Thursday, May 11

Daily WHUFC News - 11th May 2017

Antonio crowned Betway Hammer of the Year

Michail Antonio crowned as the 2016/17 Betway Hammer of the Year
Manuel Lanzini finishes as runner-up, with Pedro Obiang in third place
Billy Bonds receives Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of the late, great
Bobby Moore

Michail Antonio has been crowned as the 2016/17 Betway Hammer of the Year.
The winger has been recognised for his outstanding season for West Ham
United by becoming the 39th different player to win the acclaim of the
Claret and Blue Army. Antonio, who has scored nine goals and registered five
assists in 37 appearances, won 47 per cent of the vote, with Manuel Lanzini
finishing as runner-up with 21 per cent, and Pedro Obiang third with 14 per
cent. "It's just a great feeling and hopefully I can do it again!" said the
winger. "I'm extremely grateful to the fans who voted for me because they
have been to home and away games, week-in, week-out, so for them to give
this Award to me has left me so overwhelmed and buzzing. "It's crazy because
I've only been in the Premier League for two years and last year I came
runner-up and this year I've won it, so hopefully I can keep going, keep
pushing on and keep doing what I'm doing.
"I have to say my England call-up was a massive highlight and winning Hammer
of the Year is amazing because it's come from the fans, who can be our
biggest critics."

Antonio has enjoyed two superb seasons since arriving from Nottingham Forest
in summer 2015, scoring 18 goals in 69 appearances, including the equaliser
in West Ham's unforgettable Final Game win over Manchester United at the
Boleyn Ground last May. The current campaign saw the No30 kick-off in style,
scoring the first Premier League goal in London Stadium history against AFC
Bournemouth in August, and five in his opening four top-flight appearances.
That form saw him earn a first-ever England call-up for Sam Allardyce's only
game in charge, and he was included in the Three Lions squad for a second
time by Big Sam's successor Gareth Southgate in March.

While his scoring rate in Claret and Blue slowed, Antonio continued to
produce the goods in a variety of positions, as injuries and suspensions saw
him fielded as a right wing-back, right winger and centre forward by manager
Slaven Bilic. After scoring at Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City either
side of Christmas, the Wandsworth-born player turned provider against
Crystal Palace, when his three second-half assists inspired the Hammers to a
vital 3-0 home win. A ninth and final goal of the campaign arrived at AFC
Bournemouth before a hamstring injury prematurely ended Antonio's season,
but the 27-year-old had already done enough to secure a deserved maiden
Hammer of the Year award. Antonio was one of a host of winners at the
2016/17 Player Awards brought to by Betway in aid of the Academy, which were
held for the first time at InterContinental London – The O2.

Lanzini took home the Players' Player of the Year honour, Andy Carroll
benefited from one of Antonio's aforementioned assists to net the Goal of
the Season against Crystal Palace, while Darren Randolph's fingertip stop to
deny Liverpool's Jordan Henderson scooped the Save of the Season award.

James Collins' display in the 1-0 win over Swansea City won the Best
Individual Performance trophy, while the 2-1 EFL Cup victory over Chelsea at
London Stadium was the Best Team Performance.

Signing of the Season went to Edimilson Fernandes, while Young Hammer of the
Year was Declan Rice and Domingos Quina won the Dylan Tombides Award.

Finally, the late, great Bobby Moore OBE was recognised with a posthumous
Lifetime Achievement Award. Bobby Moore OBE led his club to their first
major domestic and European trophy before completing a unique, unforgettable
hat-trick by captaining England to FIFA World Cup glory in 1966. Born in
Barking in 1941, Moore attended Westbury Primary School and Tom Hood School,
Leytonstone, before joining the Hammers at the age of 15 in 1956 Two years
later, having honed his game under the watchful eye of Ted Fenton and
Malcolm Allison inside the Academy of Football, the blond-haired,
ball-playing defender was handed his first-team debut at 17, in a 3-2 First
Division win over Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground. It was the
beginning of a special career spanning nearly two decades at the very
highest level, which encompassed winning the FA Cup, European Cup Winners'
Cup, FIFA World Cup, 108 England caps and numerous other accolades. Sadly,
Moore passed away following a brave battle with bowel cancer in 1993, aged
just 51, but his legacy lives on in the shape of the Bobby Moore Fund for
Cancer Research UK charity.

2016/17 Player Awards brought to you by Betway in aid of the Academy winners

Betway Hammer of the Year Michail Antonio
Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by JM Sealant Contracts Bobby Moore OBE
Best Individual Performance sponsored by Peter Rayney Tax Consulting James
Collins v Swansea City (H), Premier League, 8 April 2017
Best Team Performance sponsored by Shore Capital v Chelsea (H), EFL Cup
third round, 26 October 2017
Players' Player of the Year sponsored by Asmatt Ltd Manuel Lanzini
Goal of the Season sponsored by FRP Advisory Andy Carroll v Crystal Palace
(H), Premier League, 14 January 2017
Save of the Season sponsored by Higgins Darren Randolph v Liverpool (A),
Premier League, 11 December 2016
Signing of the Season sponsored by S14 VIP Limited Edimilson Fernandes
Top Goalscorer sponsored by Mulalley Michail Antonio or Manuel Lanzini
Young Hammer of the Year sponsored by Ark Build PLC Declan Rice
Dylan Tombides Award sponsored by Rich Energy Domingos Quina

Ginge and Manu win acclaim

James Collins wins Best Individual Performance award for outstanding display
in win over Swansea City
Manuel Lanzini is acclaimed by his teammates as Players' Player of the Year
Unforgettable 2-1 EFL Cup win over Chelsea at London Stadium is voted Best
Team Performance

James Collins and Manuel Lanzini were the headline-makers as four more
trophies were presented at the West Ham United 2016/17 Player Awards,
brought to you by Betway in aid of the Academy. Centre-half Collins was
rewarded for his outstanding display in the vital 1-0 Premier League win
over Swansea City in April as the fans' choice for Best Individual
Performance, sponsored by Peter Rayney Tax Consulting. The Wales
international made an imperious 12 clearances to ensure the Hammers kept a
clean sheet in defeating the Swans at London Stadium, ensuring he took home
the Award ahead of Cheikhou Kouyate, Darren Randolph, Winston Reid, Michail
Antonio and Pedro Obiang. "It's a massive honour and my first Award in the
ten years I've been here, and to win it for my performance in such a big
game is massive!" said the Ginger Pele. "We had lost to Arsenal earlier on
in the week and everyone was a bit down, but the Gaffer came in and said
'You've got to forget about this as quick as possible because we've got a
big game against Swansea', so we knew it was a massive game, but we
performed well and got the three points. "We'd have liked it to have been a
bit more comfortable, but as a defender I was happy with the one and the
clean sheet all day!"

Meanwhile, Argentinian playmaker Lanzini capped an impressive campaign by
winning the acclaim of his teammates to scoop the Players' Player of the
Year award, sponsored by AsMATT Limited. The No10 has been outstanding in
recent months, especially, scoring beautiful goals in wins over Crystal
Palace – home and away – and a vital strike in the home victory over
Tottenham Hotspur at London Stadium.
With eight in all competitions, the 24-year-old is also in the running for
the Top Goalscorer award, sponsored by Mulalley. With two games remaining,
Lanzini sits just one goal behind Michail Antonio in the scoring charts.

Meanwhile, manager Slaven Bilic took to the stage with his players to
receive the Best Team Performance award, for the 2-1 EFL Cup fourth-round
win over Chelsea at London Stadium in October. Cheikhou Kouyate and
Edimilson Fernandes were the heroes as the Hammers edged out Antonio Conte's
Blues on an unforgettable night in Stratford, beating off fellow nominees
and Premier League wins over Swansea City, Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and

The Big Interview – Mark Noble

Mark Noble wants Friday's victory against Tottenham Hotspur to help launch
the Hammers into a finishing position in the Premier League's top half. The
memorable derby success extended West Ham's unbeaten run to five games and
made absolutely sure of their top flight spot. But, with Liverpool and
Burnley left to play, Noble wants more and believes ending in the top ten is

Mark, a win over Tottenham on Friday and then your 30th birthday on Monday –
it was a good few days for you!

After Friday night, the weekend I had was pretty special. I'm still getting
over Friday now to be honest with you, it was amazing.

You've done it before, haven't you? That was our sixth win against Spurs in
the last six years…

For me, we should have beaten them away from home this season as well, to be
honest. We saw again on Friday night when this Club pulls together as one, a
little bit like the Swansea game too when we needed to win, [what we can
do]. It was definitely one of the highlights of the season.

The atmosphere was something special…

Yes. As I said, when we needed each other this year – the players and fans –
against Swansea, against Crystal Palace and the Spurs game as well, we've
been together and we've got results.

The Swansea game was special for you for another reason. It was your 400th
game for West Ham. When you were on the terraces as a kid, did you ever
dream of 400 appearances?

I used to walk to the stadium and ask for autographs after games, so to
captain this great Club and play 400 games is pretty special, not just for
me but for everyone. To have one of their own captain the Club is great.

Just finally we don't want the Tottenham game to be the last good thing to
happen this season, so we? We want to finish strongly and on a high…

The aim is to get more points on the board. We can't worry about Spurs any
more, it was a great performance and a great win but we want to beat
Liverpool at home. I know we're going to have the crowd behind us and then
we want to go away to Burnley and get some points there.

We want to finish as high up the table as possible and after beating Spurs,
to not go on and get some more results would be disappointing. We want to
finish in the top half and then that would be a very good season for us.

Lanzini gets shirty with Lionel!

Manuel Lanzini has expressed his pride after Lionel Messi posted a photo of
his West Ham United shirt on social media.

The Barcelona superstar published an image of himself and son Thiago sitting
among his collection of football shirts on Instagram, with Lanzini's Claret
and Blue No28 taking pride of place next to Messi's own jerseys.

Among the dozens of other shirts on show were those Messi had exchanged with
the likes of Sergio Aguero, Luis Suarez, Francesco Totti, Raul, Deco, Cesc
Fabregas and Thierry Henry – but it was Lanzini's which stood out alongside
the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's iconic Argentina No10 strip.

The Argentinian duo met in Barcelona through a mutual friend last year, when
they swapped signed shirts, with the Hammers' newly-crowned Players' Player
of the Year describing the encounter as a 'dream come true'.

Lanzini himself spotted the post, telling he idolised the
29-year-old during his own formative years with Buenos Aires giants River

"It's amazing, because the best player in the world put my t-shirt on
there!" said the 24-year-old. "I could not believe it.

"I would not say we are friends, but I met him one time in Barcelona because
we have a mutual friend and that's when it happened. He gave me his t-shirt
and I gave him my t-shirt and he's a very good person. It's good!"

Playmaker Lanzini has enjoyed an impressive season for West Ham, scoring
eight goals in 37 games in all competitions, while Messi has continued his
imperious form for Barcelona, netting an amazing 51 times in 49 appearances.

The Hammers No10 was selected for the Argentina Olympic squad for Rio 2016,
only to miss the tournament through injury, but the former River Plate star
could yet force his way into Jorge Sampaoli's for next summer's FIFA World
Cup finals in Russia.

Should he do so, he would line up in the same shirt as Lionel Messi!


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

Michail Antonio was named as West Ham's Player of the Season last night at
the club's awards night. (Sky Sports)

I personally thought Winston Reid should have won the award, but
congratulations to Michail. He has had a brilliant season and hopefully he
will continue to improve with us next season.

West Ham are targeting deals for Michy Batshuayi and Shane Long this summer.
(Evening Standard)

I would be very happy if these deals were to happen. Michy Batshuayi is top
of my personal wishlist, because I think he could well be the missing link
in our team. I do hope we go in with a huge offer to Chelsea in the summer.
Shane Long is another good striker, in my opinion. He isn't the best, but he
gets his fair share of goals during a season. I also feel that with his
pace, he could be a great option to bring off the bench to stretch
opposition defenders.

West Ham will back Slaven Bilic in the summer and are targeting Yaya Toure
as a statement signing. (Telegraph)

This is exactly how it should be. You back your manager in the transfer
window. I hope the board back him properly and give him the funds to improve
the team over the summer. However, I am not so sure on Yaya Toure. He is
without doubt a great player, but he is ageing now and he is also on
ridiculous wages. I don't think that deal will happen to be honest.

David Gold has revealed that Michail Antonio is close to signing a new
contract at West Ham. (Football Insider)

Michail fully deserves a new contract. I know he only got an improved deal
last summer, but the season he has had fully warrants getting another one.
He also won the Player of the Year award last night, and that only backs up
him deserving a new deal.

Tony Cottee says he would love to see Jermain Defoe back at West Ham. (HITC)

Back in January, I would have agreed with this. However, not so much now. He
has had a brilliant career and will go down as one of the Premier League's
greatest strikers, without a doubt. He is now 35 years old and is apparently
still demanding £80,000 a week over a three year deal. I do not think he is
worth that, and I also think we could get someone better and younger for
less than that.

Enner Valencia is being lined up to return to former club Pachuca in the
summer. (HITC)

I actually like Enner. I think he tries very hard, but it just isn't enough.
He is not good enough for the Premier League and I believe we should sell
him this summer. He is still relatively young and will be more suited to a
league abroad I feel, so we may be able to get a decent fee for him.

Michail Antonio named West Ham's Player of the Season
By Alice Piper
Last Updated: 10/05/17 12:16am

Michail Antonio was named Player of the Season at West Ham's end-of-season
awards on Tuesday. The 27-year-old winger has impressed for the Hammers this
season, contributing nine goals from 29 league appearances before his term
came to an abrupt end when he suffered a hamstring injury last month. Manuel
Lanzini picked up the Players' Player of the Year award, having produced a
number of impressive displays to fill the void in midfield following Dimitri
Payet's departure. The 24-year-old Argentinian, who joined the Hammers from
Al Jazira Club in July 2015, has scored eight goals from 33 league
appearances this campaign. Meanwhile, Andy Carroll won Goal of the Season
for his unstoppable bicycle kick that sealed West Ham's 3-0 win over Crystal
Palace in January. James Collins claimed Best Individual Performance for his
display in West Ham's 1-0 win over Swansea in April, while the club's Young
Hammer of the Year went to defender Declan Rice.

Slaven Bilic's West Ham future assessed ahead of Liverpool clash
By Nick Lustig
Last Updated: 10/05/17 6:28am

Slaven Bilic has enjoyed mixed fortunes during his two-year spell at West
Ham, but is it time for the Croatian to leave?

The Hammers' 1-0 victory over rivals Tottenham on Friday Night Football
finally guaranteed their Premier League survival after a difficult first
season at London Stadium. Despite the win, talks over a new contract for
Bilic are on hold and Sky Sports News HQ understands the 48-year-old's
position will be reviewed at the end of the season. It is a far cry from
last season when Bilic led West Ham to their highest ever points total in
the Premier League- 62 - as they finished in seventh place, securing
qualification for the Europa League. So, does that leave the West Ham
manager still in credit or facing the sack? Ahead of the Super Sunday clash
against Liverpool, live on Sky Sports 1 HD, Nick Lustig assesses whether
Bilic should still be in charge next season…


A case can be made that West Ham's failings on the pitch this season were
more due to disappointing recruitment rather than the much-publicised move
from the Boleyn Ground to London Stadium. A scattergun approach to transfers
last summer, with the club preparing to play in the Premier League as well
as the Europa League, left Bilic with a disjointed squad that at times
lacked functionality and cohesion. The experiment of playing Michail Antonio
at right-back came to a rather inevitable conclusion in August and left
Bilic with three right wingers following the arrivals of Sofiane Feghouli
and Gokhan Tore. It also left him with a gap at right-back, with the
subsequent acquisition of former Liverpool and Real Madrid defender Alvaro
Arbeloa doing little to fill that hole. The failure to sign a recognised
goalscorer has also blighted West Ham, with an all too familiar picture
forming with Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho once again struck down by a
series of injuries. It has left them 20 goals worse off from last season and
light in terms of capable options.
Simone Zaza's disastrous loan spell was cut short in January after 11 games
without a goal, while Andre Ayew, Ashley Fletcher and Jonathan Calleri are
still yet to make any real goalscoring impact following their summer moves.
There is currently an apparent lack of clarity on who is making the
decisions on the players the club signs, with Bilic, head of recruitment
Tony Henry and co-owner David Sullivan all involved in the dialogue. This
confusion has transmitted into the club's transfer dealings and unless Bilic
is given freedom to build the squad he wants, it is hard to make a case
against him.

VERDICT: Bilic must take part of the blame on the club's recruitment,
however, he deserves the chance of another summer transfer window to rectify
last year's failings. Bilic stays.


The acrimonious departure of the France midfielder in January cannot be
underestimated. Payet was integral to the way West Ham played under Bilic
and his return to Marseille left the Hammers boss without his talisman for
the second half of the season. Payet was instrumental in West Ham's
memorable final season at the Boleyn Ground, providing 12 goals, the same
number of assists and a catalogue of memorable moments. His sensational form
was duly rewarded and then some. A new five-and-a-half year contract, worth
£125,000-a-week, made Payet the highest-paid player in the club's history, a
mural for him was created at London Stadium and a £1m loyalty bonus also
followed. But the new season did not bring with it the Payet from the
previous year. Rumours of the 30-year-old's discontent at the club had
already begun to circulate following his brilliant Euro 2016 campaign. And
although there were fleeting moments of the old Payet, the same desire to
play for the club was no longer apparent and it came as no surprise in early
January when Bilic went public on the French international's refusal to play
because of his wish to return to Marseille.
It left Bilic with a huge predicament, but one he dealt with admirably.
Payet was demoted to the U23s squad before eventually sealing his £25m move
back to the south of France, while Bilic turned his focus to uniting his
squad and building his team around midfield playmaker Manuel Lanzini. "We
have talked about the importance of Manuel Lanzini last year. But of course
from some players on the ball you are expecting more and for sure, he is one
of them," Bilic said in January. Lanzini has certainly stepped up to the
plate and been nothing less than superb for West Ham. No longer in the
shadow of Payet, Lanzini has become the go-to man and creative spark for his
team-mates. A shift into a more central attacking role has enabled Lanzini
to increase his influence on matches and it is no surprise that his stats
show a vast improvement in his productivity on the pitch. Bilic certainly
deserves enormous credit for not allowing the negativity from the Payet saga
to derail his side's battle to secure Premier League safety, while the
decision to promote Lanzini to the fore has been vindicated and allowed
supporters to forget about the once revered Frenchman.

Manuel Lanzini

With Payet Per
90 Without Payet Per 90
Games played 17 -
17 -
Games started 14 -
16 -
Minutes played 1152 -
1468 -
Goals 3
0.23 5 0.31
Mins per goal 384 -
293.6 -
Total shots 26
2.03 43 2.64
On target shots 7 0.55
15 0.92
Conversion rate 11.54 -
11.63 -
Assists 0
0 2 0.12
Chances created 21 1.64
34 2.08
Touches 856
66.88 1229 75.35
Passing accuracy 85.93 -
88.05 -
Dribbles completed 22 1.72
62 3.8

VERDICT: Losing your best player midway through a season is a manager's
worst nightmare, but Bilic has managed to find a way of playing without
Payet and a formula that has guided West Ham to Premier League safety. Bilic


The first season at London Stadium was always going to prove difficult for
West Ham following 112 years at the Boleyn Ground. Persistent standing,
ineffective segregation and crowd trouble were the teething issues that
overshadowed the opening months at the club's new home - serious issues, but
not ones that are likely to have impacted on player performances. However,
what Bilic and the players have had to contend with is a longer pitch and
fans who are further away. The pitch at the London Stadium is 4.5 metres
longer and, in March, Michail Antonio admitted the new dimensions had caused
difficulties. He said: "We're not used to the pitch, we're not used to the
size of it. It's massive. The Boleyn was a nice, tight ground, and we could
get round pressing. Now we have to sit back and choose when to go. It has
taken time but we have got used to it."

Heavy home defeats to Southampton, Arsenal and Manchester City certainly did
not help, but West Ham are not the first club to find it hard in their first
season in a new stadium. Manchester City struggled in their maiden campaign
at the City of Manchester Stadium (later renamed the Etihad Stadium) and
ultimately finished in 16th place. Recent home form has improved. Victory
over London rivals Tottenham is certain to have gone a long way to making
London Stadium feel more like home for West Ham and also keeps them within
touching distance of securing a top-10 finish.

VERDICT: It was always going to take time for West Ham to settle into their
new surroundings and Bilic faced an unenviable task of attempting to provide
an immediate winning formula. Bilic stays.

Michail Antonio's five best games which earned him West Ham Hammer of the
Year award
The winger has been inspired this season
Football London
09:51, 10 MAY 2017

He might be out injured for the rest of the season but Michail Antonio
scooped the much-coveted Hammer of the Year at the West Ham Player Awards in
London last night. The 27-year-old, still the Hammers' top scorer this
season despite missing the past four games, won the prize ahead of Manuel
Lanzini in second place and Pedro Obiang, who finished in third. Antonio -
who hinted at his future in his acceptance speech saying he "wants to win it
again" - has been a shining light in what has been a tough season for the
Hammers, despite his own injury issues as well. But what were his stand out
performances that led him to being crowned Hammer of the Year? We have had a
look at five of his games in claret and blue this year - statistically at
least - that were his best.

West Ham 1-0 Bournemouth (August 21, 2016)

The eyes of the footballing world were on the London Stadium as West Ham
played their first Premier League game at their new home having moved from
the Boleyn after 112 years. The hosts won a nervy clash 1-0 thanks to
Antonio's 85th minute header. The England man had the most shots of any
player on the pitch (4), had 54 touches, a pass success rate of 82% and a
100% dribble success rate. He also won seven aerial battles and won two of
his three attempted tackles. But, getting the winning goal was the most
important stat of all.

West Brom 4-2 West Ham (September 16)

That was a rough day at the Hawthorns but Antonio certainly stood out on
what was a very tough afternoon, especially when the visitors were 3-0 down
at half time. Antonio had got on the scoresheet to give the Hammers hope at
3-1 and struck eight times at goal in an attempt to salvage something. He
also had an 82% pass success rate, completed two dribbles won two aerial
challenges defensively and two offensively as well. He also had a 100%
tackle success rate from his two attempted, with Arhthur Masuaku (4) only
bettering that.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 West Ham (November 19, 2016)

This performance came in defeat for Antonio and West Ham but he was the best
Hammer on the pitch that night as Harry Kane's late spot kick condemned the
Hammers to defeat. Deployed on the right wing, Antonio had three shots on
goal, 81 touches, a pass success rate of 70%, completed three dribbles, won
four corners and dispossessed Spurs three times - the most of any visiting
player. Antonio also got on the scoresheet, giving the Hammers a 1-0 lead in
the 24th minute but ultimately, it wouldn't be enough.

West Ham 3-0 Crystal Palace (January 14, 2017)

Antoni didn't find the target during this game, arguably one of the Hammers
better performances this season (until beating Spurs that is) but the
wideman bagged himself an assist for all three West Ham goals. He had just
the one shot on target but supplied the pass for Sofiane Feghouli to open
the scoring, the cross for Andy Carroll's world-class overhead kick (goal of
the season at the awards do) and the defence splitting pass for Manuel
Lanzini to chip home the third. Antonio also completed two dribbles, won all
of his aerial challenges (4), dispossessed Palace four times and completed
two tackles as well. Statistically, it was his best game this season.

Bournemouth 3-2 West Ham (March 11, 2017)

Another game where Antonio shone in defeat for the Hammers as Josh King
bagged himself a hat trick (and missed a penalty) on the south coast.
Antonio was playing in the number ten role behind Andy Carroll for this game
and smashed six shots on goal, only one of them was off target - the most
for any Hammers player. His pass success rate of 85% was the best of any
Hammer who started the game and completed his solitary dribble of the game.
Antonio also completed two tackles and won possession back twice in
attacking areas.

Michy Batshuayi and Shane Long on West Ham wishlist as Slaven Bilic targets
Evening Standard

West Ham will prioritise pace when they strengthen their squad in the
summer. Now that Premier League safety is assured, the board, manager Slaven
Bilic and head of recruitment Tony Henry have begun planning for next
season, with the emphasis on signing mobile players who will increase the
tempo of the team. Apart from Michail Antonio, who is out for the rest of
the season with a hamstring injury, there is a lack of lightning pace in the
squad and Bilic will be looking to rectify that situation, especially with
the bigger pitch at London Stadium in mind. The playing surface is 105m x
68m, which is almost five metres longer than it was at the club's previous
home, the Boleyn Ground. West Ham's players, while finding it difficult
initially, have gradually adjusted to their new environment and last
Friday's 1-0 victory over Tottenham was, arguably, their best all-round team
performance since they moved there last summer.
Against Tottenham, Bilic's team managed to get behind the visitors' defence
on occasions but, again, their lack of real pace let them down. So, quick
offensive players are what are required by the Hammers — and preferably
those who have Premier League experience.
Southampton's Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long, who was on the club's
radar last summer, could again become a target, while another player who
would fit the bill is Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi.
West Ham looked favourites to sign the Belgian international last year after
offering his then club Marseille £30million. Crystal Palace joined the race
with an increased offer of £31.5m but the 23-year-old striker finally joined
Chelsea for £33.2m. Batshuayi's opportunities have been limited — all 17 of
his Premier League appearances have come off the bench — and the Stamford
Bridge club could be prepared to let him go this summer, probably on a loan
deal. Another priority for West Ham remains a right-back. The experiment of
playing Antonio in a wide, defensive position proved a failure, while their
only other specialised right-back, Sam Byram, has been plagued with injury.
The future of West Ham goalkeeper Adrian also remains uncertain. Although
restored to being first-choice goalkeeper and playing well, his contract
expires this summer and several La Liga clubs are interested in signing the
Spaniard. Adrian has intimated that he wants to stay but with assurances
that he will remain the No1. West Ham have been linked with a move for
Manchester City's Joe Hart, who is on loan at Torino.

West Ham want Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure
Saikat Mandal

West Ham United are reportedly considering making a move for Manchester City
midfielder Yaya Toure in the summer transfer window. West Ham United are
considering making Yaya Toure one of their major signings of the summer
transfer window, according to reports from The Telegraph. The Ivorian is out
of contract at City at the end of the season, and is yet to agree a one-year
contract extension. The report suggests that West Ham are emerging as a
viable destination for the 33-year-old. Although Toure has been offered a
new deal to stay, the Ivorian is thinking of turning down a contract
extension at the club. He feels that his first team chances could be limited
next season. One of the major problems for West Ham will be to meet his wage
demands, should he leave City, and Toure may have to take a wage drop if he
is keen to move on. The report adds that a deal could be struck, given that
he would be available as a free agent, and that Toure would decide on his
future soon. At one point of time, it looked like he was heading for the for
the exit, having not played a Premier league game under Pep Guardiola till
mid-November. However, he made full use of the opportunity after Ilkay
Gundogan got injured and has gone on to play 28 matches in all competitions.
West Ham could face a tough competition from Newcastle United in the race to
sign Toure. According to reports from The Sun, the Magpies are believed to
be tracking Toure as well. However, any possible deal will hinge upon
whether the midfielder takes a significant pay-cut or not.


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