selling out well within the priority window for Claret Members.

With this game now sold out, as the Hammers look to avenge October's defeat
to Ronald Koeman's side, the Ticket Exchange is open so that Season Ticket
Holders who cannot attend can relist their seats.

By relisting, Season Ticket Holders can help satisfy the huge demand to
watch the team in action at London Stadium, by giving another Hammer the
chance to fill their seat at the game.

In addition, when your seat sells you will also receive Club Cash to redeem
against a range of ticketing products - including your 2017/18 Season Ticket

Click here to relist your seat for Swansea or Everton now

Any seats already relisted for Everton are currently available for Claret
Members to purchase by clicking here.

Claret Members have an exclusive window to purchase from the Ticket Exchange
until 3pm on Wednesday 5 April, when the service is open to supporters on
the Season Ticket Waiting List.

Tickets on the Exchange is then available to all supporters from 3pm on
Friday 7 April.

Mediawatch - 22 March

Our daily look at the Hammers stories making the news contains some
interesting transfer rumours…

The Daily Mirror say the Club will step up their pursuit of Swansea City
midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson in the summer, after initially expressing an
interest in January.

As the Hammers look to bolster their creative options, the Iceland
international could fit the bill. However, the same piece says a deal for
Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney is unlikely, due to his reported
£300,000 a week salary.

Meanwhile, The Sun reckon the Club still hold a firm interest in Jermain
Defoe – especially given the belief that he would be available on a free
should Sunderland be relegated this season.

Another striker on the radar is said to be Michy Batshuayi according to the
Daily Mail. Batshuayi joined Chelsea from Marseille in the summer, but has
struggled for game time at Stamford Bridge.

Finally, Sam Byram offers his thoughts on Saturday's defeat to Leicester
City in the Newham Recorder, where he talks of his frustration at not being
able to return to the side in a winning effort.

He said: "It was frustrating. Especially in the first half, where it was
disappointing for us to perform like that. We have turned it around in the
second half and were unfortunate not to get anything from the game, but it
has happened too many times when we have started slowly."

Five Talking Points – International Break

West Ham United's players head off to represent their countries this week -
and there are plenty of intriguing story-lines to follow!

1. Celtic clash

Two West Ham United players go head-to-head in Dublin on Friday evening,
when Darren Randolph's Republic of Ireland host James Collins' Wales in a
crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier. The unbeaten Boys in Green sit top of
Group D with ten points from four matches played, while the UEFA Euro 2016
semi-finalists are also unbeaten but sit third, with six points from four
games. With Ireland having four of their remaining six group games at home,
victory over Wales would put them in a strong position to finish in the top
two, with the runners-up spot all but guaranteed to secure them a play-off.
For Wales, who have played three home games, drawing two, avoiding defeat
would be an acceptable result, but a win would bolster their hopes of
qualifying for another major tournament. Randolph is almost certain to start
and earn his 19th cap, while Collins may have to make do with a seat on the
bench due to Wales' strong and experienced defensive options. The Celtic
clash will be screened live in the UK on S4C and Sky Sports 1.

2. Cheik-up

Cheikhou Kouyate will not have far to travel to captain Senegal this week.
The Lions of Teranga tackle Nigeria in Barnet on Thursday evening, with the
Bees' The Hive playing host to the friendly meeting of two of Africa's
traditional giants. The fixture, as well as a meeting with Cote D'Ivoire in
Paris on Monday, have been lined up in preparation for Senegal's opening
2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Equatorial Guinea in June and
vital 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the autumn. With Senegal having
failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and been knocked out of this
year's Africa Cup of Nations in the quarter-finals, Kouyate and his
star-studded squad will be desperate to make their mark in their next two
major tournaments. Tickets for Thursday's game are available now here.

3. History awaits Josh

Josh Cullen has been enjoying an outstanding season on loan at League One
promotion-chasers Bradford City, where he is in the running to succeed Reece
Burke as the Bantams' Player of the Year. On Saturday, the promising
midfielder will take part in a historic international fixture as Republic of
Ireland U21s host Kosovo in the latter's first-ever UEFA European U21
Championship qualifier in Dublin. Cullen's Ireland are in Group 5 alongside
Germany, Israel, Norway, Azerbaijan and Kosovo, who became members of UEFA
and FIFA in May 2016. The Irish are seeking to make history of their own, as
they have never qualified for the European U21 Championship finals in 15

4. Future stars

While there is much ongoing debate over the future and potential of the Home
Nations and Republic of Ireland, the Hammers continue to do their bit. No
fewer than five young Academy graduates have been called-up this week – Josh
Cullen (Republic of Ireland U21), Reece Oxford and Nathan Trott (England
U19), Declan Rice (Republic of Ireland U19) and Conor Coventry (Republic of
Ireland U17) – while a number of others were placed on standby. With England
manager Gareth Southgate talking this week of the plusses of young players
being involved in competitive football at a young age, these five will
undoubtedly benefit from going away and pulling on their respective
national-team jerseys for important qualifying matches.

5. Make or break for Snoddy

Following Wednesday's friendly with Canada in Edinburgh, Scotland and Robert
Snodgrass face what is a make or break 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier with
Slovenia on Sunday. The Scots welcome Slovenia to Hampden Park in Glasgow
knowing a defeat would all but end their chances of reaching next summer's
finals in Russia. The Tartan Army have just four points from four matches
played and would slip seven behind Slovenia – and potentially nine behind
England – if they lose. For Snodgrass, who will become West Ham's first
Scotland international since Christian Dailly in 2007, there is plenty of
incentive to score an important victory in his home city.

Rice ready for Ireland duty

Declan Rice is part of the Republic of Ireland U19s squad for their upcoming
European qualifiers
The Boys in Green take on Italy, Sweden and Belgium in Group 7
FAI U17 International Player of the Year believes Ireland will have to be at
their very best to qualify

Declan Rice believes the Republic of Ireland U19s need to be at their very
best if they are to qualify for the European Championships which take place
in Georgia in July. The Boys in Green face three tricky qualifiers over the
coming days starting with a tie against Italy on Thursday, before their
final two Group 7 matches against Sweden and Belgium. All the matches take
place in Belgium, with only the group winners guaranteed a spot in the
finals in the summer, and Rice is under no illusions as to how difficult
their three qualifiers will be. "The games coming up are going to be very
tough. We've got three game against three very good sides so we will need to
be at our very best," he said. "Everyone wants to test themselves against
the best teams and the best players. All the lads are excited to get going
on Thursday."

Rice will line up for the Irish U19 side just days after being named
Football Association of Ireland U17 International Player of the Year. The
award is another signal of the huge talent Rice possesses and it also
contributes to what has been a fantastic year so far for the 18-year-old.
He began his season being named captain of West Ham United's U23s at the age
of just 17, before going on to lead the team in Premier League 2, the
Premier League Cup and the Checkatrade Trophy. And after impressing in
various Republic of Ireland age groups, Rice beat Jaysom Molumby (Brighton &
Hove Albion) and Canice Carroll (Oxford United) to the Player of the Year
award at a ceremony in Dublin. "It was a very proud moment for me and my
family. It's something that I work very hard for every day, on and off the
pitch," Rice continued. "It's definitely been a great season for me. I did
not expect the year to go as well as it has at all but it's very nice to
have won the award."

Ireland kick-off their UEFA European U17 Championship Elite Round Group 7
campaign when they face Italy in Hamme on Thursday at 6pm GMT, before
tackling Sweden in Beveren on Saturday at 2pm GMT and Belgium in the same
location on Monday at 6pm BST.

Feghouli - I'm a competitor

Sofiane Feghouli wants to make a positive contribution over the closing
weeks of the season
Algeria star keen to play after recently making eight consecutive Premier
League starts
No7 admits it took him time to settle into life in the hurly-burly of
England's Premier League

As is the case with so many overseas players when they arrive in the
hurly-burly of the English Premier League, Sofiane Feghouli openly admits it
took him time to settle in.

The experienced Algeria winger suffered a hamstring injury in West Ham
United's Betway Cup clash with Juventus in August, just weeks after arriving
from Spanish club Valencia.

That setback saw the No7 ruled out for six weeks and, on his return, he
found it difficult to break into Slaven Bilic's starting XI.

An impressive cameo as a substitute at Swansea City helped his cause,
however, and Feghouli started eight Premier League matches in succession
between January and March, scoring against Crystal Palace and West Bromwich

While the 27-year-old was back on the bench against Leicester City last
weekend but, speaking in general terms, the right-sided attacker is in a
happier place than he was in the autumn.

"I'm happy to be playing," he confirmed. "I couldn't wait to get back on the
pitch, after spending quite a while out of the team. I'm very pleased to be
playing again regularly.

"I haven't changed anything in particular. I just work hard in training and
the coach decided to give me a chance which I had to grab with both hands.

"I've racked up two goals and three assists since I got into the team. I'm
happy about that, particularly with the goals at home in front of our fans
which is always a great feeling. The most important thing, however, is to
help the team win games which is what I enjoy the most because I'm a
competitor and I want to play."

There's plenty of room for progress in this team. It's down to all of us and
the staff to do better. We haven't won recent games due to fine margins

For Feghouli, the switch from La Liga to the Premier League has been
something of a culture shock, particularly in terms of the style of football
he has had to get used to on these shores.

"It's been a radical change in footballing terms," he confirmed. "In Spain,
the game is more about possession, technique and strategy, whereas football
here is more direct.

"It's a big change, but as I said, I'm happy with my statistics so far – two
goals and three assists in not many games. I'm gradually settling in."

Like his manager and teammates, Feghouli readily admits the team's
performances and results have not been good enough in recent weeks.

The Hammers went into the international break – Algeria do not have any
fixtures – on a five-match winless run, and the wideman is determined to end
it when they travel to Hull City on Saturday 1 April.

"I don't like losing," he confirmed. "Every morning I wake up to go to
training to win and that's what I think being a professional is about.

"We haven't won in our last five games now, so we really need to work on
becoming more consistent. There's plenty of room for progress in this team.
It's down to all of us and the staff to do better. We haven't won recent
games due to fine margins.

"We also need to improve defensively because we've been conceding too many
goals. Our target is to finish in the top-half and to entertain our

From the Treatment Room

Head of Medical and Sports Science Stijn Vandenbroucke issues an update – in
association with Spire Roding Hospital...

Hello everyone,

I would like to start by wishing all our international players the best as
they represent their countries over the next few days.

Unfortunately, two of the players who had been called-up were unable to join
as they suffered injuries in the Premier League game with Leicester City on

Michail Antonio was withdrawn from the England squad because he suffered a
muscle injury. He will be unavailable for the first team for three to four

Winston Reid was withdrawn from the New Zealand squad after he suffered a
muscle injury early in the game. Winston will be out for five weeks.

Pedro Obiang suffered a nasty high ankle sprain injury while making a
challenge during the second half. He underwent surgery in London on Tuesday
evening and is now recovering at home.

Unfortunately, he will be unavailable for a significant period, and will be
ready for next season's preparation in July.

Domingos Quina has entered the second phase of his rehab and is now working
on an individual basis in the gym.

Captain Mark Noble will resume training with the first team later this week
and be available to face Hull City on 1 April.

Angelo Ogbonna is progressing well after his knee surgery in late January
and, if his rehab remains on schedule, he will return to training with the
first team in around four to five weeks.

Finally, we have Diafra Sakho, who returned to training with the Under-23s
this week in controlled sessions, meaning that we tailor the sessions to
manage his workload, gradually building him up. He has worked hard this week
and will join the first team soon.

However, we must be mindful that Diaf is essentially at the start of his own
personal pre-season training schedule.

When players return from their off-season, they will go through four to five
weeks of pre-season work to build up their strength and fitness and, after
undergoing back surgery and three months of rehab, a player needs time to
reach sufficient fitness levels before we can contemplate making him
available for selection in the Premier League.

Stijn Vandenbroucke
Head of Medical and Sports Science

West Ham eye Bundesliga star
Filed: Wednesday, 22nd March 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham are one of several Premier League clubs keeping tabs on US
international Bobby Wood. The 24-year-old striker, who hails from Honolulu,
Hawaii currently plays for Hamburg in the Bundesliga - for whom he scored
the winning goal in last weekend's 2-1 defeat Borussia Mönchengladbach. And
that game was watched by a representative from West Ham United - along with
several other top flight scouts from the likes of Southampton, Everton and
Liverpool. Wood has spent the last nine years in Germany having moving to
Europe in 2007 in order to join 1860 Munich - for whom he made his first
team and Bundesliga debut in 2011. He has made 29 appearances for the USA
since first appearing in 2013.

* Rather closer to home and West Ham are once again being linked with a move
for Swansea's attacking midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The 27-year-old Icelandic international was the target of interest from West
Ham in January but remained with Swansea who are currently battling for
their Premier League lives. However the Mirror suggests that West Ham will
make a renewed effort to sign him in the summer.

* Lyon Technical Director Bruno Genesio has confirmed that former Hammers
transfer target Rachid Ghezzal will be leaving the Ligue 1 side this summer.
Speaking on BeIn Sports' Football Show, Genesio said: " Rachid is at the end
of his contract and is likely to leave us. There is a desire there to take
an extra step." Everton and AC Milan have also expressed an interest in
signing the 24-year-old Algerian winger.

The needle and the damage done
Filed: Tuesday, 21st March 2017
By: Rio Barlow

This hasn't been an easy season.

I'd go as far to say it is quite possibly the worst I've encountered in my
34 years of attending games. Not for the performances on the pitch though.
As difficult as it's been, we've endured far, far worse. There's a far more
worrying core to this being so grim.

One of the factors that drew me to football and West Ham in particular was
the sense of belonging, the feeling of unity between the support. It was
like being in a second family. You could with friends, alone, but you were
part of a bigger entity. Friendships outside your social circle formed, mere
nods of acknowledgement made you feel at ease. The Boleyn Ground and its
surrounding areas were though not aesthetically pleasing, gave you a sense
of comfort that was akin to being in your grandparents living room.

With the enforced demise of the our former home, never was a sense of unity
needed more. This was a true test of the spirit of West Ham. We've failed
that test. We've failed it badly.

In essence everything should have been set up perfectly. The hardcore
support we've always had, augmented with the plus 2's. A rag, tag and
bobtail group of lapsed fans, offspring of the Boleyn's incumbents and fresh
support previously unable to attend for one reason or another. But all
invited by the hardcore? So why has it failed? Why has the supposed process
of merely bringing friends and family caused so much angst that it's spilt
over into violence at times? Why then are fingers being pointed at day
trippers, when by and large the majority of the support is supposedly so

We know the migration process was flawed and has destroyed some of the long
standing bonds formed at the old ground. We know the new stadium itself is
far from ideal. But that is what in the past would have drawn us together,
made us stronger. Instead it's sought to drive us further apart. The
hangover from leaving E13 is one that is lingering long and heavy. With no
resolution in sight and nobody seemingly willing to act to bridge the
divide. Until we have a united support, then making our new home a fortress,
a place where opponents, rather than us fear to tread is a long, way away.

This leads me to to the second reason I've hated this season. I'm afraid to
say that social media is sounding the death knell of football. Gone are the
days of going to games, casually discussing the nuances of the match with
friends after.

Now every individual action is played out, error by error, moment of genius
by moment of genius, kick after kick live on Twitter, Facebook etc. by and
large by those not in attendance. Those unable to see the bigger picture.
Those who have little to say, but now big voices. These voices are rapidly
draining the life out of the game.

It's not to say those who don't attend the games are not capable of offering
constructive insight and comment. But those with worthwhile opinion are lost
within swathes of mindless, knee jerk reactionists. Those who's in game
mood-swings would put the most hardened psychiatric experts to the sword.

It makes for difficult reading at the best of times. But having easy access
to vent frustrations directly at players is a step too far. In an era when
most bemoan the lack of characters in the modern game, the detachment
between the players and support, it's ironic that when players do offer a
key point of contact, it's backfired massively. And it's not solely
pre-pubescent teenagers who offer the kind of insightful disdain which would
cause most to roll their eyes. It's created a snowball effect to the stage
far too many grown men (and women. I won't discriminate) who should know
better, feel free to chip in with views that have no place in the public

Some of the abuse directed at players is embarrassing. It's often said that
if you earn £50,000+ a week, then you can shout what you like. But behind
the wealth isn't always the mental strength to go with it. No fan knows the
effect disparaging remarks can have. No fan really knows the circumstances
behind all dips in form. These men are human beings just like the rest of
us. They hurt when loved ones are ill. They all have issues, as do we. Just
because they're athletes, and well paid ones at that, doesn't make them
immune from the same things that affect our mental well-being.

With statistics claiming one in six people suffer from some sort of mental
illness, most notably depression or anxiety, then it's highly likely that
four or five of our current squad will have or be experiencing this. Could
social media abuse fuel this further?

Money can buy a lot of things, but it can't rewire a brain. Some high
profile athletes, Andy Flintoff, Jonathon Trott, Paul Gascoigne, Frank
Bruno, Gary Speed to name but a few have all suffered. And they were by and
large not subjected to the mass hysteria of social media and it's instant
ability to be the instant recipient of public trolling.

With this in mind, do the supporters who insist of jumping on every error
made in games, on every unpopular comment made in interviews really thinking
taking to the Internet really is a way of making players perform better?

Last weeks haranguing of our skipper Mark Noble was a major point in case,
this is a man who has spent his whole career at the club he supported as a
boy. A man with over 300 appearances at the club he represents and feels for
as much as we all do. A man who openly described what we mutually love, as i
did at the top of this article as not a football club, but a family. The
whole move has hit him hard, just as it has us.

Yet one outspoken moment last week saw a reaction on Twitter that left me
shameful of some of our support. Is this really the band of brothers I grew
up with? Is it the same core of like minded kindred spirits who made me feel
part of something special.

In a season that I always felt would be both emotional and tricky, I didn't
expect those closest to me to leave me most hurt.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the
author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be
attributed to,

Who is reported West Ham transfer target Bobby Wood? Here's all you need to
The Hammers have sent scouts to watch Wood in Germany
Football London
13:27, 22 MAR 2017

West Ham have reportedly sent scouts to watch USA international Bobby Wood.
Not exactly a household name but he is on the radar of a couple of Premier
League clubs other than the Hammers as well so we thought we'd have a look
into him and see what he is all about.
Wood is a 24-year-old striker who hails from the exotic paradise of
Honolulu, Hawaii. He's a striker and currently plies his trade in Germany
for Hamburg SV, and scored the winner in last weekend's win over Borussia
Moenchengladbach. That was the game that West Ham had Wood watched,
alongside scouts from Liverpool and Everton. Wood began his footballl career
with the quite fantastically-named Power Edge FC before moving to the
mainland and playing for Irvine Strikers. He then relocated to the Europe in
2007 to join the academy at 1860 Munich in Gerany and eventually made his
way into the first team, going on to make 50 appearances and scoring three
goals. Not exactly outstanding. He moved to Union Berlin in July 2015 and
that's where things started to take a but of an upturn as he broke the
single-season scoring record for an American in the German leagues, netting
17 times and that was enough to earn him a switch to Hamburg despite still
having two years on his Berlin deal. He has scored only five times so far in
20 appearances this season but that has been enough to see him generate
plenty of interest from the Premier League. His international record is
decent as well, having scored eight goals in 29 games for the USMNT so far
in his career. In June 2015, he scored his first goal, a game-winner in a
4–3 victory against the Netherlands.

Jose Fonte: West Ham need to go back to basics to start winning again
Evening Standard

West Ham defender Jose Fonte says the Hammers need to get the basics right
if they want to return to winning ways. Slaven Bilic's side suffered their
third straight defeat in the league on Saturday in their 3-2 loss at home to
revived champions Leicester City. The defeat left West Ham in 12th place,
and going through another tough period this season. Fonte, who joined West
Ham from Southampton in the January transfer window, says the Hammers'
defence is to blame for the recent results and urged the players to start
doing the basics right to ensure victory in games. "Sometimes these things
happen. Having said that, we could have easily won the game. We had the
chances. It didn't happen for us," the 33-year-old told West Ham's official
website. "We tried in the second half with everything we could throw at
them, everything we could. We had two or three great chances to equalise and
win, but we didn't manage to do it.
"We showed character to try everything and not give up. Now it's about
getting back to basics; good defending, clean sheets first. We can create
chances. We're very disappointed and very sad, but we want to pick ourselves
back up."

West Ham travel to take on Premier League strugglers Hull City after the
international break before another away game sees the east Londoners play
London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on 5 April. With matches
against Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool all to come before the end of the
season, Fonte says the team must find a way to change their luck - and fast.
"We have been talking and saying things the whole time for the last two or
three months! Sometimes things don't go your way but you have to try and
change your bit of luck, to try and be more compact and defensive," he
added. "We know that if we try to get some clean sheets, we can do well
because we have seen we can score. It's about back to basics. We need to be
in good positions and just defend."

West Ham star Reece Oxford unexpectedly benched for England U19s against
Oxford's lack of game time might have cost him a starting berth today
Football London
13:39, 22 MAR 2017

Reece Oxford has been surprisingly left on the bench for the England U19
side as they take on Norway at St George's Park this afternoon.
The West Ham centre back, on loan at Reading for the season, has struggled
for game time at the Royals after recovering from an ankle problem and
joining Reading on a six-month loan deal in January. However, he only made
his debut for the club with a 17-minute cameo in a 3-0 defeat to Preston
North End in the Championship. Fellow Hammer Nathan Trott was also named in
the squad for the matches but has not mad todays matchday 16. The Young
Lions will tackle Norway, Spain and Belarus in the UEFA Elite Round
Qualifiers over the next six days, with the winner of their group advancing
to the tournament in Georgia this summer. Oxford has captained the U17s
twice and has been capped twice at U20 level. He is tied down to the Hammers
until 2020 and had been tipped to skipper the side today but it appears that
Oxford may well be being saved for future games despite manager Keith
Downing hinting that Oxford would have been captain.

West Ham eye Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi with Blues likely to opt for
season-long loan move
West Ham were beaten to signing of Michy Batshuayi by Chelsea in the summer
However, the Belgium striker has not had much game time at Stamford Bridge
The Hammers could make a move for the forward and may take him on loan
By Kieran Gill for the Daily Mail and Matt Barlow for the Daily Mail
PUBLISHED: 22:30, 21 March 2017 | UPDATED: 00:25, 22 March 2017

Chelsea outcast Michy Batshuayi could be offered an escape route at the end
of this season by West Ham. The Hammers had a £31million bid accepted in the
summer for Batshuayi before Chelsea came in with £33m and better wages on
offer. And with the 23-year-old struggling for game time this season, Slaven
Bilic, who will be in the market for a striker in the summer, will consider
a move for Batshuayi. Chelsea could opt for a season-long loan rather than a
permanent sale. The former Marseille striker has made 16 appearances in the
Premier League this season — all as a substitute. Meanwhile, Thibaut
Courtois has pledged his long-term future to Chelsea and ruled out the idea
of a transfer to Real Madrid. Courtois has been frequently linked with a
return to the city where he spent three successful years at Atletico Madrid
on loan from Stamford Bridge. But the 24-year-old goalkeeper has said that
he would prefer to stay at Chelsea and extend a contract which is set to
expire in 2019. 'I don't see myself being at Real Madrid. I see myself at
Chelsea. I am happy in London and I am delighted with the success that we
are having this season,' Courtois said.

West Ham unable to recall Reece Oxford from Reading loan despite Winston
Reid injury
West Ham youngster Reece Oxford is currently on loan at Reading
But there is no recall clause in the deal which sent Oxford to the
It means the Hammers are unable to bring him back as cover for Winston Reid
Reid faces at least four weeks out after being injured against Leicester
By Kieran Gill for the Daily Mail
PUBLISHED: 22:43, 21 March 2017 | UPDATED: 00:33, 22 March 2017

West Ham will not be able to recall Reece Oxford from his loan at Reading.
There is no clause in the contract to say that the 18-year-old defender can
be brought back from the Championship club following injury to Winston Reid.
Reid is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks, meaning West Ham will
have to make do with James Collins and Jose Fonte as a centre-back pairing.
It is understood the same situation applies to Reece Burke, who is on loan
at Wigan. Reid suffered an adductor injury in the first half of the Hammers'
defeat by Leicester at the weekend, while Pedro Obiang picked up an ankle
injury in the same game which could keep him out for the rest of the season.
Winger Michail Antonio suffered a hamstring problem which has forced him to
withdraw from the England squad to face Germany and Lithuania and faces
three to four weeks out. Oxford has played just twice for Reading during his
loan spell at the Championship club.

Enner Valencia has become Everton FC's man to make things happen
The Ecuador international certainly has an impact when he's on the pitch
Daily Post
18:17, 21 MAR 2017

Enner Valencia is the man who makes things happen for Everton . The West Ham
loanee has played the equivalent of one 100-minute match for the Blues so
far this year report the Liverpool Echo . But adding up the goals scored
during Valencia's actual time on the pitch, Everton won 8-1! The Ecuadorian
international's loan spell at Everton has been a slow burner. After arriving
on transfer deadline day, his only start before December was the home defeat
by Norwich in the EFL Cup . But as Christmas loomed he enjoyed an impressive
start against Arsenal , kept his place for the Goodison derby and started
again at Hull City on December 30. It was as 2017 dawned, though, that
Valencia's Goodison spell took off. He was an impact substitute who made a
big splash against Southampton on January 2 - breaking the deadlock in a
match which had looked consigned to end goalless. Eight minutes later he was
brought down for the penalty from which Leighton Baines clinched all three
points. Romelu Lukaku added another in the 89th minute for good measure. He
had to wait almost six weeks for his next Premier League run-out, and even
his influence couldn't budge Middlesbrough 's parked bus in a dull
stalemate. But a fortnight later he was making things happen again - coming
on for the final 20-minutes against Sunderland during which time Lukaku
clinched a solid 2-0 win. The Belgian had just brought Everton back into the
match at White Hart Lane when Valencia was next introduced, and the
Ecuadorian scored his second Everton goal during his nine minutes on the
pitch. Then came last weekend against Hull - 13 minutes on the pitch, a goal
after 69-seconds and an assist for Lukaku - taking his 2017 tally to Everton
8 Opposition 1. Quite an influence - and an impression Valencia is hoping to
extend after an international double-header for his country against Paraguay
and Colombia. "When I get back, it is straight into the derby, a really
important game," said Valencia. "We then have Manchester United away, so it
is two big games.

"I was happy scoring another goal against Hull. I managed to score very
quickly after coming on. I was pleased that I managed to control and finish
after the one-two with Romelu Lukaku.

"I'm very happy to score in my last two games but the most important thing
is the team. It was an important three points against Hull."

Valencia faces a long haul journey back from Ecuador in the small hours of
next Wednesday morning ahead of his potential Anfield date.

But at least the return journey is quicker than his outward trip.

Everton FC youngster preparing for comeback
"It's a long trip going out - three flights. Manchester to Amsterdam,
Amsterdam to Sao Paulo and then Sao Paulo to Asuncion," he said.

"I'm lucky that the return flight is one stop less. We are going direct from
Quito to Madrid and then Madrid to Manchester."

And then hopefully onto the Anfield pitch to make another big impression.
West Ham to return with bid for Swansea's Gylfi Sigurdsson
The Hammers see the Icelandic midfielder as the perfect replacement for
Dimitri Payet
Football London
19:14, 21 MAR 2017

West Ham will attempt to sign Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson this
summer. The Hammers originally earmarked the Icelandic international as a
January signing to replace Marseille-bound Dimitri Payet. Swansea, however,
rejected the bid and the midfielder reiterated his desire to stay. Slaven
Bilic's side are now set to make another bid to lure the playmaker to East
London in an attempt to freshen up their attacking options. It is thought
West Ham are also in the market for a striker, although a move for Wayne
Rooney looks highly unlikely because of his age and expected wage demands.

The pros and cons of a West Ham move for Wayne Rooney
Should the Hammers try to sign the Manchester United captain?
Football London
07:00, 22 MAR 2017

Two things are looking increasingly likely this summer: West Ham will sign
new a striker and Wayne Rooney will need a new club. The Manchester United
captain has seen his playing time greatly reduced since Jose Mourinho rocked
up at Old Trafford and the latest reports say that Rooney will finally leave
United after 13 years at the club. It looks like Rooney will head back to
boyhood club Everton, but could West Ham do what Arsenal and Chelsea never
could and tempt him to make the move to London? Here's a look at the reasons
why it could happen - but also why it might not.

Pro: West Ham need a striker

First and foremost, the Hammers should at the very least enquire about
Rooney on the basis that they need a striker for next season.
As good as Andy Carroll can be when he's fit, he's almost never fit. He may
not be the player he once was but Rooney could benefit from a complete
change in scenery and thrive at the London Stadium.

Con: The wages

Rooney won't come cheap, and if West Ham are to lure him away from an
Everton return, they're going to have to be ready to invest in him.
David Sullivan and co are not exactly renowned for splashing the cash and
they may feel uncomfortable about dropping that much money on someone of
Rooney's age.

Pro: Rooney wants to play

From a purely selfish perspective for Rooney, he wants to play and West Ham
can offer him that. At Everton he'll either be behind Romelu Lukaku in the
pecking order or brought in as his replacement, which would bring upon a
whole new kind of pressure. While he still has a bit more to give, I don't
think Rooney could step in and replace somebody like Lukaku. If the Toffees
try and fail to make that switch, it could be an ugly end to a storied

Con: The call of "home"

Rooney is 31 now, which in footballing terms is like being in your late 50s.
He's surely starting to think about retirement and his legacy and having won
everything there was to win at Manchester United, he'd love to come "home"
to Everton and give them what remains.
If he could even deliver an EFL Cup to Goodison Park, it would be a job well
done and the allure of playing for his boyhood club once more may be too
much for West Ham to fight.

Pro: Rooney the teacher

For the Hammers, having Rooney on the books would be a perfect time to bring
back Toni Martinez from his loan at Oxford and allow Rooney to teach him
alongside Ashley Fletcher. While it might not pay dividends immediately,
surely West Ham's young strikers can learn a thing or two from England's
record goalscorer.

Con: He's an unknown quantity

Let's be honest, it's hard to tell just how much Rooney has left in the
tank. It's clear that he's no longer up to the standard of a team looking
for Champions League football, but could he help a team like West Ham get
back to the Europa League? Rooney has not played a lot this year and it's
hard to gauge where he is both physically and mentally. Having made an early
breakthrough to senior football at just 16-years-old, it's quite possible
that his career will also come to an end prematurely.

Pro: A statement of intent

Moving to the London Stadium was supposed to be a statement of intent from
West Ham that the club was ready to kick on to the next level and battle for
regular European football. In order to do that though, they'll need to
attract top-class talent too. And for all his faults, Wayne Rooney is still
massively respected around the world. Capturing his signature would send a
message that West Ham are not happy with simply finishing in mid-table and
could inspire them to follow a similar trajectory to neighbours Spurs, who
have established themselves within the Premier League top four.

By Iain Dale 22 Mar 2017 at 08:00

Sometimes we fans are a fickle lot. Lose three matches on the spin and the
players are all rubbish. The manager must go. It's verging on the
ridiculous. We forget previous successes, we forget that much the same team
(with one big and rather obvious exception) nearly qualified for the
Champions League last season. We forget that moving to a new stadium was
always going to make this season more difficult than it might otherwise have
been. Heads are called for. The manager is incompetent and every player
should be transferred out of the club as soon as practically possible.

What utter tosh.

Sometimes we should be careful what we wish for. Sometimes it really is
worth sticking with nurse for fear of something worse, and this is one of
those times. Look, I'm not stupid, I recognise that this season has seen
some pretty inexplicable things happening at West Ham. We have a manager who
was one of the best defenders ever to wear the claret & blue short, yet so
far this season we have conceded 52 goals. In the whole of last season we
conceded 51. We can't just blame it on injuries and the fact that we have
rarely played with the same back four. It goes deeper than that. In part
it's because we haven't had a regular back four. Sam Byram has never really
been given a chance. OK, he has been injured but when he's fit why not play
him so he gets a run in the team? He's had one bad game and now we are told
that he isn't really rated and will be moved on in the summer. We're now
down to the bare bones in central defence with the injury to Winston Reid.
So why did we loan out both the Reeces? Ask me another.

Do I lay that all at Bilic's door? Well yes, I suppose I do, but even then,
it's not enough for me to want him gone. I want him to stay because I can
see what he is trying to achieve. He buys into West Ham in a way that few
other managers could. Do we seriously believe Roberto Mancini would see West
Ham as anything other than a stepping stone to get back into managing a
Champions League club? His awful defensive way of playing would make us all
hanker after Sam Allardyce within a few weeks. And I'm not joking. Has he
ever managed a club that didn't have zillions of spondoolicks for him to
waste? No. Could he relate to 'the West Ham Way'? If you're David Sullivan
or Karren Brady and you're reading this, rearrange these words into a
sentence – touch with a don't bargepole.

Are there any British managers who we'd be crying out to recruit? I can
think of a few who might fancy their chances, and even do a decent job –
Gary Monk being one – but what confidence would we have that they'd be any
better than what we have got.

The truth is, even though the current team have been frustrating to watch
this season, at times, they have played excellent football. The trouble is
they haven't managed it over a ninety minute period. Too often we've been
brilliant for the first half an hour and then withered away (Watford home,
for example). Too often we've been useless for the first half and then only
sparked into life in the second half (cf Leicester home). We've been
consistently inconsistent.

Given that we were at one point firmly anchored in the bottom three, we now
hover between 9th and 12th. It could have been oh so different.

It's not that we're not scoring goals. We are. We've scored 40 in 29, a more
than acceptable return in some ways. Our attacking play has sometimes been
scintillating, but we didn't get that 20 goal a striker we were promised in
the summer. No it is not. Yes, some of his signings have been ropey – Zaza
and Tore are the two most blatant examples, but the fact is they were loan
signings. But there's plenty on the other side of the balance sheet. Obiang.
Lanzini. Antonio. Just for starters. All managers buy duds as well as the
odd jewel and Bilic is no different.

Who could have foreseen what would happen with Payet. We were all taken in
by him. When the situation became intolerable Bilic fronted up and told us
exactly what had happened. I don't think a single one of us blamed anyone
other than Payet. So far as I am concerned Bilic did the only thing he
could. He didn't bullshit us, even though he so easily could have.

We're told that Bilic needs to finish 8th or 9th to get an extension to his
contract, and he needs to finish tenth to avoid the sack. Well that's just
plain ridiculous. Given our trials and tribulations I regard anything above
14th as a decent season. My guess is that we'll finish between 10th and

In some ways it's up to the players. If we get to 40 points in the next few
games there is a real possibility that they will switch off and mentally go
on holiday. For Bilic that could be fatal. So in the end they have got to
decide: do we want Slaven as our manager next season, or do we not? We will
soon get our answer.

Given our injuries, if I were Slaven I'd change the team around a bit. The
first thing I would do is tell Edimilson Fernandes that we had a first team
start for every game for the rest of the season. He's brilliant in every
game he's played. He has an eye for goal, he can beat players, he's quick,
he's strong and he can tackle. Yes, he has the odd rush to the head, but
he's young and fairly inexperienced. He may be one for the future but he's
also one for the present. If Slaven gives Fernandes a chance he'll play his
guts out for him.

Well that's the case for the defence, even if I have gone out of my way to
point out some of Bilic's weaknesses. I have every confidence that he will
succeed and that if we recruit three or four top class players in the summer
and get rid of some of the dead wood we can have a really good season next
time around.

It's the hope that kills you, eh?

West Ham hopeful of signing Defoe on free transfer – report
Date published: Wednesday 22nd March 2017 8:16

West Ham United are set go back in for Sunderland star Jermain Defoe this
summer – and beleive they can get him on a free. The 34-year-old striker has
just been recalled to the England squad after four-years out after another
good campaign with the Black Cats.
The Sun claims that Slaven Bilic wants to snap Defoe up, with the ex-Spurs
man available for free if the Wearsiders are relegated.
Defoe has been in wonderful form this season, scoring 14 of Sunderland's 24
Premier League goals, but it may not be enough to keep them up. Sunderland
are currently seven points from safety with ten matches to go, meaning it
would take somewhat of a miracle for David Moyes' side to beat the drop. A
Hammers source told The Sun: "We remain interested in Jermain after trying
to sign him in January.
"He's 34 but his call up for England tells you everything you need to know.
We want to discover where he stands on the contract.
"We believe it's a free if they go down. Although his wages are high it
would be a good deal for us. "We think he would love to finish his days at
the club that groomed him. We will have a good look at him on April 15 when
we are up there."

Does Everton interest in Willian Jose signify end of West Ham's chances?
Dan Coombs

Everton's interest in Willian Jose is bad news for West Ham. Everton are
taking a close interest in Brazilian attacker Willian Jose, report The Sun.
The forward has struck 11 goals in 24 games for Real Sociedad this season,
and is reported to be valued at around £25 million. The 25-year-old was last
month claimed by Calcio Mercato to be on West Ham's radar, with the East
London club continually looking for reinforcements in attack. Everton's
interest in the forward could be significantly damaging to West Ham's own
aspirations of landing the goalscorer. The Toffees for one are higher placed
in the Premier League this season, and better set to convince Willian Jose
that he would be joining a club on the up, compared to West Ham who have
gone backwards on their seventh placed finish of last season and face a
fight to finish in the top 10, currently sitting 12th. Everton are also
better equipped financially to splash the cash, thanks to the investment of
Iranian mogul Farhad Moshiri. Recent comments from Romelu Lukaku urging him
to do so make it likely the Toffees will invest heavily this summer, and
they could potentially blow West Ham out of the water. Should they sell
Lukaku, they will have even more funds available. If Lukaku stays, Everton
could argue than playing alongside the Belgian would be more tempting to
Willian Jose than the prospect of partnering Andy Carroll at West Ham. A
deal for West Ham is not impossible if they make more of an effort, and try
to go the extra mile to show the La Liga ace that he is wanted by them more
than at Everton, potentially even being able to offer a clearer shot of
first team football. If Everton went all out, it could really hamper West
Ham's hopes of signing the former Real Madrid loanee, forcing Slaven Bilic's
side to focus on alternatives instead.

Why West Ham should do everything they can to sign Gylfi Sigurdsson in the
summer transfer window
The Hammers have been linked with a move for the Swansea City star
Football London
08:26, 22 MAR 2017

Swansea City won't be about to let their best player leave the club without
a fight - but West Ham should be doing all they can to secure the signature
of Gylfi Sigurdsson. Who knows where the Swans would be without their star
man this campaign. The Iceland international has been absolutely
instrumental in keeping his side in the hunt for Premier League survival
this season. Not only does Sigurdsson come up with the important goals in
the big games, but he creates a multitude of chances for those around him
too. So often this campaign, the Hammers have been lacking in the final
third - whether that be creating chances for Andy Carroll, or finishing them
when the main striker isn't in the side. Gylfi Sigurdsson has proven,
especially this season, that he can be the answer to that problem.
Every team needs a player that can create a goal out of absolutely nothing -
someone who has the quality to dismantle a Premier League defence almost
effortlessly. West Ham haven't really had that so far this campaign, but
Swansea City have in Sigurdsson. The Iceland international has got the most
assists in the Premier League this season with 11 - which is no small feat
considering he has been playing for a relegation threatened side. The
27-year-old has also bagged himself eight goals this season - which only
Michail Antonio in the West Ham squad can top this season. The stats go even
further to suggest why the Hammers should throw everything at Sigurdsson.
The Swansea City man has made 47 key passes this season - 16 more than
Manuel Lanzini and a full 20 more than Antonio. Sigurdsson also runs away
with it in terms of chances created with 58 - which is 25 more than any West
Ham player can boast. As mentioned before, it's that creativity that would
be absolutely essential for Slaven Bilic's side if they were to sign the
midfielder. And it's exactly why they should throw all they've got at the


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