Thursday, June 8

Daily WHUFC News - 8th June 2017

Sofiane Feghouli makes winning return to Algeria action

Sofiane Feghouli made a successful return to international duty as Algeria edged out Guinea 2-1 in a friendly on Tuesday night. Wearing the No10 shirt, the West Ham United winger was introduced as a 73rd-minute substitute in the match, which was played in the Algerian city of Blida, with the scores level at 1-1. Feghouli, who ended the 2016/17 season with a fine performance and a goal in the 2-1 final-day Premier League victory at Burnley, replaced Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium. The lively Hammer was heavily involved in his 20 minutes on the pitch and went close to adding to the eleven goals he has netted for the Desert Warriors when he burst into the penalty area and fired narrowly wide just moments after his introduction. The 27-year-old was returning to Algeria duty after missing his country's last four international fixtures, making his first appearance since a FIFA World Cup qualifying defeat in Nigeria in November, and earning his 43rd cap. Algeria struck the winner with 12 minutes remaining when a deflected cross was expertly converted on the half-volley by Dinamo Zagreb's Hillel El Arabi Soudani. Earlier, Sofiane Hanni of Anderlecht had put the hosts in front, before Demba Camara of Paris FC levelled.

Feghouli, who made his debut against The Gambia back in February 2012, will hope to earn cap number 44 when Algeria host Togo in a second friendly international in Blida on Saturday 10 June at 10pm BST.

Manuel Lanzini relishes making debut alongside 'best player' Messi

Manuel Lanzini is in optimistic mood as he prepares to make his Argentina debut alongside Lionel Messi on Friday. West Ham United's No10 is set to make his senior international bow for Argentina against arch-rivals Brazil in front of 70,000 fans in Australia. For Lanzini, who has spent the week training alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Paulo Dybala, his maiden call-up and potential bow for La Albiceleste come at the end of a stellar season in Claret and Blue. Now, he intends to continue his recent form by impressing new Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli – the former Chile and Sevilla boss – when he steps on to the pitch at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
"I am more than happy," he revealed. "I was hoping for this, I think I was playing well and I am lucky to achieve it."

Lanzini said his call-up was reward for his impressive 2016/17 campaign, in which he scored eight goals in 39 appearances, including vital winners against Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur, and was voted Players' Player of the Year. The Buenos Aires-born player has the ability to play across the attacking midfield line and, with the likes of Messi, Dybala and Angel Di Maria also in the squad, his versatility will be valuable to Sampaoli. "I am more mature now," said the 24-year-old. "I am more stable, which is very important. I also have more personality. I am feeling good and have confidence. "I am sometimes playing as right winger and sometimes in the middle – it all depends the way we play at West Ham." "I like [Sampaoli's] style as he is a manager that plays good football. I will do whatever he tells me to do it and I will try to do my best."

Whatever happens on Friday, and in Argentina's second friendly in Singapore on Tuesday 13 June, Lanzini has relished sharing the training pitch and dressing room with Messi. The pair met in Barcelona last year and Messi recently posted a photo on social media showing his West Ham shirt among those he has swapped throughout his illustrious career. "It is a double satisfaction [to be called-up and working alongside Messi]," Lanzini confirmed. "He is the best player in the world and we are lucky as he is Argentinian. We need to take advantage of this."

Bobby Moore versus Brazil - The World Cup's greatest battle

Wednesday 7 June marks the 47th anniversary of arguably the most-iconic performance of Bobby Moore's illustrious career. The West Ham United defender put on an imperious display as England faced Brazil at the 1970 FIFA World Cup finals in Mexico, producing a series of perfect tackles to halt Pele and Jairzinho, among others. Filmed in glorious colour, Moore's masterpiece was watched eagerly on television by a then-teenage Ken Dyer, the childhood Hammers fan who went on to spend four decades reporting on the Club for the London Evening Standard…

England versus Brazil was a group-stage match at the 1970 World Cup finals. Both teams had won their opening fixtures, against Romania and Czechoslovakia respectively, and would go on to qualify for the knockout stages. In the build-up to the game, the main thing I can remember is that it was thought England had a better squad than they were in 1966, when they won the tournament, and that England and Brazil were the two best teams in the world at the time.

The game was played in Guadalajara and, even watching on TV, you could feel that it was really hot with the temperature in the high eighties, which probably favoured Brazil. But while some of the England players appeared to wilt in the heat, Bobby Moore produced one of the finest performances, if not THE finest performance, of his career. He was the one who seemed to be stemming the tide each time Brazil came forward – and they came forward in waves with the great Pele, Rivelino, Jairzinho and Tostao.

The outstanding moments were undoubtedly Bobby coming up one-on-one against Pele, who was in the pomp at his time and was the best player I've ever seen, and Jairzinho. Bobby Moore was also at his best at that time and what stuck in my mind was how he marshalled the defence, and how he made those tackles that were not really tackles, but more kind of interceptions. The most famous of all came when Jairzinho was coming forward down the right-hand side and Bobby just held off and held off, then turned his body so he was almost sideways on then, at almost exactly the right time, stuck his leg out and took the ball off him. It was the best tackle, or interception, that you will ever see.

As I recall, Mooro always had his eyes on the ball. He wasn't looking at the player, because that was you can be bamboozled by a dummy. He just waited and waited until the perfect time, took the ball off him and Jairzinho probably thought 'What's happened there? Where's the ball gone?'. It was great.

The other moment I remember was Gordon Banks' save from Pele, who did everything you are supposed with his header, heading it down with power, but didn't score a goal. You wondered 'How did he keep that out?' because the ball was almost behind him. Somehow, he got it up and over the bar. I remember looking at Mooro, who was never demonstrative, but even he clapped Banks for that save. Finally, there was the iconic moment when Mooro and Pele swapped shirts. I have that image on the wall of my little office at home. They are looking at each other, Pele is tapping Bobby on the back of his head and Mooro is standing there and both are showing huge respect for one another. It's one of the great football pictures at the end of a great game.

Tricky backs Iheanacho bid
Filed: Wednesday, 7th June 2017
By: Staff Writer

BBC pundit Trevor Sinclair has backed West Ham United's bid to sign Manchester City youngster Kelechi Iheanacho. Sinclair, who represented West Ham for five years between 1998 and 2003 left his followers on social media in no doubt as to his thoughts on West Ham's bid to capture the 20-year-old forward, when posting at the weekend... Iheanacho scored eight goals in all competitions for Manchester City last season. The 6'2" goalscorer has been in England since 2014, when he was spotted at the Taye Academy in Owerri, Neigeria.

Club value rises by 17 per cent
Filed: Wednesday, 7th June 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United has been named as the 15th most valuable club in world football. Despite failing to break into the Premier League's top 10 last season, West Ham have been ranked above clubs such as Inter, Roma and the 2015/16 Premier League champions Leicester City by Forbes in their latest annual list. And according to the list, United's value has jumped by 17 per cent since leaving the Boleyn Ground - the biggest positive change of any club featuring in the top 20. Valued at $634million (£490million), West Ham are reported to have earned $213million (£165million) during the last season, which saw the club finish 11th in the table, reach the 4th round of the EFL Cup and 3rd round of the FA Cup.

Top 20 clubs (and their value)

1. Man Utd: $3.7billion
2. Barcelona: $3.6billion
3. Real Madrid: $3.6billion
4. Bayern Munich: $2.7billion
5. Man City: $2.1billion

6. Arsenal: $1.9billion
7. Chelsea: $1.8billion
8. Liverpool: $1.5billion
9. Juventus: $1.3billion
10. Tottenham: $1.1billion

11. Paris SG: $841million
12. Dortmund: $808million
13. AC Milan: $802million
14. Atletico Madrid: $732million
15. West Ham Utd: $634million

16. Schalke: $629million
17. Roma: $569million
18. Inter: $537million
19. Leicester: $413million
20. Napoli: $379million

Enner on Cruz control?
Filed: Wednesday, 7th June 2017
By: Staff Writer

Mexican club Cruz Azul are hoping to put an end to Enner Valencia's European adventure by taking him back to North America. The Ecuador international joined West Ham in the wake of an excellent 2014 World Cup campaign but spent last season on loan at Everton, having failed to secure a first team spot at the Olympic Stadium.
Earlier today it emerged that Liga MX outfit Cruz Azul - under the direction of Spanish coiach Paco Jemez - are trying to put together a package that will lure Valencia back to Mexico, where he featured prior to moving to London three years ago (La Hora). However the biggest stumbling block to a successful deal would be West Ham's demands, with the club seeking to recoup most of the £12million they spent on signing the player dubbed 'Superman' in his home country. Should Cruz - who finished 14th in the 18-team Torneo Apertura and 11th in the Torneo Clausura - be unable to secure a deal for Valencia, it is likely that they will turn their attention to former Liverpool and Chelsea star Fernando Torres.

West Ham favourites to sign Henry Onyekuru from KAS Eupen
Last Updated: 07/06/17 3:01pm

West Ham have moved to the head of the queue to sign striker Henry Onyekuru from Belgian club KAS Eupen, say Sky sources. The 20-year-old Nigerian is due to fly to England on Monday June 12 for talks with interested clubs. Seven Premier League sides - including Arsenal, West Ham and Swansea City - are in discussions to acquire the teenager who has been shining on the Belgian stage. On May 22, Sky sources reported that Arsenal were holding talks to sign Onyekuru with the player's representatives telling SSNHQ he wanted to play in England. English clubs can trigger the release clause in Onyekuru's contract by paying £7.85m and wages of £35,000 a week, while clubs abroad can sign him for £6.85m. Sources close to the player said they were confident the forward would play in the Premier League next season. The Hammers are also interested in Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace) and Alassane Plea (Nice).
Onyekuru is currently with the Nigeria squad preparing for Saturday's home Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa. He was the joint top-scorer in the Belgium first division last season with 25 goals. By way of comparison, Romelu Lukaka's best season in Belgium was in 2010-11 when he scored 20 times for Anderlecht. Batshuayi's best season was in 2013-14 when he scored 23 times for Standard Liege.


Max Kruse was one of the more impressive strikers in the Bundesliga this past season, netting 15 goals in just 23 appearances for Werder Bremen and has rightly attracted interest from overseas. Premier League trio West Brom, Stoke and Southampton are among those interested in signing the striker but Bild (h/t Sport Witness) have claimed that Everton and West Ham are leading the English race for his signature, while Manchester United have also been linked. The 29-year-old has many suitors, the report suggests, but as of now there have been no concrete offers put forward to the Bundesliga club for their star striker, nor are clubs said to be preparing them, it appears to be just interest at this stage. After Romelu Lukaku continued to hint that he's leaving Everton this summer and the car-crash that is the West Ham striker situation, it's no surprise that both clubs are making checks on some of Europe's most prolific forwards of the last few seasons, including Kruse.

West Ham star opens up about playing alongside Lionel Messi ahead of international debut
Lanzini could make his Argentina debut this week
Football London
14:30, 7 JUN 2017

Manuel Lanzini looks set to crown a brilliant season at the London Stadium by making his international debut for Argentina against Brazil on Friday. The 24-year-old has once again impressed in east London and the club's fans finally have their wish after calling for his international debut ever since he joined the Hammers nearly two years ago. New Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli could now hand the West Ham winger his debut for the South American clash in Melbourne before they travel to play Singapore next Tuesday. Given Argentina have the likes of Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria at their disposal, Lanzini has admitted he will play in any position for his new manager. "I am more mature now. I am more stable, which is very important. I also have more personality. I am feeling good and have confidence," Lanzini told the club website. "I am sometimes playing as right winger and sometimes in the middle – it all depends the way we play at West Ham. "I like [Sampaoli's] style as he is a manager that plays good football. I will do whatever he tells me to do it and I will try to do my best."

Scout Report: Steve Mounie
Moore Than Just a Club

This week saw West Ham join the race to sign highly rated Montpelier striker Steve Mounie. The forward who's goals helped his side stave off relegation from Ligue 1 this season is one of three the club are interested in.

From the injury problems to Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho last season it is clear that the club need to assess their attacking options. If rumours are the be believed they are interested in some quality additions already. The Hammers have been linked to two forwards this summer in the shape of Kelechi Iheanacho and Michy Batshuayi. Bringing in a proven Premier League goal scorer will be a vast improvement on the loan business which saw Jonathan Calleri and Simone Zaza join the club last summer. With the injuries to the first choice forwards and the two loanies failing to impress the club was seriously lacking a goal threat. That is where they are hoping to bring in Mounie to give more versatility up front.

There are a number of clubs who are interested in the 22 year-old Montpellier forward with rivals Watford and West Brom being among them. Mounie would be a cheaper than both Iheanacho and Batshuayi and would cost the club around £13 million. If a deal were to be agreed, what can the Hammers fans expect?

At 6'3″ the Benin international is very much in the mould of Carroll. Top scoring for Montpellier with 15 goals in 38 appearances last season is a decent return for a side towards the bottom of the Ligue 1 table. A goal in every 2.5 games is a better strike rate than that of Carroll who scored 7 in 22 appearances (1 per 3.14 games) during his injury hit campaign. Mounie is a strong and physical player who can compete well in the air. Seven of his goals last season were scored using his head so there would not be a need to adjust the style of play much from when using Carroll. He can compete well in the air also winning 8.4 aerial duels per 90 minutes last season vs 4.5 lost. When we compare this to Carroll the English man comes out on top winning 9.1 duels per 90, but having played 1,500 minutes less during the season.

From a statistical point of view he looks to be a good prospect to handle the physically of the Premier League and at £13 million would not be such a gamble. With other interested parties however the Hammers may face a bidding war in order to sign the player.

West Ham given major boost as Michy Batshuayi hints at Chelsea exit this summer
Batshuayi has found his game time to be limited at Chelsea so far
Football London
13:00, 7 JUN 2017

West Ham have been given a boost in their pursuit of Michy Batshuayi after the striker said he cannot spend another season on Chelsea's substitutes' bench. The Belgian forward claims he won't force a move but has admitted he needs regular first-team football ahead of next year's World Cup in Russia. The Hammers are in need of a new frontman and Slaven Bilic's team have been heavily linked with the 23-year-old following a difficult first season at Stamford Bridge. And with Belgium teammate Romelu Lukaku set to complete his big-money move to west London from Everton in the summer, Batshuayi could be the man to make way. Asked the possibility of another season on Chelsea's bench, Batshuayi told reporters at the Belgian national team's media day: "No, no, no. Everyone knows that I have to play more, that I have to score goals. "There's a World Cup coming up next year. I want to be ready for the World Cup."

Despite Batshuayi wanting to play regularly next season, the forward has claimed the final decision rests with Antonio Conte and the club. "I'm not going to ask anything," added the former Marseille forward. "I'm going to listen to what they are saying. They are the boss, not me. And afterwards I'll discuss it with my agent and the club. Amicably, as friends of course. "A loan? That's not up to me. That's up to them (Chelsea). They take the decisions, not me."

CHARLIE SMITH @cjsjourno

West Ham have joined Everton and other European clubs in the race to sign Chelsea forward Bertrand Traore, according to Foot Mercato.
Traore, 21, has been with Chelsea since 2013 making 16 appearances and scoring four goals during that time, and has enjoyed successful loan spells in the Netherlands. The Burkina Faso international spent 18 months with Vitesse Arnhem where he struck 20 goals in 51 appearances, and spent last term with Ajax where he notched 13 goals and four appearances in all competitions, helping them to the Europa League final. There is a lot of interest in Traore, who can play up front or out wide, with Lille, Lyon, Borussia Monchengladbach and Schalke all making offers and keen for his signature. Chelsea are asking for £17.5 million for Traore, with rumours they have already turned down a bid in the window for a fee in the region of £14 million for the striker.

By Blind Hammer 7 Jun 2017 at 08:00

Blind Hammer argues that the prime focus next season remains the defence. Disturbing signals are emerging from West Ham that we may yet again have muddled thinking in our defensive strategies. A few days ago David Gold responded to a query on Twitter about a potential loan for Reece Oxford. A West Ham fan wanted to know why we were not prepared to give Oxford a chance ourselves.

Gold responded that we already had 4 international centre backs so Oxford's path to the first team was effectively blocked. Now this apparently innocent observation by Gold raised all sorts of alarm bells for me.

First of all we need to have some context. Almost exactly a year ago this week I wrote an article entitled "The Case for the Defence" in which I criticised the attempt to sign a "20 goal a season striker" without providing a similar focus on our defence. I have no hesitation now in repeating yet again my belief that defensive fragilities remain more of an issue. When the season is taken as a whole weakness in defence caused more issues than our striking feebleness. During our worst passages this season we were conceding on average 3 goals a game. This is simply not viable for a top flight club to sustain and achieve any sort of success. Transferring even Ronaldo and Messy to West Ham would not have worked if they needed to score on average 4 goals to win a game.

Now thankfully Bilic eventually found a tactical formation which, at the tail end of last season, gave some basis for defensive security. We only really got a thumping in our last home game against Liverpool. Tellingly even in this game our worst phase of play came when we reverted to 4 at the back, after falling behind, with sadly predictable consequences.

The fact is that for nearly all of the season we rarely looked secure by playing 4 at the back. Using only 2 centre backs seems to result in their being exposed.

It is in this context that I find Gold's remarks so worrying. Gold obviously believes that the squad only has need for 4 top quality centre backs. This statement only make sense if he believe that we will be playing only 2 centre backs on a regular basis. . Yet we have recent evidence that we can only effectively defend with not 2 but 3 centre backs. If we will be playing 3 centre backs regularly as at the end of last season we need at least 5 and arguably 6 options in central defence. Last season 2 of our most effective central defenders, Reid and Obonna, spent large periods of the season injured. We should not be gambling that this problem will not re-occur.

I thought that Bilic and the club had learnt from this and would plan a squad which could at least deliver a 3 at the back formation securely without having to squeeze square pegs into round holes. I will be disappointed in the extreme if we are again forced into wasting the talents of Cheikhou Kouyaté in central defence. I suspect that the player himself will feel similar disappointment. Planning to use Håvard Nordtveit in this role would, I believe, be irresponsible given the defensive weaknesses we have shown in the last 18 months.

Now Gold is obviously not Bilic and it is Bilic who is responsible for team tactics and formation, however the problems with our defensive performance over 18 months should be at the forefront of attention and understood by the club hierarchy from top to bottom.

The case for Oxford going to Germany could be supported if we believe both Rice and Burke are ahead of him in the pecking order for first team places. However this was not the message. The message was that apparently Fonte, Obonna, Collins and Reid are enough squad cover for the season. If this is really the thinking at West Ham I think it is muddled and learns nothing from last season.

It is from defensive security that we must build confidence in our team; the crowd at the London Stadium must not endure pessimism that we are inevitably going to concede goals as a matter of course particularly in the final minutes.

Whilst on yet another summer glamour hunt for a striker the club must learn the lessons of last season and also prioritise the need to have the clearest strategy for locking our defence.

David Griffith

Jermain Defoe confirms medical with AFC Bournemouth
Saikat Mandal

Jermain Defoe has confirmed that he will be joining AFC Bournemouth this summer. After months of speculation, Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has revealed where he will join this summer. And the club is AFC Bournemouth. The 34-year-old joined the Black Cats in January 2015, and has been an inspirational figure for them. He scored 15 Premier League goals last season but couldn't prevent his side from getting relegated to the Championship. Last month, Sky Sports reported that Defoe has his sight on joining Bournemouth on a free transfer this summer, with the former Tottenham Hotspur reportedly agreeing a three-year deal at Dean Court, worth £65,000-a-week.

Defoe spent the 2000-01 season on loan at Bournemouth from West Ham where he scored in 10 successive matches. The England striker has confirmed that a move to the Cherries is definitely happening, adding he did undergo a medical with the Premier League club. "Well, yeah. It's out there, a lot of people obviously knew," said Defoe, as quoted by the BBC. "I did a medical and said when this is finished and I've had a break, come July everyone will know anyway."

The news will come as a blow to West Ham who were reportedly keen to sign their former striker this summer. Defoe made his name with the Hammers as a youngster, hitting 41 goals in 105 games before moving on to London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Sky Sports reported last month that West Ham were set to make a new move to land him in the summer transfer window. Defoe is currently on international duty with the England squad for the World Cup qualifier against Scotland on Saturday and a friendly against France three days later.

West Ham's Enner Valencia set to join Champions League club?
by Scott Johnson1 minute agoFollow @greensthammers

West Ham's Enner Valencia could be playing Champions League football next season. After a disappointing season at Everton, leaving Koeman unwilling to spend the money on signing him permanently from West Ham, it seems unlikely. But that's what recent reports have said, linking the player to a move to Besiktas. The Turkish champions are reportedly interested in bringing the Ecuadorian to the Superlig. Given the player's inability to reproduce quality on a regular basis, it seems a strange move. But could there be substance to the rumour? And should the Hammers be selling up, or holding on?

Valencia to Beskitas?

Many fans wanted Valencia gone permanently last summer, so that position is still relevant. Why should the Hammers hold on to a player that was deemed surplus to requirements before? But then West Ham haven't had the best season in front of goal. But the Ecuadorian isn't really the answer there, given he isn't an out and out striker himself. He wasn't a goal machine in his time in East London, and I doubt that he will suddenly be banging in goals left right and centre.

But it doesn't answer why a team who've just won their league would want him? Well if the qualities of Gokhan Tore are to be believed then it seems the Turkish Superlig is a simpler division to be a quality winger in. Someone with pace and the occasional long range thunderbolt would fit right in. Tore was a big force at Beskitas before his loan move to the Hammers, but couldn't cut it in England.

If Besiktas offer anything north of 10m for Valencia the Hammers should snap their hands off. There isn't anything worth negotiating there, because he offers nothing special to the Hammers side. In short I'd rather have Snodgrass still at the club than Valencia come September.


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