Samuelsen – We're confident ahead of play-offs
A confident Martin Samuelsen is already looking ahead to the Hammers' U23 play-off semi-final against Wolves
The Norwegian starred, scoring twice, as Terry Westley's youngsters secured their spot in the Premier League 2 play-offs with a 4-0 win over West Brom on Monday
West Ham will travel to Molineux to face Wolves on Monday 8 May
Martin Samuelsen says West Ham United U23s' 4-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Monday has given the side a great deal of confidence ahead of their play-off semi-final against Wolverhampton Wanderers. The dismantling of the hosts at the Hawthorns meant the Hammers confirmed their place in the Premier League 2 top five, with Samuelsen playing a starring role, scoring twice and leading the line as the side's No9. It was confirmed on Wednesday that Terry Westley's men would travel back to the midlands for their one-leg semi-final against Wolves on Monday 8 May, with a 7pm kick-off at Molineux. And Samuelsen, fresh off the back of a loan at Peterborough United, is already looking ahead to the crucial battle. He said: "I'm really happy to see that we got a play-off spot because that's what we deserve. "Last time I played Wolves, we won 4-0 away from home, so that will give us confidence going into that game as well. "I've scored a lot of good goals but [the second on Monday] was probably one of my best headers, and it was a nice team goal and a good cross from Nathan [Holland], good eyes to spot me. "And it was a great ball from Kempy to Nathan and then he spotted me, and all I had to do was score. "I think that was the best we've played this season, in games I've been involved in. The way we started was great, because we needed to win and a lot of teams have the tendency to stretch the game, but we stuck to our philosophy. "It's a really good group of players we have and a group which has progressed through a very high standard of training and high demands from the coaching staff."
Samuelsen returned to London Road to feature for League One outfit Peterborough in January, having had a successful temporary stint at the club in 2015/16.
The Norwegian found himself, however, mainly limited to appearances from the substitutes' bench and therefore returned to east London earlier this month.
At Peterborough, it's never easy to go on loan and I tried to make the most out of it which I think I did. I got a goal and had a few good games and substitute appearances, but I didn't play as much as I'd hoped. "I sat down with West Ham and Terry Westley to access how we make the best out the situation and we concluded that it was best to do a lot of gym work and look ahead to next season. "I felt a lot stronger against West Brom, I felt I could compete with the centre-backs and I think I'm stronger after that loan."
Fonte pleased with defensive improvement
Jose Fonte hails West Ham United's improved defending in their last three matches
Portugal defender has helped Hammers keep two clean sheets
Experienced centre-back praised wing-backs Arthur Masuaku and Edimilson Fernandes
Jose Fonte feels West Ham United are getting things together defensively after keeping clean sheets in two of their last three Premier League matches. The Hammers beat Swansea City 1-0 and stopped Everton from having a single shot on target in Saturday's goalless draw at London Stadium, while only two defensive errors led to Sunderland goals in a 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light in between. Fonte started all three matches, first as part of a four-man defence against the Swans, then as one of a back-three against the Black Cats and the Blues, pleasing the Portugal international. "I'm definitely pleased with the last three games, apart from the goals that we conceded at Sunderland, but those things happen," the Euro 2016 winner told whufc.com. "We've kept two clean sheets in three games and it's very positive. It's where we want to be and what we've been working for, so we just need to take that and make that a constant, not a fluke. It has to be the main target to not concede. "If you don't concede, you will always have chances to score with the players and quality we have up front. They will always create chances from open play or set pieces, so you've got to get the basics right and first we have to defend well as a team. If we do that, we have a great chance to win games."
"Concentration levels have risen, for the whole game; the desire to track back and help the team and help your teammates; playing with your heart for yourself and for each other – if we do that in every game, we set a great platform to win games. "Defensively, it was for sure our best team performance since I've been at the club. We were very solid, which is rewarding and pleasing because I came here and didn't have the start that I wanted, but finally things are starting to look better, which is good. "There are still things that we need to improve in terms of maintaining possession and creating chances and being more fluid, but system sometimes takes time to develop."
Fonte was part of a three-man defence at Southampton at times last season, including when the Saints went six Premier League matches without conceding a goal between 13 January and 13 February 2016. It is a system he clearly feels at home in, while he also feels West Ham have the personnel to make the most of the two wing-back positions in Arthur Masuaku and the versatile Edimilson Fernandes. "We went six games without conceding so I am used to the system, I like it, I love it to be honest!" he smiled. "I feel really confident and it is tough to break teams down when they are set up like that. "But, like I said, it's very good defensively but you have to find some solutions for the boys up front to have more options and feel more comfortable, and that's what we've been doing. "The wing-backs were massive [against Everton], did a great job and showed great energy. Masuaku said it was his best game since he's been here and I'm pleased for him because he's a good kid and has great potential and hopefully he can keep playing like this. "That position certainly suits him because of his levels of energy and his attacking ability, so I'm pleased for him. "Edi, obviously it's not his natural position but he did a great job and sacrificed himself for the team and we can only say 'thank you' because it's not easy."
*Jose Fonte looks ahead to facing Stoke City's Peter Crouch in Part Two of his exclusive whufc.com interview, which you can read on Thursday at 1pm!
Galey wary of Sparky style
Former defender Tony Gale played 368 times for West Ham United between 1984 and 1994, scoring seven goals and helping the Hammers finish a record-high third in Division One in 1986. The defender, who also played for Fulham and won the Premier League title with Blackburn Rovers, is now a popular pundit and commentator for Sky Sports, Premier League Productions and NBC.
Here, he looks ahead to Saturday's visit to Stoke City…
I'm looking forward to seeing how my old team West Ham United go against a Stoke City side managed by a player who gave me some really tough assignments as a player.
During his time with Manchester United, Mark Hughes was a top, top striker.
Sparky was probably one of the most difficult players I've played against, backing into you, trying to feel you, rolling you and he was also one of the best volleyers of the ball I've seen in football.
I have a lot of admiration for him as a manager as well, particularly the work he has done at clubs like Fulham and Blackburn and now onto Stoke, because not only does he get results, but he gets results playing good football.
His staff at Stoke, Eddie Neidzweicki and Mark Bowen, are friends of mine and altogether, they work well as a team and have had another good season.
What their Chairman Peter Coates wanted was a transformation and a change in style, which was the most difficult thing and was perhaps a little unfair on Tony Pulis, who established them as a Premier League team.
In establishing that style, he has had to sign a few flair players and he's got the likes of Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri who have come into the team, which has made it a bit easier.
Defensively, they play the ball out from the back now, even players like Ryan Shawcross, and you find the central defenders splitting wide on the edge of the area and they play through midfield.
They're a good team to watch and every time I do a commentary on them I think 'Lucky me' because I think they're a team who are good to the eye.
I think they've taken their foot off the pedal after they got to a position of reasonable safety in the Premier League, and it's a case of a team easing off.
I spoke to a couple of the boys up there and they've been having a bit of stick off the crowd, so hopefully we can use that for us, that maybe they are under a little bit of pressure. I don't see why the crowd are moaning, though.
Everyone was saying before the game that we'd settle for a point because Everton were the form team, but I think it's fair to say that we played well and we did what we had to do.
Sometimes you don't go out there and entertain and you can't always play teams off the pitch, you've got to work out how to stop them.
Romelu Lukaku didn't have a shot on goal, Ross Barkley was anonymous and our players did their jobs. If any team was going to win the game, it was going to be us. We were the better team.
Let's hope the same thing happens on Saturday, although I'm sure my old adversary Sparky Hughes will have something to say about that!
Arrests as Newcastle and West Ham raided in £5m tax probe
Newcastle United and West Ham United's grounds have been raided in a fraud investigation. Newcastle's managing director Lee Charnley was among "several men within professional football" who were arrested. He was released without charge at about 17:00 BST. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) deployed 180 officers across the UK and France. The BBC understands the suspected income tax and National Insurance fraud amounts to £5m. HMRC said it searched premises in the north east and south east of England, and seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones. HMRC officers also visited offices belonging to Chelsea FC "in connection with its wider investigation", a club spokesman confirmed. But it is understood the club's premises were not raided and no arrests were made. "HMRC has requested certain information which the club will provide," the spokesman said. Sources told the BBC the Magpies' managing director Mr Charnley, 39, was earlier taken away from St James' Park by officers. He became the club's managing director three years ago, and has reportedly been credited with persuading manager Rafa Benitez to stay at the club. Newcastle United confirmed "a member of its staff has been assisting HMRC with their inquiries" but said it would be making "no further comment at this time".
The BBC understands HMRC may wish to speak to Mr Charnley again over the next few weeks. BBC Sports editor Dan Roan has tweeted that West Ham United was one of the clubs involved. In a statement, West Ham United said it was "co-operating fully with HMRC to assist their inquiries" but there had been no arrests.
HMRC said it had arrested "several men working within the professional football industry for a suspected income tax and national insurance fraud". "180 HMRC officers have been deployed across the UK and France today," the statement added. "Investigators have searched a number of premises in the north east and south east of England and arrested the men and also seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones. "The French authorities are assisting the UK investigation, have made arrests and several locations have been searched in France. "As this is an ongoing investigation, HMRC is unable to provide any further detail at this time."
Newcastle were promoted to the Premier League on Monday, just 348 days after relegation. According to its 2015-16 accounts, the club had a turnover of £126m, paid out £75m in players' wages and recorded pre-tax loss of £4.1m. HMRC raided West Ham's offices at the London Olympic Stadium where the club moved in August, having played at Upton Park since 1904. Companies House figures for 2015-16 show it turned over £142m, paid out £85m in player's wages and made a pre-tax loss of £4.8m. In January, a Parliamentary Committee revealed 43 players, 12 clubs and eight agents were the subject of "open inquiries" by HMRC.
The Public Accounts Committee highlighted particular concerns about tax evasion in the football industry and the "misuse" of image rights to reduce tax liabilities.
HMRC investigate '£5m fraud'
Filed: Wednesday, 26th April 2017
By: Staff Writer
HMRC have confirmed that raids at West Ham and Newcastle were in connection with a '£5million fraud'. The investigation is said to centre on the transfers of players between the UK and France and involves the distribution of payments for image rights, agent payments and other contractual obligations, since 2010. The Olympic Stadium was raided early this morning, the same time as investigators executed a similar operation at Newcastle's St James' Park and their Darsley Park training ground. So far there have been several arrests made in both France and England with vital information stored on computers also said to have been seized. Last year HMRC confirmed that they were investigating a dozen clubs in relation to the transfers of 43 players. Eight agents were also said to be involved.
West Ham's French Connection
Dimitri Payet: Purchased from Marseille in 2015, sold back to L'OM in 2016.
Morgan Amalfitano: Purchased from Marseille for £800,000 in 2014.
Diafra Sakho: A £4million signing from Metz in August 2014.
Alou Diarra: Arrived on a free trasnfer from Marseille in August 2012.
Modibo Maiga: Signed from FC Sochaux in 2012. Sold to Al Nassr in 2015.
Freddie Piquionne: Arrived from Lyon in 2010. Joined Doncaster three years later.
Additionally, West Ham have signed several French-born players in the last seven years; Mo Diame (2012-2014), Marouane Chamakh (2013, on loan), Guy Demel (2013-2015), Sofiane Feghouli (2016-), Arthur Masuaku (2016-) and Andre Ayew (2016-) have all featured for West Ham since 2010.
Deja vu for Brady & Sullivan
Filed: Wednesday, 26th April 2017
By: Staff Writer
News that West Ham was raided by a team representing HMRC earlier today may have come as a surprise to Hammers fans - but for two prominent board members, it was a case of deja vu. For back in April 2009, then-Birmingham City chief executive Karren Brady and co-owner David Sullivan were arrested - twice - in a similar sting as part of Operation Apprentice, an investigation into fraudulent tax activity, before later being released on bail and later, cleared of all charges. The investigation centred around transfer activity relating to agent Willie Mackay and also resulted in ex-Portsmouth trio Harry Redknapp, Peter Storrie and former owner Milan Mandaric being similarly collared following allegations of fraud and false accounting.
Speaking via a statement at the time regarding the arrest of Brady and Sullivan, after the two had been released with no charges, HMRC said: "The Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) has reviewed the results of a joint investigation by the City of London Police and HM Revenue and Customs into allegations of payments to individuals which have not been declared to HM Revenue and Customs.
"It has been decided ... that, in relation to two employees of Birmingham City Football Club, criminal proceedings will not be instituted against them."
Brady, recalling the episode some months after her double-arrest said that it had left her in "a very dark place". "It was gut-wrenching," she told the Daily Mail. "Nobody should have to go through that when they have done nothing wrong. "The only reason I wasn't shouting from the roof tops when it was over was because I thought the less I said, the quicker it would go away. I didn't want to have to justify myself or remind people of it. "I had always thought, "No smoke without fire", but now I know there can be lots of smoke, great billowing clouds of it, and absolutely no fire at all."
Micky on a sticky wicket?
Filed: Wednesday, 26th April 2017
By: Staff Writer
West Ham supporters have questioned the wisdom of Michail Antonio's very public views regarding which positions West Ham need to bolster ahead of next seasox Antonio, speaking in an interview with ESPN on Monday suggested that manager Slaven Bilic needs to boost several areas of his first team ahead of the 2017/18 campaign. When asked "what do West Ham need to do to fight for Europe next season?", Anotnio replied: "We need to sign a couple of players - a right-back, one more centre-half, two strikers - and get more goals. If we can do that, we will be up there for European places."
Unsurprisingly the perceived wisdom of Antonio's comments was subsequently questioned by a number of Hammers fans. "I'm not sure he should be commenting on that," wrote KUMB Forum member Wilko1304. "We have four centre backs before the young players, should Antonio be saying they aren't good enough?" Meanwhile fellow member Lostcoco added: "Why the Hell is a player commenting on summer transfers and what we need?"
However not all were in agreement that Antonio has potentially spoken out of turn. "I think it's quite positive myself," wrote Believer. "Would people rather he just said nothing - like he doesn't care? He wants us to kick on. He is not saying anything us fans don't say anyway."
During the interview Antonio also praised Slaven Bilic - who he said had "given me the opportunity to play games and given me the freedom to do what I do on the pitch" - and admitted that his spell at wing back had ultimately proved to be beneficial. "I'm an attacking player -I prefer left wing, right wing," he said. "They're quite even for me. But I am a team player and don't mind playing in other positions. When people run at me, I see what I don't like for myself. When I'm running at people I understand now what full-backs don't like and what they do like."
Legends unite for Alzheimer's campaign
Filed: Wednesday, 26th April 2017
By: Staff Writer
West Ham and England legend Geoff Hurst has joined former World Cup winning team mate Gordon Banks to drive a new fundraising campaign on behalf of the Alzheimer's Society. The two heroes of 1966 came together to record a video in which they speak about three of their team mates - Nobby Styles, Ray Wilson and fellow former Hammer Martin Peters - who are suffering with the cruel disease. "I've found it incredibly difficult to see my former team-mate Martin Peters, who I've known since the age of 17 and grew up with at West Ham, going through it," says Hurst. "I'm delighted to be backing this campaign and raising awareness and vital funds for a cause incredibly close to my heart."
Banks, the team's goalkeeper - who was once close to signing for West Ham - added: "When I think of the players that we've played with in the World Cup final – my dear friends, Ray, Martin and Nobby, who were fit and strong - it just shows how dementia can just affect anyone." Peters, the youngest member of Alf Ramsey's global conquerors back in 1966 was diagnosed with the disease two years ago but still attends games at the Olympic Stadium when possible. You may contribute to the campaign by visiting https://secure.alzheimers.org.uk/heroes.
Injury, a Bilic Godsend
Filed: Wednesday, 26th April 2017
By: Adam Smith
Many were convinced that the late season match-up with Everton would see Belgian goal-scoring phenomenon Romelu Lukaku add multiples to his seasonal total.
But a new formation and injection of different players saw the all-but-certain fate of West Ham change this past weekend, as the Hammers kept a clean sheet in a nil-nil draw at Home against Everton. And it could not have been better timed for Bilic.
Now, Super Slav is currently the epicentre of debate for fans and spectators alike. The mix of opinions on his future usually revolve around keeping him due to his emotional displays for the club and because he delivered a great final season at the Boleyn, while the outers want him gone because his tactics lack adaptation and he slots his players sub optimally.
We can chalk up a victory for the Slav supporters as the match against Everton saw a new formation and the correct positioning of players, namely Havard Nordtveit. The Norwegian summer signing was struck with injury early in the season and lost his place in midfield, however with injured Obiang and suspended Noble he found a home as defensive anchor and early outlet in the midfield.
Early in the match he did seem a little tentative on his turns and allowed the opposition to close the gap on him, limiting his passing. This was to be expected as he had not seen Premier League action in quite some time. Nordtveit offered stability defensively, supporting the three centre-backs and offering them an option in counter-attack. Nordtveit would have clearly been Man of the Match had James Collins and Arthur Masuaku not elevated their play to new seasonal heights.
The one affectionately known as 'Ginger Pele' has continued his unbelievable performances in central defence. Tasked primarily with shutting down Lukaku, Collins was absolutely superb. He played physical when need be and was constantly pressing forward, winning headers over the attacking Everton players. Much like the Sunderland and Swansea games, Collins continued to block an inordinate amount of attacks, relieving pressure on Adrian who re-took his net in this match. His play style seemed to keep Everton conscious of him at all times and he factored largely in the clean sheet.
The other central defenders, Winston Reid and Jose Fonte should receive praise as well for their efforts in this match. Reid was above and beyond what should be expected from a player coming off injury. He was hard on the ball and made timely tackles that halted Everton's attacking advance.
Fonte, who has continued to up his play in recent weeks, played well and physical. He remains a growing calming influence in the back line and welcomed late substitution Dominic Calvert-Lewin into the game with a hard tackle that received a yellow card. Fonte had set the tone physically for the last portion of the game with a card that Bilic surely did not mind.
Man of the Match was clearly wing back Arthur Masuaku. Impressive in his last few appearances, Masuaku put on a performance that has many questioning the likelihood of Aaron Cresswell returning to his natural position. With natural positioning at hand, King Arthur was quoted after the game discussing how he was able to be more effective in an up-and-down wing back position, where he is involved in the attack as well as defence. He referred to it as his natural position.
Masuaku at left back and Edimilson Fernandes at right back were constantly involved in the pressure West Ham applied on the wings. Masuaku showed off his dribbling skill, passing ability and creativity in crossing the ball from the wing position. Masuaku looked the more comfortable of the two - granted, it is his natural position - however Fernandes was able to use his athleticism effectively in attack while his pace allowed him to retreat quickly. Fernandes' value has grown from this game as he is now an option for Bilic moving forward in a three centre-back formation.
With it all but said, Slaven Bilic managed his best game this season. His first team selection suffered major losses like Obiang, Carroll, Antonio, Byram, and Noble. This caused Bilic to move away from his age-old, two centre-back, two full back formation as he used Reid, Fonte, and Collins in the middle with Nordtveit in support. Slav freed up Masuaku's quick feet and Fernandes' speed up the wings and used two strikers in the middle (considering Ayew, if you will) to invigorate his 'compact' attack. The dinosaur, apparently, shows something new.
Masuaku and Nordveit both commented on being played in their natural positions - and it showed. This had been a knock against Bilic who had regularly slated players out of position due to team need, instead of changing his formation to fit his squad. The new formation was surely used because the lack of depth at right back with Byram out, however it was a brilliant move that Bilic should get praise for. His team seemed to respond on the pitch getting the better scoring chances throughout the game and shutting down the Premier League's leading goal scorer.
The injuries forced Bilic's hand, making him abandon four at the back and it worked out terrifically for the manager. Bilic had a minor victory in this draw as he showed his ability to change, which had been lacking for the entirety of this season. Whether it is ineptitude or stubbornness, Bilic hopefully has seen what the Hammers' supporters have: new routes for success.
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, KUMB.com.
WEST HAM SEND SCOUTS TO WATCH LUKAS HRADECKY
MICHAEL OLIVER @MichaelOIiver
Signing a new goalkeeper will be a summer priority for West Ham even if Slaven Bilic says he's happy with his options between the sticks.
The fact is, there's too much smoke for there not to be any fire and the Hammers are perennially being linked with moves for various 'keepers around Europe. West Ham are believed to have had scouts present in Germany to watch Frankfurt's Lukas Hradecky in action against Borussia Monchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal last night. Hradecky caught the eye as the game went to a penalty shoot-out and he pulled off two great saves as Frankfurt won 7-8 in sudden death. Capped 34 times by Finland, the 27-year-old made his name in Danish football with Esbjerg and Brondby before making a £2.1m move to the Bundesliga with Frankfurt in the summer of 2015. West Ham are certainly keeping tabs on a number of goalkeepers with a view to signing at least one in the summer.
French exclusive reports Marseille now linked to HMRC raids and arrests at Newcastle and West Ham
HMRC investigation now encompasses Marseille as well as Newcastle United and West Ham - French exclusive.
by Jackie Smithfield
The HMRC raids and arrests at West Ham and Newcastle have now taken another twist. News broke this morning (see original story below) that 180 HMRC officers were involved in a major operation in both the UK and France, targeting football clubs. After the offices of Newcastle and West Ham were raided in early morning raids on Wednesday morning, it was reported that the raids/investigation involved transfer activity at the clubs, with agents also involved, and issues surrounding tax and national insurance. Now breaking news in France has seen Marseille implicated in the investigation, with French radio station RTL giving the breaking news that the ex-board of Marseille are also a target for HMRC.
Get French Football News reporting on RTL breaking news: "Breaking | Marseille's ex-board also a target for tax investigation by English & French authorities relating to Newcastle & West Ham. RTL"
Marseille were sold in October 2016 after suffering chronic financial problems in recent years. Former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt bought the club from Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, who had taken over the running of the club after the death of her husband.
Frank McCourt – October 2016:
"To participate in the history of Olympique de Marseille and guide the club to success, both on the pitch and off, is an honour and privilege for my family and myself," McCourt said. "I'm very excited about making Marseille a champion again."
Margarita Louis-Dreyfus – October 2016:
"Today, Olympique de Marseille turns a page in its history. "A new owner who would care for our fantastic club has been chosen among many candidates, in a long and diligent process. "I am sure Frank McCourt will be the best choice to succeed my family and secure a great future for OM."
Under the ex-Marseille board, Remy Cabella was sold by Marseille to Newcastle in summer 2014, then loaned back with a trigger for a permanent deal. Likewise, the former Marseille management sold Florian Thauvin to Newcastle in August 2015 before loaning him back in January 2016. A further year's loan then agreed in August 2016 with a permanent deal trigger that was passed after only three appearances this season with the transfer to formally go through in summer 2017.
As for West Ham, they bought Dimitri Payet in summer 2015 when the ex-Marseille board were in operation, only to sell him back to the Ligue 1 club in January 2017 after the McCourt administration took over.
On The Mag earlier today (Wednesday 26 April 2017):
Newcastle United have been raided by HMRC officials and Mike Ashley's main man, Lee Charnley, has been arrested. A large scale operation has seen 180 Revenue and Customs offers deployed in both the UK and France, with West Ham also having HMRC officers raid their premises. It is reported that the raids/investigation involves transfer activity at the clubs,with agents also involved, and issues surrounding tax and national insurance.
There has been an official statement now from West Ham.
Short and sweet:
"The club is cooperating fully with HMRC to assist their enquiries. "No further comment will be made at this time."
As yet there has nothing official from Newcastle United after the raid and Charnley's arrest. From the Newcastle angle, George Caulkin who covers North East sport for The Times broke the story: "My understanding is that HM Revenue & Customs are investigating transfer activity at Newcastle United & that Lee Charnley has been arrested."
HMRC confirmed the investigation was in action: "180 HMRC officers have been deployed across the UK and France today. "Investigators have searched a number of premises in the North East and South East of England and arrested the men and also seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones. "The French authorities are assisting the UK investigation, have made arrests and several locations have been searched in France. "This criminal investigation sends a clear message that, whoever you are, if you commit tax fraud you can expect to face the consequences. "As this is an ongoing investigation HMRC is unable to provide any further detail at this time."
It is also being reported that other football clubs could also end up being part of the investigation.
Confirmed: No arrests at West Ham after HMRC tax probe that saw Newcastle supremo nicked
No West Ham officials have been taken away by police
12:53, 26 APR 2017
West Ham have confirmed to football.london that there have NO arrests related to the club after HMRC raided its premises on Wednesday morning. HMRC said "several men working within professional football" have been nicked after the early morning raids on the Hammers and Newcastle United, with their managing director Lee Charnley the most high profile official arrested so far. But, West Ham has told us that no-one from the London Stadium or the Rush Green training ground - where the raids took place - have been taken away by police.
HMRC has launched an investigation into suspected tax and national insurance fraud across the UK and France, focusing on football clubs. West Ham's offices and Newcastle United's St James' Park are the two premises targeted. Some 180 officers are involved in the case and business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones have been handed over. Both clubs are thought to have been investigated over their transfer dealings.
West Ham's Kouyaté recommended signing to Bilic in January, could do so again this summer
By Tom Coast - 26th April 2017
Towards the end of January, West Ham were looking around for a new centre-back, and one of the main names being thrown around was Anderlecht's Kara. The Senegalese defender earned himself a lot of recognition with two great performances against Manchester United in the Europa League recently, and if some Premier League clubs were interested before, a lot more will be now. As well as the Hammers, Leicester City and Crystal Palace were said to have placed bids, yet West Ham have an ace up their sleeve to try and win this race, and his name is Cheikhou Kouyaté. The Senegalese star has already spoken about his national teammate many times to the Belgian press, bigging him up for a move to England, and Sport/Foot reckon he was the reason Slaven Biluc moved for him in January. The magazine explain the West Ham midfielder recommended Kara to his manager, which led to West Ham's approach in January for the 27-year-old.
Having shown Europe what he can do against the likes of Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Anderlecht defender is now fully expected to leave Belgium and move to the Premier League in the summer. Let's see whether Kouyaté can use his influence once more.
Mario Mandzukic shows West Ham fans what to expect next season if Slaven Bilic gets his man
West Ham United have been heavily linked with a move for Juventus star Mario Mandzukic and it's easy to see why. The Hammers will be in the market for a new striker or two this summer and former Besiktas Director of Football Onder Ozen was quoted by Turkish Football as saying that Mandzukic will be heading to team up with fellow Croatian Slaven Bilic in East London next season. The club pledged to bring in a big-name striker last summer, but had to make do with flops Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri on loan. Zaza left in January to join Valencia having failed to barely register a shot on target let alone a goal following a loan move from Juventus.
Meanwhile Calleri has scored just once since his loan move from Deportivo Maldonado and will not be signed permanently according to reports. Bilic has once again relied heavily on injury-prone Andy Carroll and it shows with the Hammers languishing down in 14th place after last season's record breaking efforts. If the under pressure boss stays in the job and manages to get Mandzukic as is expected then Hammers fans are in for a treat if the 30-year-old's latest goal for Juve is anything to go by.
Given Juve's plethora of expensive attacking talent, the hardworking Croat has been deployed wide left of a front three this season.
And his hard graft, professional attitude and selflessness has helped Juve to the brink of yet another Serie A title and into the semi-finals of the Champions League. But he showed he hasn't lost his goalscoring touch either at the weekend when he guided a sumptuous curling, side-footed half-volley into the far corner to put his side 3-0 up before half-time in a 4-0 win over Genoa.
West Ham and Everton amongst five clubs interested in signing Chris Wood
The Leeds United hitman is wanted by numerous clubs, including the likes of Everton, Sunderland and West Ham United, according to reports. A report emanating from Italy this morning suggests that a plethora of Premier League clubs, including the Toffees and the Hammers, are interested in signing Whites hitman Chris Wood this summer, according to Italian media outlet CalcioMercato. The 25-year-old has been in sensational form for Leeds this season, banging in 25 goals in 42 Championship outings, and his performances have been a major contributing factor to Garry Monk's side's rise up the table. They have faltered of late, however, and now sit in seventh position, and three points adrift of sixth placed Fulham with only two games remaining. And if they do indeed fail to gain promotion, they will of course hold less bargaining power in their hopes of keeping the New Zealand international at Elland Road.
CalcioMercato claim that West Ham, Everton, Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Burnley are all contemplating making a bid for Wood when the season ends, with the Italian media outlet claiming that €6 million (£5 million) will be enough to tempt the West Yorkshire outfit into selling. Of all the clubs mentioned, the Hammers are arguably the team most in need of someone with Wood's attributes. Andy Carroll cannot be relied upon to play more than three games in a row, and adding someone of the Leeds man's stature to their frontline would surely improve their performances next term.
Everton could also benefit from adding the 25-year-old to their squad, however, especially if Romelu Lukaku leaves Goodison Park this summer. Whilst Wood would not be a direct replacement for the Belgian, he would certainly add depth to Ronald Koeman's squad and, given the platform to showcase his skills, he could improve even further still under the Dutchman.