Saturday, March 25

Daily WHUFC News - 25th March 2017

Skipper Cheik plays as Senegal draw

Cheikhou Kouyate captained his Senegal side as they recorded a 1-1 draw against Nigeria at Barnet's Hive Stadium
Declan Rice was also in winning action for the Republic of Ireland's U19s
On Wednesday, Robert Snodgrass helps Scotland to 1-1 international friendly draw with Canada in Edinburgh

West Ham United midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate captained his Senegal side on Thursday night as they recorded a 1-1 draw against fellow African outfit Nigeria at The Hive Stadium, home of Barnet FC. The 27-year-old, who is now the national side's regular skipper, was making his 34th appearance for the Lions of Teranga in the friendly fixture. Fenerbahce forward Moussa Sow, who is on loan from UAE side Al-Ahli, gave Senegal the lead ten minutes into the second half as he found the bottom corner from inside the box. But seven minutes before the end, Manchester City starlet Kelechi Iheanacho converted from the penalty spot to level things in north London.
Kouyate will next travel to Paris with his international teammates to contest another all-African friendly, as Senegal face the Ivory Coast at the Stade Sebastien Charlety.

Elsewhere on Thursday, the Hammers' U23 captain Declan Rice helped his Republic of Ireland U19s squad to a vital UEFA European Championship victory over Italy. The young Boys in Green, facing the Italians in the Elite Round phase of the competition, had Wolves forward Conor Levingston and Birmingham man Ronan Hale to thank as they were the goalscorers in Belgian town Hamme. Rice, who was recently named the Republic of Ireland's U17 Player of the Year, played the full 90 minutes for his side.

On Wednesday, Robert Snodgrass became West Ham United's first Scotland international in ten years as he featured in the Tartan Army's 1-1 friendly draw with Canada. And the winger, signed from Hull City in January, nearly celebrated the occasion with a goal, only for his first half effort to come back off the post. As it was, Scotland had to make do with a draw, with Norwich City's Steven Naismith equalising after Fraser Aird – who plays in Scotland for Falkirk – had given the Canadians a shock lead at Easter Road in Edinburgh. Snodgrass, who became West Ham's first Scotland international since Christian Dailly in May 2007, completed the full 90 minutes as his nation prepared for Sunday's FIFA World Cup qualifier with Slovenia in Glasgow. Scotland go into that game knowing defeat would leave their chances of reaching next summer's finals in Russia hanging by a thread, and manager Gordon Strachan has labelled the tie 'must-win' after 3-0 defeats in England and Slovakia. "He's right in what he says," Snodgrass, who netted a hat-trick in his country's opening 5-1 qualifying win in Malta last year, told BBC Scotland. "The lads know that. We know we need to get back to winning ways. "When you lose games against Slovakia and England, you're going to get the criticism that goes with it. "We need to be ready and we need to take our chances when we get them on the night." Sunday's tie with Slovenia will be screened live in the UK by Sky Sports 1, with kick-off at Hampden Park at 7.45pm.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Reece Oxford appeared as a second-half substitute as England kicked-off their UEFA European U19 Championship Elite Round qualifiers with a 3-0 win over Norway at St George's Park. England take on Spain – who thrashed Belarus 5-0 on Wednesday – at the same venue on Friday, before facing Belarus on Monday. Only the group winners will qualify for this summer's finals in Georgia.

Mediawatch - 24 March

A Hammers star is in line for a new contract this summer, according to this morning's papers...

Winston Reid has been one of the Hammers' stand-out performers this season, and now the New Zealand defender is set to be rewarded with a new contract in the summer, this report in The Sun says.

A source is quoted as saying: "He is highly-valued by the club. We want to increase his buyout clause as well, there will be no risks taken to lose him cheap.

"He has given us so many years of good service and is respected that it's only fair he's one of the top earners."

Meanwhile, Diafra Sakho is still hoping to return to first team action before the end of the season.

The Senegal international began training with the U23s this week following a back injury, and this Mirror piece says a return for the 15 April meeting with Sunderland is a possibility, should everything go well.

There's more on the story linking Jermain Defoe with a second spell at West Ham in The Sun, with Ian Wright claiming the Sunderland striker would love a move back to east London.

Yesterday's papers said the Hammers are considering a summer transfer for Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu, although the Daily Star reckon Barcelona would provide competition for his signature.

Finally, Andy Carroll might have missed out on the England squad for this set of international fixtures, but he is still dreaming of a World Cup place for next summer.

In a Mirror interview, he discusses that, and his way of relaxing away from the pitch - taking his two dogs for walks in the Essex countryside.

Kouyate - If we win then this is good

Cheikhou Kouyate says confidence will quickly return if West Ham United win at Hull City
Hammers star helped Senegal to 1-1 draw with Nigeria in north London on Thursday
No8 believes Andy Carroll should have been called-up by England

Cheikhou Kouyate believes West Ham United are only one win from confidence flooding back through their Claret and Blue veins.
The Hammers went into the international break on a five-match Premier League winless run, culminating in a tough 3-2 home defeat by Leicester City at London Stadium on Saturday. Speaking to Ian 'Moose' Abrahams following Senegal's 1-1 friendly draw with Nigeria in north London on Thursday evening, Kouyate said victory at Hull City on 1 April will see the Hammers regain their belief for the final weeks of the season. "We played five games and when you don't win, and if you don't win every time then you have 'This is no good, this is no good!'," he explained. "If we win one game, everything comes and confidence comes, so if we win then this is good."

Kouyate captained Senegal in Barnet on Wednesday, starting the game in central midfield before moving to centre-back after coach Aliou Cisse made a succession of second-half substitutions. The Lions of Teranga went ahead through Moussa Sow's goal before Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho equalised from the penalty spot in a game organised to prepare both clubs for future Africa Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup qualifiers. "It was a very good game," said the Hammer. "We were playing against a very good team in Nigeria, who are one of the best teams in Africa, so 1-1 is a good result. "It was a good game and it was possible for us to win this game, but after they scored from a penalty and made it 1-1, it was a good result for Senegal. "I played in a lot of different positions, but I can tell you my best position is midfield, and centre-back is better than right-back, you know!"

While Kouyate and company are off to Paris to take on Ivory Coast on Monday, his West Ham teammate Andy Carroll remains at Rush Green after being overlooked by England. The No8 believes Carroll should have received the call from Gareth Southgate after scoring six goals in 14 Premier League appearances since returning from injury in December. "For me, I don't understand why England don't call Andy because he has scored a lot of goals, but that is down to the manager," Kouyate observed. "Maybe he will be called in the next international break."

Coventry keen for successive wins

Conor Coventry is keen to help West Ham United U18s to successive wins this weekend
The Hammers take on Blackburn Rovers in Merit Group A on Saturday
Coventry has recently returned from helping Republic of Ireland U17s qualify for the European Championship finals

Conor Coventry is eager to help his U18 teammates pick up their second win in succession this weekend, just days after returning from Republic of Ireland U17 duty. Coventry was part of the squad that qualified for the UEFA U17 European Championships after winning all three group games over the past week. They began by beating Faroe Islands 4-0 before securing qualification with a 1-0 win over Slovakia. The youngsters maintained their 100% record with a 2-0 victory over Cyprus in their final Group 8 fixture. The team therefore qualified for the Euros without conceding a goal, and Coventry admits he is already excited at the prospect of playing for his country at the tournament finals. "I'll be very excited if I'm included in the squad and hopefully I can get to show what I'm capable of on the big stage," he said. "We were very pleased with all three of the games to be fair. They were all very different games. The first one, we dominated but in the other two we had to dig in a little bit more and work a bit harder. "There's a good feel about the group going into the Euros and we are confident in what we are doing. "We've got the traditional Irish team ethic and spirit but we've got a bit of style as well which hasn't always been put next to an Ireland team. We're feeling good that we've combined both and that's given us a lot of belief. "

Coventry returned to training with the Hammers on Thursday and is expected to play a part as Steve Potts's team aim for back-to-back victories. The U18s host Blackburn Rovers on Saturday and Coventry is confident that the team can carry on the feel-good factor from last weekend's dramatic win over Reading. "I saw the result and heard the boys done really well," Coventry added. "It's great for [Anthony] Scully to get a goal as well. Everyone seems quite confident and we're keen to get another win on Saturday. "I don't know too much about Blackburn but we played them last season and it was a tough game. They're a physical side and they do the dirty side of the game quite well so it will be tough."

West Ham United U18s take on Blackburn Rovers in U18 Premier League Merit Group A on Saturday (11am). The match takes place at Little Heath Sports Ground where parking and admission are both free.

Cullen primed for start of qualifying

Josh Cullen believes it is important for Republic of Ireland U21s to focus on themselves against Kosovo on Saturday
The match will be Kosovo's first competitive one at U21 level
The 20-year-old also said it was an honour to be nominated for FAI U21 International Player of the Year

Josh Cullen believes it is important for Republic of Ireland U21s to focus on their own performance as they face European new boys Kosovo on Saturday.

The match takes place at the Tallaght Stadium in Dublin (1pm kick-off) and kickstarts the Boys in Green's 2019 UEFA European Championships qualifying campaign.

It also signals Kosovo's first ever competitive fixture, since being allowed to play against FIFA members as of 2013.

Cullen, currently on loan at Sky Bet League One side Bradford City, admits their opponents are somewhat of an unknown quantity, but thinks the home side have enough quality to pick up the three points.

"We've had a chat with the staff about them [Kosovo] and I think this is only their fourth match," he said. "They've only played three friendlies before so they haven't played much as a team.

"It's very hard to gauge how they're going to play but we just have to focus on ourselves. I'm confident if we go into the game playing to our full potential and giving 100% that we can get the win.

"It's the only qualifier this season so that makes it even more important to get off to a good start. If we don't win, we'll have a long time to wait until September for our next qualifier."

As well as being selected yet again for Noel King's U21 side, Cullen was also nominated for the Football Association of Ireland U21 International Player of the year award.

He missed out on winning the award to Bristol City's Callum O'Dowda, but the 20-year-old was still immensely proud of his nomination and he hopes to follow in O'Dowda's footsteps.

"It was a privilege to be nominated for the award. It's been my first campaign at U21 level and I've been one of the more younger players at this age group," Cullen continued.

"Obviously it was a proud moment for my family as well. Callum was a worthy winner because he's had a great year, being called up to the senior side. That's obviously my long-term goal and hopefully I can follow in his footsteps.

"It was a great night to be a part of. Lots of the senior squad were there and I saw Darren [Randolph] who I haven't seen for a while. It was a good occasion."

Fonte has dual focus

Jose Fonte and UEFA Euro 2016 winners Portugal host Hungary in Lisbon on Sunday
Centre-back aiming for qualification for his first FIFA World Cup finals
Fonte also wants to enjoy a successful future with West Ham United

European champions Portugal continue their quest to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals when they host Hungary in Lisbon on Saturday.

Jose Fonte and the UEFA Euro 2016 winners go into the weekend sitting second in Group B behind Edimilson Fernandes' Switzerland, with four of ten qualifying matches played.

The Swiss hold a three-point edge over the Portuguese after beating them 2-0 in September, but Fonte and company could go top of the group if they beat Hungary and Switzerland lose at home to Latvia.

The West Ham United centre-back has started and finished all four of Portugal's qualifiers so far, including back-to-back 6-0 wins over Faroe Islands and Andorra and a 4-1 home victory over Latvia in November.

With Cristiano Ronaldo scoring freely – he has seven goals in four qualifiers – Fonte and company will be confident of continuing an outstanding run of form that has seen them lose just once in their last 13 internationals.

The defender has excelled himself, establishing himself as a regular since making his debut at the age of 30 in October 2014. However, the 33-year-old insists his focus also remains on helping his Club turn around their own run of five winless Premier League matches.

"I look forward to it, obviously," Fonte told "It's always an honour to play for your country. It will be good to see the boys and to be with them, but I want to succeed here. I want to win here.

"Obviously I want to win with Portugal and we'll give our best but I want to win with West Ham and start to put things right and start to get good results, because that's why I came here; to win. I'll be giving my all to put that right."

Despite their outstanding performance at Euro 2016, Portugal have only been beyond the Round of 16 at the World Cup finals once, when they finished fourth in 2006.

Portugal's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier with Hungary kicks-off at 7.45pm on Saturday, but the tie will not be shown live on TV in the UK. However, Fernandes' Switzerland versus Latvia will be screened on Sky Sports 1 via the Red Button from 5pm on the same day.


Hello Hammers. Here is Friday's lunchtime round up.

Slaven Bilic is keen on a deal for former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou. (Talksport)

I remember him when he was at Arsenal, and I cannot recall him ever being that good. It sounds like he has improved his game since leaving Arsenal, but I really do not see the point in this deal as I think we have enough centre backs. Next season we will have Reid, Ogbonna, Fonte, Collins, Burke and Oxford. That is more then enough cover for me.

Ian Wright says Jermain Defoe wants to quit Sunderland and return to West Ham in the summer. (The Sun)

With each day that goes by, it seems like Jermain is edging closer and closer to a return. If we do sign him, then I will be very happy with that. I have always liked Defoe and he has always been one of the best strikers around. He may be 35, but he still scores goals. That is exactly what we need in my opinion.

West Ham are looking at a deal for Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu in the summer. (Tribal Football)

I am not too sure what to make of this one. I think he is a good player on his day, but he is very inconsistent. He is still young however, so he has time on his hands. I would probably take him for the right price.

West Ham United are planning to spend big money in the summer. (HITC)

I should think we are too. Last summer was a massive disappointment for everyone, and this year is huge. It is a chance for the board to make a statement for our future. I am excited to see what happens this time around, because I think we are in for a brilliant summer window.

Former West Ham striker Carlton Cole is close to joining Billericay Town. (Essex Live)

A true West Ham legend in my opinion. He gave so much of his career to West Ham, and despite not being the best technically, he gave his all for West Ham every time he played. Good luck on your move Carlton.

Winston Reid will be offered a new and improved contract at the end of the season. (The Sun)

Winston is fully deserving of a new contract in my opinion. He has been very consistent for us this year, so I think it is only right that he is rewarded for that. I also hope that he recovers from his injury and gets back on the pitch soon.

Andy Carroll refuses to give up on World Cup dream as he reveals the secret behind his recent good run of form
Carroll loves nothing more than to get away from the pressures of the game by relaxing with his family and taking his three dogs for a walk in the Essex countryside
The Mirror
22:30, 23 MAR 2017UPDATED10:34, 24 MAR 2017

As Andy Carroll prepares to take his beloved three dogs for another peaceful walk in the Essex countryside, he will continue to keep alive his dream of playing for England at the World Cup next summer.

The West Ham United striker was strongly tipped to win a place back in the England squad following his impressive form for the Hammers this season, but was overlooked by Gareth Southgate as he opted to recall veteran forward Jermain Defoe.

There is no question that Carroll brings something different to the party and he could have made a big difference in Dortmund on Wednesday night as the England strikers failed to find a way past the German defence.

Carroll would love the chance to build on his nine caps for his country which included playing at the Euro Finals, but injuries have derailed his career over the last few years and his last appearance for England came back in 2012.

Five years might have passed since his last game against Poland, but Carroll is now a changed man and for all the right reasons.

You would think that the media circus that has surrounded Carroll throughout his career would take it's toll on the 28-year-old - but nothing could be further from the truth.

Much of his transformation is down to his settled home life and the Hammers striker has never felt so happy following the birth of son Arlo.

They say behind every great man there is a great woman and this is certainly the case with Carroll.

The ex-Liverpool and Newcastle forward is the first to admit that his partner and former TV reality star Billi Mucklow keeps him in line and 'is the boss' around the Carroll household.

You would think the modern day Premier League footballer would have everything done for them with the millions in the bank - but Carroll is very much his own man.

He explains: "I normally get up early to take the dogs out - the two little ones stay at home first thing because they are carnage if I take them out then.

"I take Blu, a cane corso, out and am lucky that I live among a lot of fields so I can just walk and get away from the missus for a bit who is telling me what to do!

"It is a busy morning for me when Billi goes off to the gym and I have to get Arlo ready as well. Of course I enjoy it and feel like a stay at home dad, even though that is not the case! People can call me Mrs Doubtfire but I would rather call it Mary Poppins!"

It is not just Carroll who thinks his missus is the boss. Defender and close friend Aaron Cresswell was the first to crucify the Hammers forward over his choice of PINK shoes at a recent film premier of 'Iron Men' which the first-team squad attended.

But he soon changed his views when he found out that the shoes were a Christmas present from Billi.

Carroll added: "My missus got me the shoes and when I opened them I thought what are these?

"She said I thought you would like them. I wore them for the first time and when Cressy picked me up to go to the premiere, he said 'Mate, take them off straight away'.

"I said you will have to tell Billi because she bought them for me as a present. He didn't want to tell her and all of a sudden said they were really nice! He is scared of her and she is the boss!

"When I saw the pictures I was chuffed with them and thought I had pulled them off! You can see that Cressy and Snods are laughing at my shoes, but I don't mind that as Snods has the worst dress sense you have ever seen! I can take those pink shoes any day!"

It is not just the pink shoes that you would normally associate with Carroll. A night out at the Royal Opera House is probably the last place you would expect to see the West Ham striker.

But the talented forward showed another side to his character as he took his seat to watch Sleeping Beauty and said he loved every minute of it.

"Me and my missus like to surprise each other with random stuff. It was her turn going somewhere and to be honest I have always wanted to see opera and ballet.

"When we first walked in I didn't really know what was going on and she was winding me up about the different things we were going to see. I really enjoyed it and would 100 per cent go and see another show.

"I don't think anyone noticed me. People probably looked over and thought, 'No, it can't be Andy Carroll at the ballet!'"

Carroll will be out with his dogs once again this weekend when England play a World Cup Qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley, but the much changed Hammers star will never give up his quest to play for the Three Lions once again at the showpiece event in Russia next summer.

As part of their commitment to affordable family football, West Ham United announced a price freeze on season ticket renewals at London Stadium for the 2017/18 season, with the club confirming record breaking renewal numbers in the opening week. For more info, click here.

Ian Wright reveals why West Ham's supporters should welcome Jermain Defoe back to the club
Defoe left West Ham under a cloud in February 2004 as he joined Spurs shortly after the Hammers were relegated
The Mirror
17:20, 24 MAR 2017

Ian Wright has told West Ham's fans to forgive Jermain Defoe and welcome him back to the club. Defoe left the Hammers in February 2004, a few months after he submitted a transfer request the day after they were relegated from the Premier League. His acrimonious exit left a bitter taste in the mouths of West Ham's supporters and Defoe has since enjoyed spells in the top flight with Tottenham, Portsmouth and Sunderland. Defoe appears to represent Sunderland's only chance of staying in the Premier League this season and Wright believes the forward, 34, would be keen to return to West Ham if the Black Cats do go down, Chronicle Live report. "I've spoken to him (Defoe) in the past and he has said he'd love to be able to go back and right that wrong," Wright told The Sun. "We're talking about a young guy who was badly advised. "The day after you go down, you hand in a transfer request. That is just terrible "He did that because he was advised to do that. His agent kicked West Ham when they were down. I bet nobody remembers the agent but everybody still remembers Jermain Defoe. "There's always going to be fans that never forgive you but you can only try and change the attitude of people. And if there's anyone who can score goals to change the attitude of people, then I think it's Defoe."

Andy Carroll prepares himself for Hammers version of 'Come Dine with Me' as team-spirit grows even stronger
The West Ham United striker is ready to win the battle of the dinner parties but knows the importance of his team-mates forging a strong relationship away from the pitch
The Mirror
07:00, 25 MAR 2017

Andy Carroll insists the team spirit at West Ham has never been stronger and there could be a new East End version of 'Come Dine with Me' as the players bond even closer off the pitch In an exclusive interview with the Mirror this week, the talented forward revealed how he has become a changed man thanks to his settled home life in the Essex countryside. But Carroll is very much a pivotal part of the Hammers team and has been instrumental in organising dinner parties with his team-mates. The Hammers forward likes to think the Carroll's will come out on top when it comes to the best cuisine but knows they face stiff competition from the likes of Aaron Cresswell, Winston Reid and James Collins! Carroll reveals the next dinner party is not that far away and the 'Ginger Pele' will be the main host - even though he is taking his guests to his restaurant. Carroll said: "We are planning to have another dinner party. Ginge has sorted that out and we will have another dinner at the Carroll's soon. 
"The next one is being held at a restaurant that Ginge owns so we can't judge him on that. He doesn't want to cook! It is crucial to have that good friendship off the pitch. "It is changing here at West Ham and I can honestly say it has been great this season. Everyone here is together and we all speak together. "The new lads who arrived in January - Snods and Fonte - have settled straight into the squad and got straight into the banter which is great. "We have got some big personalities here who keep everyone together and involved in everything. There are jokers and others who take it a bit more serious and get wound up. Everyone is together."
There are a number of close ties inside the Hammers dressing room - none more so than the strong relationship between Carroll and Winston Reid. Carroll jokes that Reid needed someone to hang onto when fans favourite Carlton Cole left the club and he willingly obliged! Carroll added: "Reidy is a good lad. I don't know how it came about. I think he was a bit of a lost soul when Carlton Cole left the club and somehow he found me 
"It used to be myself, Reidy and Joey O'Brien. We go out for meals all the time and all the girls get on well. 
"Reidy is very quiet but he has a dry sense of humour and is a great lad. I am close with him but I speak to a lot of the lads outside training like Ginge, Nobes, Cressy and Snods."

Andy Carroll should be included in the next England squad, says West Ham team-mate Cheikhou Kouyate
Cheikhou Kouyate played for Senegal as they drew 1-1 with Nigeria on Thursday
Kouyate said he did not understand why England do not call up Andy Carroll
He suggested that his best position was in midfield after being moved regularly
By Jonny Singer for MailOnline
PUBLISHED: 10:41, 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:41, 24 March 2017

West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate has backed club team-mate Andy Carroll to return to the England set up, despite having been left out of this international break's squad by Gareth Southgate. Carroll has returned to form for the Hammers, with four goals since the turn of the year. But Southgate opted to include only three strikers in his squad, with Marcus Rashford joining Jamie Vardy and Jermain Defoe for the games against Germany and Lithuania. 'I don't understand why England don't call Andy,' said Kouyate after his own country, Senegal, had drawn with Nigeria. 'He scored a lot of goals recently, four or five goals. Maybe next international break.'
Carroll has impressed recently despite the Hammers struggling, but Kouyate played down the recent poor form, which has seen the east London club pick up just two points in five games, saying that one win would turn things around. 'We play four or five games (without a win), if you're not good every time you have people saying "This is no good, this is no good". 'Now we need to just win one game, everything will be calm. If you win, this is good. Kouyate was used at the heart of Senegal's defence on Thursday night, not his favoured position, but one which suited him better than right back, where he has been used for West Ham recently. 'I play a lot of positions, but every time I'll tell you, my best position is midfield. But sometimes I have to play on the right.'

Who are the players most likely to join West Ham this summer? The bookies have their say
There's a few names on the list that could join West Ham during the summer
Football London
09:46, 24 MAR 2017UPDATED09:52, 24 MAR 2017

Bookmakers have given some interesting odds on players who they think are going to sign for West Ham once the season is up. Betfair have handed us a list of players they believe could move to E20 and bolster Slaven Bilic's squad after a disappointing season in the Premier League. The Hammers currently sit in 12th and are targeting a top ten finish to at least end the season on a high before delving into the transfer market once again. Below are the players that Betfair think are likely to be seen in claret and blue next season and the odds of them actually making a move to Stratford.

Joe Hart - 9/1

The Manchester City keeper is currently on-loan in Serie A with Torino, one of the few English players testing themselves abroad. It's unlikely Hart will stay in Turin though and seemingly has no future with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad. With Darren Randolph nor Adrian really impressing this season, the goalkeeper spot should be open for change. Bilic has maintained however that the keeper is not a position that concerns him in terms of bringing in a new face. We'll see.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 8/1

"The Ox" has been rumoured to want a move from Arsenal to help further his England ambitions. With the futures of star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil up in the air, plus the continued uncertainty over manager Arsene Wenger's future too, Oxlade-Chamberlain could well be on the move. The Hammers would likely face some stiff competition, with Manchester United rumoured to be keen as well.

Wayne Rooney - 10/1

This rumour surfaced earlier this week, when a "source" at West Ham said they would be interested in signing the England captain. To be honest, who wouldn't be? It's a bit of a storm in a teacup but that has failed to stop the rumour mill kicking off. The Hammers would have to make Rooney their highest paid player to get him in, but United are apparently willing to waive a transfer fee to get shot of the 31-year-old. Worth a punt?

John Terry - 20/1

No, surely not? Even if he were available, a) I doubt he'd want to join West Ham having been at their bitter rivals for his entire career and b) West Ham already have enough slow and aging defenders, they don't need another one. A real long shot, this.

Jermain Defoe 9/4

Now then, this is interesting. Defoe has apparently said to Ian Wright that he wants to move back to West Ham as he has unfinished business from his departure from Upton Park in 2004 to Spurs. If Sunderland go down, Defoe would be available on a free. Can clearly still do a job in the Premier League, the Hammers need another striker, it makes perfect sense? Let alone the fact Bilic tried to sign Defoe for £6m back in January...

Daniel Sturridge 5/1

Hmmmm, do West Ham need another injury-prone striker? They've already got two in Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho. Jurgen Klopp seems to have lost patience with the England striker and looks like he could be on his way out. He'd like a return to London but is West Ham the right fit? It's a big risk but the bookies seem to be keen on the move.

Former Chelsea and West Ham United forward close to Billericay Town move
By LeeWilmot | Posted: March 24, 2017
Essex Live

Former Chelsea, West Ham United and Celtic forward Carlton Cole is thought to be close to securing a move to non-league side Billericay Town. The 33-year-old would be the Ryman League Premier Division club's third big name signing of the season after they secured the services of former Charlton Athletic and Liverpool full-back Paul Konchesky and ex-Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie O'Hara. The club have been working closely with reality television star Mark Wright, who used to appear on The Only Way is Essex, to bring players to the club. The 30-year-old radio presenter is thought to be keen to buy a stake in the Essex club. Speaking to Essex Live during an exclusive interview, O'Hara has expressed his delight at putting pen-to-paper on a contract with Billericay and is looking forward to starting a new chapter in his career. "I'm really happy," said O'Hara. "I sat down with the owner the other day and he told me about the plans he had for the club and what he has in store for it and it's nice for me to just get back out on the pitch and play some football. "Obviously when Konch [Paul Konchesky] came down here and through speaking to Mark Wright, who is involved with the owner and a good friend of mine, it has been an ongoing thing that has got off the ground in the past couple of days."

Barcelona star reveals which manager he sees in charge of West Ham next
By Emre Sarigul - March 24, 20170

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic faces an uncertain future at the club. The Daily Mirror recently reported that the Hammers will make a decision on the Croatian manager at the end of the season. Barcelona star Arda Turan believes he has found a future candidate for the role of manager at West Ham. See More: For the latest Arda Turan news and everything else you ever wanted to know about the Barcelona star Turan believes that Basaksehir boss Abdullah Avci would do a great job at the East London based outfit. "Abdullah Avci is a genius, I believe he will get his shot outside of Turkey," Turan told Fanatik in a recent interview. "His tactics would probably be better appreciated abroad and he is one of the best coaches I have worked with. "He would do a great job at West Ham, put him in charge of West Ham and nobody would be disappointed."
Avci has worked wonders at Basaksehir transforming the Istanbul minnows from relegation strugglers into title challengers. Basaksehir are currently second in the league just two points behind Bilic's former side Besiktas. If Avci does go onto lead Basaksehir to the league title it would be an achievement similar in magnitude to Leicester City winning the Premier League. Avci has never managed outside Turkey but he has almost guaranteed Basaksehir Champions League football next season. The 53-year-old coach has been in charge of the Istanbul based side since 2014 and has guaranteed his side top four football for the past two seasons.

West Ham United considering summer move for Bournemouth's Joshua King
Aiden Cusick

West Ham United are considering a summer move for Bournemouth forward Joshua King, The Sun reports (24/03, page 64). King, 25, scored a hat-trick in the Cherries win against Slaven Bilic's side earlier this month, leaving a lasting impression on the Hammers it seems.
King didn't cost Bournemouth a penny when he moved to the south coast from Blackburn Rovers in 2015, but having scored 18 goals in 63 outings since then, The Sun reports his valuation has now gone 'through the roof'. West Ham are desperate to add to their front line this summer, having failed to properly do so during the past few transfer windows. The Hammers also sold winger Dimitri Payet to Marseille in January, and King's ability to play in a variety of attacking positions would perhaps be most welcome. Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has been strongly linked with a return to West Ham this summer, having began his professional career at Upton Park, the Hammers' former home.On Thursday, another ex-Iron, Ian Wright, told The Sun Defoe has revealed to him he'd 'love to go back'.

By Sean Whetstone 24 Mar 2017 at 08:00

At the end of February, the Mayor of London quietly announced that accountancy firm Moore Stephens had been appointed to write a £140,000 report about the mistakes made in the London Stadium transformation and what lessons could be learnt.

The purpose of the investigation is listed by the Mayor's office as:

• To provide a narrative explanation of the history of the London Stadium, including all relevant construction, financial and operational arrangements, with a particular focus on the stadium's conversion into a multi-use arena and the subsequent negotiations and arrangements

• To confirm the key decision points and contractual commitments made, including the financial and operational projections that informed the significant investment of public money into transformation works and who was responsible for them

• To assess whether the work leading to the decisions and commitments made was sufficiently robust and subject to appropriate levels of due diligence and negotiation to ensure that value for money was achieved for the taxpayer after taking into account the legacy objectives and expected benefits

• To report on the stadium's financial viability in terms of an assessment of the ongoing and future operating costs and income of the current working arrangements

• To identify any lessons that can be learnt

• To work with all relevant organisations to obtain evidence for this work, reporting any lack of co-operation to the Mayor's office

• To produce a report for publication.

The investigation and its resulting report will cover three distinct phases in the genesis and life of the Stadium:

1. The Olympic bodies' original decision making in determining the design and nature of the Stadium built for the Games and what thought was given to how the Stadium would be used post-Games

2. The decision making of LLDC and its forebears in the tendering for and delivery of the Stadium transformation in light of the original design and its legacy objectives

3. Decisions pertaining to the current operational arrangement for the Stadium, including those made by LLDC, LB Newham and E20 Stadium LLP, and those taken by Her Majesty's Government and the GLA such as hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the 2017 World Athletics.

Moore Stephen's project plan is for a draft report to be presented to the GLA in June 2017. The report will then be finalised and a public report made available to the public later in the summer.

Whether £140,000 is a good use of taxpayers money to tell us what we already know is a valid question but Moore Stephens seems an odd choice as they have been regular auditors for the LLDC and were involved in the stadium transformation itself.

In 2013 they audited the LLDC for change control, project management and business cases in relation to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and these reports are still in the public domain. In 2015 they were involved with the Mayor's office to audit the London Stadium transformation project. They gave a green light to the project in
April 2015 in another public document which is still online.

It all seems rather strange but then again it is politics at the heart of this investigation.

The Stadium operators budget and business case has been shot to pieces, they under estimated the number of stewards, the cost of policing and extra security costs. The lack of a Stadium naming rights partner for the first season has cost them big also. Budget projections from the LLDC suggest they will lose £8.4m in operating costs in the stadium 2017/2018 with a loss of £5.4m in operating costs in 2018/2019. They are predicted to lose £35m this year.

Gone are the days of a business plan which suggested a £250,000 profit each year to the taxpayer. At the time there was an outcry it was only £250,000!

As a side note, the stadium owners are thought to be on the brink of announcing paying London Living Wage for all sub contractors working the London stadium which increase running costs yet again by at least another £250,000 per year.

We shall wait and see the outcome of the report but I could have saved them the money as I can almost guarantee what the report will say.

Where are West Ham's play-off winning squad of 2012 now?
Let's take a trip down memory lane - and what a memory it was
Football London
17:45, 23 MAR 2017UPDATED19:16, 23 MAR 2017

Ahhhhh, May 19 2012, Wembley Stadium, West Ham 2-1 Blackpool in the Championship play-off final. What a squad that was, so glorious and victorious, sealing the Hammers return to the Premier League. Sam Allardyce's men sealed the place back in the top-flight thanks to Ricardo Vaz Te's 87th minute winner. Carlton Cole had given the Hammers the lead on 35 minutes but that was levelled by Tom Ince three minutes after half time. But, what are the West Ham players up to now? Some are still with the club, some have moved to many different places and some, well, have been forgotten.
Allow to take you on a trip down memory lane.

Robert Green

In June 2012, having failed to agree new terms with West Ham at the end of his contract, Green's departure from West Ham was announced not long after the play-off final win. He moved to QPR and then to Leeds United in 2016, where he is still playing now and is their number one.

Guy Demel

The Ivorian defender remained at West Ham until 2015 before he was eventually released. He headed north and joined Dundee United in Scotland but lasted only a season there as the team were relegated. He returned to France and signed for Marseille Consolat, who play in the third tier of the French football structure and left there in 2017 to join Red Star. No, not Belgrade, but a Ligue 2 side founded by none other than Jules Rimet.

Winston Reid

Still at the Hammers as you well know. He's made 173 appearances in claret and blue and is set to be offered a new long-term contract by the club this summer.

James Tomkins

Ah, this one hurts. Tomkins remained at West Ham until this past summer, when he was - some would say wrongly - sold to Crystal Palace for £10m after making more than 200 appearances for West Ham.

Matt Taylor

After leaving West Ham in 2014, Taylor signed for then newly-promoted Burnley but was released at the end of the 2015-16 season. The man with a rocket of a left foot is currently playing for Northampton Town in League one.

Jack Collison

Collison was loaned out to Bournemouth after the play-off final victory for a month and was then sent to Wigan Atheltic for the remainder of the following season, when he was eventually released by the Hammers. He signed for Ipswich Town but severe injury problems meant he didn't play. A spell at Peterborough United followed and a similar fate befell him before Collison retired from football in 2015.

Mark Noble

Do we need to really tell you about Noble? He's still at the Hammers - he was never goiing anywhere else - and is closing in on 350 appearances in claret and blue.

Kevin Nolan

Nolan left West Ham United by mutual consent after four years at the club in August 2015 and was named player/manager at Leyton Orient in January 2016 but lasted only four months, being relieved of his duties at Brisbane Road despite the Os being just two points off the play-offs. Nolan is now manager at Notts County and is also registered as a player. Just in case, of course.

Gary O'Neil

O'Neil was released by the Hammers in 2013 but the player said he was in discussions over a new deal. That was then blown out of the water by co-chairman David Gold, who announced on his Twitter that O'Neil was off. He joined QPR and a year later, was part of the team that beat Derby County in the Championship play-off final, though he was sent off in the 60th minute. He left QPR to join Norwich that summer and is now at Bristol City.

Carlton Cole

The man who opened the scoring in the play-off final was released by West Ham after the arrival of Andy Carroll in May 2013. Not that he was away for long. Cole signed a short-term deal with the Hammers the following October until the end of the season, before extending that by another 18 months. He was released again in October 2015 and then signed for Celtic, but lasted only eight months there. He then tried his luck across the pond at Sacramento Republic but that lasted only four games before he came back to Englabd. He is being heavily rumoured to join big-spending non league side Billericay Town in the coming days.

Ricardo Vaz Te

Forever a hero at West Ham for scoring THAT goal to win the play-off final and seal the immediate return to the Premier League. His contract was terminated in January 2015 by Allardyce and joined Akhisar Belediyespor - yes, them - in the Turkish top flight. He left there after just 14 appearances to join Charlton Atheltic back on these shores on a free transfer but was released after just three months and returned to Akhisar Belediyespor. He's scored five goals in 28 appearances for them since his return.


Stephen Henderson

After the play-off final, the sub keeper was sent on loan for three months to Bournemouth but dislocated his shoulder and sent back to the Hammers, who promptly released him. Henderson joined Charlton in 2014 and made 53 appearances before signing for Nottingham Forest last year.

George McCartney (53' for Gary O'Neil)

It's been rough for McCartney since he left West Ham - he hasn't played for another club after a series of serious knee injuries.

Julien Faubert (57' for Guy Demel)

We all remember his loan at spell at Real Madrid while he was at West Ham - who was his agent again? - which it lasted two games as Faubert missed training thinking he had a day off and fell asleep on the bench during a game against Villareal. No, really. He was a key cog in West Ham's promotion on his return though but left after the final when his contract expired, joining Elazigspor in Turkey and was released after one year. He moved back to France and joined Bordeaux for a year. He then went on trial in Scotland with St Johsntone but ended up joining Kilmarnock instead but was released at the end of last season. Faubert currently plays in Finland for FC Inter Turku. Yeah, us neither.

Henri Lansbury

Lansbury was on loan at West Ham when they secured promotion and he returned to Arsenal that summer, who then allowed him to join Nottingham Forest permanently. He stayed at the City Ground for for five years before he was sold to Aston Villa in January of this year.

Nicky Maynard

Maynard signed for Cardiff in the summer of 2012 for £2.75m for three years before being released. He jhoined MK Dons for one year and was let go at the end of that deal despite being their top scorer with six goals. He was persuaded to come back though in July 2016 and he's still turning out for the phoenix club now.

West Ham utility star Havard Nordtveit explains where Slaven Bilic wants him to play
Mathew Nash

The Norwegian has played in a number of positions for the Hammers this season. West Ham United made some dud signings in the summer. Gokhan Tore, Simone Zaza, Jonathan Calleri - they got plenty wrong. Another player that could be thrown in that bracket is Havard Nordtveit. The Norwegian arrived on a free transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach, West Ham swatting away plenty of other interested parties to get their man. But he has failed to have anything like a consistent impact at the club. Injuries have played a part, but he has also lived up to his tag as a utility player by playing in a number of positions, often poorly. So speaking to the press in Norway this week he confirmed what position Slaven Bilic wanted to play him in from the beginning at the London Stadium.

Speaking to Romsdals Budstikke he stated: "That's why I was brought to West Ham by Slaven (Bilic), as a defensive midfielder to keep balance and control the game a little."

There is no doubt that the Norwegian's preferred position is as the holding midfielder. But he has plenty of competition for the role - with Pedro Obiang, Cheikhou Kouyate and Mark Noble all ahead of him in any pecking order. The 26-year-old now has a hard task on his hands convincing both Bilic and the West Ham fans he is worthy of regular football at the club. If he gets a chance in his best position, he might be able to pull it off.


West Ham are one of many Premier League clubs running the rule over Hamburg striker Bobby Wood. According to a report from German news outlet Sport, the USA international has been catching the eye of several top flight clubs over in England and the Irons are interested in bringing him over to the London Stadium. Wood has been in good form in the Bundesliga this season, firing home five goals from 15 starts and also contributing with four goals in as many appearances in the DFB Pokal. The 24-year-old is held in extremely high regard back in his homeland and has been tipped for big things at an international level. He's been a standout player for Hamburg in what has been a considerably poor season by their standards in the Bundesliga so far, with Markus Gisdol's men struggling in 16th place.
Slaven Bilic's side are reportedly joined by Everton, Southampton, Stoke, Leicester, and Liverpool in their pursuit of Wood. The striker, who can also operate as a number ten, is claimed in the report to have a release clause in his deal at Hamburg which will allow him to leave the club in the summer for a price as low as £10.4 million. However, if his side do indeed get relegated this season, he will reportedly be allowed to leave for a quite staggering £4.3 million through another clause.

Has Arsenal legend Ian Wright let slip about Defoe's desire for West Ham return?
The pundit might have accidentally revealed Defoe's plans for the summer
Football London
06:30, 24 MAR 2017

Arsenal legend turned pundit Ian Wright might have accidentally-on-purpose told us all about Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe's desire to move back to West Ham this summer. Defoe has admitted - after his England recall - that he would like to remain a Premier League player next season, an option that looks unlikely with Sunderland currently propping up the table. The England man, who has scored 14 goals this season, was the subject of a £6m bid from West Ham back in Janaury but the Black Cats didn't want to sell. But now, it has emerged he could be available for absolutely nothing this summer thanks to a clause in his contract, inserted when he signed for the north east club under Sam Allardyce. Speaking on the Sun Football Podcast ,Wright said: "I've spoken to him [Defoe] in the past and he has said he'd love to be able to go back and right that wrong. We're talking about a young guy who was badly advised. "The day after you go down, you hand in a transfer request. That is just terrible. "He did that because he was advised to do that. His agent kicked West Ham when they were down. I bet nobody remembers the agent but everybody still remembers Jermain Defoe. There's always going to be fans that never forgive you but you can only try and change the attitude of people. And if there's anyone who can score goals to change the attitude of people, then I think it's Defoe."
The wrong, erm, Wright is talking about is when the Hammers were relegated to the Championship and Defoe handed in his notice to leave eventually moving to Spurs in a £6m deal back in 2004.

Forget Everton, wonderkid Youri Tielemans is the first player West Ham should sign this summer
Damien Lucas

West Ham United are playing catch-up this summer after a big step backwards this season and must beat Everton to future superstar.
The Hammers have endured a torrid second season under Slaven Bilic after their record breaking farewell campaign at Upton Park.
Knocked out of the Europa League, EFL Cup and FA Cup in embarrassing fashion, the East Londoners then lost star player Dimitri Payet after he forced through a return to Marseille. Bilic turned things around after Christmas as the club pulled away from the relegation zone but results have dipped again of late with no win in five and three defeats on the bounce. For most West Ham fans, what has been a disappointing season can't end quick enough. The owners David Sullivan and David Gold failed miserably on the recruitment front this season and cannot afford to make the same mistakes again after promising supporters so much ahead of the move to the Olympic Stadium but delivering little. There is a huge creative void at the club since Payet's departure and Manuel Lanzini is already being relied upon too heavily. It is crucial the club brings in players of the right age who they can build a team around, players who have the kind of quality that will excite the fans again. And Bilic should look no further than Belgian wonderkid Youri Tielemans of Anderlecht. The supremely talented 19-year-old already has 17 goals in 36 games this season from attacking midfield and has already played 128 professional games despite his tender years. Tielemans has been linked with a move to Everton - as reported by the likes of the Daily Star - but with players such as Ross Barkley, Yannick Bolasie and Kevin Mirallas already at Goodison Park it is difficult to see where he might fit in. At West Ham he could be the main man around which the team is built. The mercurial talent would likely cost the Hammers a record fee but West Ham have the money. Bilic should be given no less than £100 million to spend in the summer going by the club's accounts and a big chunk of it would be wisely spent on a player who could comfortably take the place of Payet and then some.
The club will need to act fast to beat off competition from the Toffees and clubs across Europe, though, of that there is no doubt.


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