Tuesday, July 11

Daily WHUFC News - 11th July 2017

Obiang optimistic of being ready for Premier League opener

Pedro Obiang's comeback from injury remains on schedule and the Spanish midfielder is on course to be fit for the start of the new Premier League season. The Spanish midfielder has been out of action since being hurt in a challenge during West Ham United's meeting with Leicester City at London Stadium in March.
Obiang underwent surgery on his ankle and enjoyed a summer break before heading to Rush Green early to build up his strength and fitness ahead of the squad's return for pre-season training last Wednesday. Having come through an energy-sapping first few days at the Club's sun-drenched training ground, the 25-year-old joined his teammates as they flew out to Austria for a ten-day camp on Monday morning. "I am ready," said the No14, who signed a new long-term contract with the Hammers last week. "I worked a little bit before I arrived at Rush Green and came back one week early to work with some guys inside [the training ground], and they helped me to be ready to start with the boys on the first day. "I trained with the team at the end of last week to know if I was ready, then we will go to Austria to continue our training."

For Obiang, being fit to start work on the first day of pre-season alongside his teammates was important, both physically and mentally. The popular player did not want to be left behind fitness-wise, while he was also keen to be out on the pitch with Slaven Bilic and his coaching staff as preparations got underway for the big kick-off at Manchester United on Sunday 13 August. Obiang and company will step up their training under sunny skies in south east Austria over the next few days, before taking on Championship side Fulham in a pre-season match in Graz on Thursday evening. "It is important for my confidence and also because I am starting on the same day as all my teammates," he confirmed. "You can lose one or two days, of course, because sometimes it's better to wait, but in this case we worked hard and I'm ready." "I think I have time [to be ready for the start of the Premier League season] because we are still in July and we have one month to work together. "I am starting to feel confident in my ankle, so I think in August I will be ready to be at the same level [as I was before the injury]."

West Ham United depart for Austria training camp

West Ham United's pre-season preparations stepped up a gear on Monday morning, as Slaven Bilic and his players and backroom staff flew to Austria for an 11-day training camp. The trip marks the beginning of an almost four-week long European tour in the build-up to the start of the 2017/18 Premier League campaign, with another training camp scheduled in Germany from July 24 to August 2, followed by a final warm-up friendly against Manchester City in Iceland on August 4.
With the exception of Jose Fonte, whose Confederations Cup campaign with Portugal only ended last week, every member of the first-team squad boarded the plane to Vienna, including those who will continue injury rehabilitation while away. After touching down in the Austrian capital on Monday afternoon, the Hammers will head to the picturesque setting of Bad Waltersdorf, a municipality in the district of Hartberg-Fürstenfeld in Styria, where they will be based for the entire duration of the trip.

The location has been used by the Club in the past, while Austria has been the pre-season destination of choice for many Premier League clubs in recent years, with its tranquil surroundings and mountainous terrain providing the perfect environment for the players' physical fitness work and conditioning at altitude. With an average elevation of 910 metres above sea level across the country, compared to just 162m in the UK, the players' muscles will be forced to work harder to take in oxygen, producing more red blood cells and allowing more oxygen to be distributed around the body when returning to compete at a lower altitude. Double training sessions mean that the players will be working extremely hard throughout the first seven days in Austria, while two low-key opening training matches are planned for the second week, against a Sturm Graz B team on Monday and a Fulham side on Thursday. The camp will also enable the squad to spend valuable time together, with team bonding exercises planned and the players and staff eating all meals together as a group.

New Head of Medical Services, Gary Lewin, who will play a key role in managing the individual needs of each player, explained recently why the trip to Austria will be of such great benefit to the entire squad. "It's such a great environment," said the former England Head Physiotherapist. "The facilities and hotels are always very good, the pitches are a good standard but, more importantly, you can isolate the team, so that you can purely focus on pre-season and football. "It also means that we can take our injured players with us – we are not isolating them from the main squad and, although they will be integrated back into training at different times, they will essentially have been a part of the same programme. "This year we can set in stone what we are doing, and have a pre-conceived plan all the way through to the first Premier League fixture. We can all be on the same page, with the same levels of fitness and, hopefully, have everyone relatively injury-free and ready to go."

Hammers pair remain on course for Euro U19 final showdown

West Ham United pair Domingos Quina and Nathan Trott remain on course to meet in the UEFA European U19 Championship final after both tasted success at the weekend. Quina made his third appearance of the tournament on Saturday as Portugal came from 2-0 down to hold Sweden to a 2-2 draw in their final Group A fixture. The forward was introduced as a substitute with Portugal trailing 2-1 in Gori, Georgia, and helped his country level through Benfica forward Joao Filipe's late penalty. Portugal will take on the Netherlands in the semi-finals after the Dutch finished second to Trott's England in Group B. The point saw Quina and company top Group A ahead of the Czech Republic, who defeated the host nation 2-0 in their third group fixture to set up a semi-final clash with the Young Lions.
Goalkeeper Trott was again on the substitutes' bench as England thrashed Germany 4-1 in Tbilisi on Sunday to finish with a perfect nine points from nine. The two semi-finals will take place on Wednesday, with Portugal versus the Netherlands in Tbilisi at 2pm BST and England taking on the Czechs in the same city three hours later. Both ties will be screened live by British Eurosport. The final will take place on Saturday 15 July.

Elsewhere, Reece Oxford made his first appearance for loan club Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday, when he played the whole second half in a 1-0 win over Regionalliga West outfit Wuppertaler SV.

Premier League fixture announcement dates released

With the release of the 2017/18 Premier League fixtures last month, West Ham United supporters have already started their planning for the season ahead.
Hammers fans are reminded that throughout the season there will be alterations to the fixtures. Match dates can change for a variety of reasons, including live TV broadcast selections and also to accommodate matches in European and domestic cup competitions. For this reason, Premier League fixtures are always advertised as being subject to change. Three of West Ham's early-season Premier League fixtures have been moved for live TV coverage – the away fixture at Manchester United on Sunday 13 August and home games with Huddersfield Town on Monday 11 September and Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday 23 September.

Supporters can download a bespoke West Ham United Premier League digital calendar here ( https://pl.ecal.com/ ) , which will automatically update when any fixture chances are made.
Below are the approximate dates for when the announcements on matches that have been selected for live TV broadcast will be made:

Period of matches covered Approx date of announcement
August and September 2017 6 July 2017 (See fixture changes)
October and November 2017 11 August 2017
December 2017 and January 2018 12 October 2017
February 2018 12 December 2017
March 2018 25 January 2018
April 2018 26 February 2018
May 2018 6 April 2018
Matchweek 38 After all clubs have played 37 matches

Spirits high as Academy return to training

Everyone at West Ham United's famed Academy of Football returned to pre-season training at Chadwell Heath last week with a spring in their step following last season's success. In May, Academy Director Terry Westley guided his U23 side to Premier League 2 promotion via the play-offs, silverware which followed the previous campaign's Premier League Cup triumph. Meanwhile, young stars Domingos Quina and Declan Rice both made their first team debuts, as the likes of Alex Pike, Marcus Browne, Moses Makasi and Nathan Holland were included on Slaven Bilic's substitutes' bench for Premier League matchdays. The U18s also enjoyed a fine term under the guidance of coaches Steve Potts and Mark Phillips, qualifying for Division One of the Premier League's youth league after a terrific first half of the season. And as the players reported back to training last Monday morning, Westley was pleased to confirm spirits were high. "Everyone's back with a smile on their face," he said. "We ended the season with a terrific performance at Newcastle and we've played very well now for two years. "I think most people in our league felt that we were one of the best teams and should have been around promotion last season. It was well deserved. "The captain Declan Rice led by example, and he's now away with the first team. It shows what a great season in the Academy can do. He's really one to watch this year – he could be a surprise to everyone. "The others who are with the first team – the likes of Reece Burke – have got to follow that, too. Then you've got Reece Oxford who has started over at Borussia Monchengladbach; Nathan Trott is with England U19s at the European Championships; Domingos Quina is with Portugal at the same competition. "It's a talented group and we're really looking forward to the opportunities which will present themselves to us this season."

The U23s will face a rigorous campaign in 2017/18, testing themselves against the likes of Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in PL2 Division One, while they will also compete against European sides in the Premier League International Cup. An intense pre-season schedule in preparation for the campaign is therefore necessary, and Westley believes this summer has just that in store for the youngsters. "We keep throwing challenges in front of the U23s and making it tough. This summer, we have two games on tour in Slovakia against clubs in the Europa League, then we have got Colchester, Barnet and Dagenham's first teams. "That's a Championship pre-season. But that's the level we want this team to reach. We've said to the players, pre-season is again a real chance for players to prove themselves. "We've sat down and had a meeting with all of them, even the ones now away with the first team, and whether you're challenging to get on loan, or challenging to get a number with Slaven's group and be in the first team, or challenging to get in Steve and Mark's U18 team, you have got to work hard. "They've got to show that they're playing at that level."

Returning Reece Burke eager to impress for West Ham again

Reece Burke is eager to catch the eye after returning to West Ham United for pre-season training. The promising centre-half endured a frustrating 2016/17 season on loan at Championship club Wigan Athletic, where a hip problem restricted him to ten appearances. Now fit again, Burke has been training alongside the first-team squad for the past few days after having plans for a season-long loan put on hold by manager Slaven Bilic. The 20-year-old may yet be sent out to gain more experience, but for now he will remain in Claret and Blue and is aiming to impress the manager. "I'm buzzing to be here," he confirmed. "I was going to go on loan, but that has been put on hold as the manager has told me he wants me to do pre-season here with the first team, so it's a good opportunity for me to get back in with the lads, as I've been away for a while now. "I spoke with the gaffer and he wants me to stay here, so it's a good opportunity for me to work hard and show him what I've got, because obviously I haven't seen him for a while. "I need to stay fit and have a good pre-season here, that's my target."

Burke's injury-affected season was even more exasperating when you consider the progress he had made over the preceding 18 months. Then just 18, the Newham-born player started the final five Premier League matches of the 2014/15 campaign, scooping the Young Hammer of the Year award. He then won Player of the Year honours with loan club Bradford City after a sensational League One season in 2015/16. "That seems long ago for me as I've had two seasons out on loan since then," he recalled, when asked for his recollection of his early Hammers appearances. "At Bradford, it went well and I won Player of the Year and picked up quite a few trophies, so it was a good season for me there and a good experience. "Last season wasn't the best season for me, as I picked up quite a few injuries, but I still managed to play a few games in the Championship, so I know what it's like and what I'll be up against if I do go on loan again. "My ambition is to play in the Premier League and to do that you have to go on loan and get experience and, if I have to do that to develop, that's what I'll do."

Reece Burke has made 12 first-team appearances for West Ham United - including five as a teenager in the Premier League in spring 2015 Burke partnered James Collins in his five Premier League starts back in spring 2015 and he is looking forward to spending time with Ginge on the training pitch again. With Jose Fonte, Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid also travelling to Austria for the Hammers' first pre-season camp, there will be plenty of experience for the youngster to draw upon. "I was young then and I'm still quite young now, so I'm still developing into a man," said Burke, who also started both legs of last season's UEFA Europa League Play-Off round tie with Astra Giurgiu. "It was good that I played back then and got the experience of playing in the Premier League alongside first-team players and older players, because you learn off them. "It's good to be back here because there are quite a few good centre-halves here and I want to learn off them. "They are top players and top centre-halves and I'm looking forward to being around them in pre-season. When I did play in the Premier League, I played alongside Ginge and it's crazy how much playing alongside an experienced centre-half can help you. I learned a lot in those five games."

Chelsea to battle West Ham for Celtic striker Moussa Dembele
CHELSEA are reportedly set to battle West Ham for Celtic striker Moussa Dembele.
PUBLISHED: 21:08, Mon, Jul 10, 2017 | UPDATED: 21:43, Mon, Jul 10, 2017

Chelsea are in the market for a new striker this summer after manager Antonio Conte informed Diego Costa he is not in his plans next season. The Spain international bagged 22 goals to help Chelsea to the Premier League title and FA Cup final last season but is said to have fallen out with Conte. And according to Sky Sports transfer guru Kaveh Solhekol, Chelsea have now turned their attention to Celtic hitman Dembele. Premier League rivals West Ham and Ligue 1 giants Marseille are also reportedly looking to sign the France Under-21 international. Solhekol wrote on Twitter: "Marseille want to sign Celtic striker Moussa Dembele. He's also an option for West Ham and Chelsea. Scored 32 times last season." Chelsea's need for a new striker has intensified in recent weeks after they missed out on re-signing Manchester United new boy Romelu Lukaku from Everton. While West Ham are desperate to add more firepower to their front line this summer, with Arsenal's Olivier Giroud and Burnley's Andre Gray said to be on their wishlist. Dembele joined Celtic last summer after seeing out his contract at Championship outfit Fulham and enjoyed a stunning debut campaign in Scotland. The 20-year-old scored 32 goals in 46 games last term to help Celtic to a Scottish Premiership, Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup treble. And Celtic legend Jackie McNamara recently admitted that Dembele could move on this summer. "You can see it," he said when asked if Dembele could join an elite club. "When you look at the games, he did well in big competitions. "His all round game is good and he's a strong lad for a youngster. He did really well in the Champions League against Manchester City and in the other games."

Lewin looking ahead
Filed: Monday, 10th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United's New Head of Medical Services, Gary Lewin, says he is looking forward to his first pre-season at the club. Lewin is part of the entourage that jetted out to Austria yesterday for an 11-day stay in Bad Waltersdorf, a village some 75 miles south of capital Vienna renowned for its (hot) natural spring water.
And he revealed that he was looking forward to working with the squad ahead of the start of the 2017/18 Premier League campaign. "It's such a great environment," Lewin told the club's website. "The facilities and hotels are always very good, the pitches are a good standard but, more importantly, you can isolate the team, so that you can purely focus on pre-season and football. "It also means that we can take our injured players with us – we are not isolating them from the main squad and although they will be integrated back into training at different times, they will essentially have been a part of the same programme. "This year we can set in stone what we are doing and have a pre-conceived plan all the way through to the first Premier League fixture. We can all be on the same page, with the same levels of fitness and, hopefully, have everyone relatively injury-free and ready to go."

The Hammers are scheduled to play at least two fixtures during their brief stay, against local side Sturm Graz and Championship outfit Fulham, who are also enjoying pre-season in the same area. Meanwhile travelling fans have already started to arrive in the area ahead of the two fixtures - no doubt keen to sample some of Bad Waltersdorf's world-famous spas and golf courses!

Why should we not be worried?
Filed: Monday, 10th July 2017
By: Paul Walker

Maybe I am just too cynical, maybe I have been following and commenting on football for too long now not to be able to see anything positive about my club.
But anyone watching West Ham at the moment who is not worried, is not paying attention. Anyone who thinks our 'Bermuda triangle' of a recruitment team is not fractured beyond repair is also not paying attention. Daily now we are seeing supposed transfer targets disappear, daily the money we all believed was there and we were promised would be there in abundance once we had moved to the Olympic Stadium, is disappearing. I want someone to tell me things will be OK and mean it. That we will sign the half dozen --minimum--players we need to replenish a squad being depleted. Daily. Anyone who knows me realises I don't do sums very well. I have a wife and a financial advisor (I promise you that is not the same thing!) on the case for things like money matters. But even I can see that the sums at West Ham do not add up, be it by smoke and mirrors, as you would expect from a David Sullivan-David Gold regime, or that thicko fans like me just don't understand football's high (or in our case, low) finances.

Let's start with Slav and the transfer market trio. That's our manager, owner Sullivan and his pet, Tony Henry, our head of player recruitment. Last season we were told that all three present a wish list of players, and that all deals are signed off by all three. I can only assume something similar happened at the end of last season. So you would expect all three to be firmly abreast of the situation at all times. Then Slaven Bilic goes off for his hip operation and then takes himself away to Croatia with his (new) family and baby for a holiday. That's fine. But you would expect him to know the details of the Kelechi Iheanacho dealings. The buy-back clause (at which point I would have canned the deal instantly, it's just a very expensive loan), the value and the merits of the player and his potential. Stick with me here. Henry and Sullivan work for months to get a deal in place, as well as personal terms, I am told. Then Bilic returns for pre-season training, and within hours has dumped the whole thing, seemingly claiming that the kid's future potential is in doubt. You can only imagine the language from the Henry/Sullivan end of the argument. Surely all this should have been known, discussed and sorted earlier. They do have mobile phones in Croatia. Well they did the last time I was there. So was Slav in the loop? But Slav has previous for this. You all remember another Henry deal, the one set-up over weeks to bring Scott Hogan to the club. The player being withdrawn from matches, being told the deal was about to happen, and all the annoying disruption to Brentford's plans. But right at the death, Slav pulled the plug. The player was not Premier League standard and he didn't want to waste money he would rather spend in the summer. Nothing I have seen from Hogan at Aston Villa at the moment suggests Slav was anything but spot-on about the lad. And is seems Slav had expressed a view earlier that Hogan was not his priority.

So you are left wondering how long this transfer trio will last for, longer or shorter than Theresa May stays as PM? Sure you can get a bet on that! And it also seems that the Joe Hart thing has disappeared since Slav returned from his hollibobs. I recall him dismissing such a deal last season and insisting Adrian and Darren Randolph were good enough. And he didn't want to spend so much of his budget on a goalkeeper. This desire to protect the cash is becoming a recurring theme, isn't it?

Now we have the case of Sofiane Feghouli, who did not want to be sold, finding himself being shunted off to Galatasaray. He hasn't asked for a transfer so I reckon he is due his loyalty bonus under the terms of his contract. But somehow we are arguing about that.

Robert Snodgrass will be sold, they'll take money for Ashley Fletcher. Strikes me anything that isn't nailed down at the moment will be sold if we can get a price. And this at a time when we are throwing money at Manual Lanzini, Michail Antonio, Angelo Ogbonna and Pedro Obiang to keep them sweet.

Does it suggest to you all out there that Slav has been told to sell players before he can have any new ones? The goalposts seemed to have been moved and the transfer pot is not as big as we were all led to believe.

Now the next bit could see me shot down in flames for not understanding my adding up properly. But…we were led to believe that money would be there for new players once we got up and running at Stratford.

With all the extra money coming from TV, plus the £60/70m we had last season for the market, the pot would be significantly increased.

I have seen some assessment that we would have well over £100m to spend. That could be wishful thinking, and I am sure the chuckle brothers will have a view on why that's just a pipedream and one they never really put forward anyway. Trouble is gents, that's what the fans were expecting.

Gold, of course, then makes things worse by taking about 'finding the money from somewhere.' Alarm bells there, then. And then it emerges that the budget for players is around £45m, the same as last season. All I can say is that this Bermuda Triangle of money is disappearing pretty quickly.

Then there is the £20m that was not spent on Simone Zaza when the deal changed to a £4m loan. I keep being told that I have got this wrong, but where has the money gone? The club's own website, and darling Karren's newspaper column, kept including that £20m in the overall total of expenditure last summer, and I have seen it written more than once that the £20m had been banked for future use.

But a financial whiz tells me I am double counting this money when I question why it has not been added to this season, or last January's, budget. It looks like 'find the lady time' up the Mile End Road to me, the money is there somewhere but I can't put my finger on it!

It's also being suggested now that the new pay day loan regulations are having an impact on our spending, because we used to have money from the Virgin Islands and of course that has now been stopped by the Premier League.

Of course, I hear you say, Everton used to have a similar arrangement. Trouble is, they have found themselves a new sugar daddy to step in and help Bill Kenwright keep the club financially buoyant. We don't have that, remember, because Sullivan has turned down a couple of approaches to buy into the club, or just take it off his hands.

Of course Everton have had the knowledge that there would be £100m coming their way, plus the budget they were already going to spend. And they have Steve Walsh, their new director of football, to do the business. And how.

Walsh is the scout who they claim set up the Didier Drogba and Gianfranco Zola deals when he worked for Chelsea. He also put together the Leicester squad that won the title, signing up Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante. Now Everton have paid Leicester the £1m release clause and Walsh now has Henry's old job at Everton. Nice one Mr. Kenwright.

So where do we get the money from to replace the pay day loans? Over to you Karren. Did anyone see the lovely holiday snaps of her with her husband relaxing on Sir Philip Green's yacht last week, being transported around the Med in much luxury?

Now everyone is entitled to chose their own friends, even if they are slimy operators who have been accused of having relieved a lot of folk of their pensions. Nice company you keep Lady Brady, at least we know the sort of people we are dealing with.

Now I mention Green just for my mischievous amusement, nothing more. Because there were lots of allegations that he had an 'interesting ' role at Everton when they struggled to rub two pennies together.

He was supposed to offer advice to his mate Kenwright on all sorts of things. His name used to get regularly mention when transfer were being discussed. Everton have always denied any such allegations, although they were mentioned at Green's parliamentary investigation into BHS.

Maybe, just maybe, Lady Brady could interest her mate in West Ham over the on-board bubbly. But then maybe not! It was only a rumour among hacks, and you know how you can't trust journalists to get anything right.

One final point. There are too many claims flying about that Liverpool fans, and now a Spurs fan, have been able to buy seasons tickets as the club dispose of the 5,000 tickets that were not renewed.

The claims are too frequent, and the Spurs fan claims he has four such tickets, for it not being worthy of investigation by someone at the club.

If we had 50,000 plus on the waiting list, how can someone claim to have bought four tickets? Maybe the club could enlighten us and show that this is just not the case. Or are they just selling tickets to anyone these days?

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 kids top PL price list
Filed: Monday, 10th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Kids' match day ticket prices for Category A games at the Olympic Stadium next season will be the highest in the Premier League, a survey has discovered.
Despite promising to offer "affordable football", West Ham United will be charging their youngest fans more than TWICE the figure charged by their closest rival to attend matches against some of the PL#s leading lights in 2017/18. Under 16s wishing to purchase match day tickets for Category A matches next season will be asked to pay £50 for the pleasure - that's double the figure their closest rivals, Brighton and Tottenham, will be charging for Category A fixtures (£25).

Elsewhere in the capital, Arsenal have set their Category A fee at £24, Chelsea at £19.50, Crystal Palace at £18 for Under 16s. Fortunately kids' prices for the less-enticing opposition are rather more competitive for young West Ham supporters; for example Category C matches, in the cheapest tier (Band 5) will cost just £12.50 (where available) which is marginally cheaper than most London rivals.

West Ham fail with £15m bid for Stoke's Marko Arnautovic
By Sky Sports News HQ
Last Updated: 10/07/17 6:55pm

West Ham have failed with a £15m offer for Stoke's Marko Arnautovic, according to Sky sources. Arnautovic has handed in a transfer request at Stoke four years after arriving in a £2m transfer from Werder Bremen - and just 12 months after signing a new four-year contract. West Ham are expected to return with an improved offer, but Stoke are not looking to sell the Austria forward, who is currently on tour in Austria with the rest of the City squad. The Hammers have signed Pablo Zabaleta on a free transfer but are yet to add to their forward options despite holding talks over several players. Enquiries have been made about Javier Hernandez, Kelechi Iheanacho, Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi and Cologne's Anthony Modeste, according to Sky sources. Osmanlispor midfielder Badou N'Diaye is another target.


It looks as though Enner Valencia has finally secured a move away from West Ham. Mexican club Tigres, who have been heavily linked with signing the forward this summer, have posted pictures on their Twitter account of the squad in training. These images show Valencia alongside the existing members of the team.
The club confirms that Valencia is with the club taking part in pre-season training, but an official announcement is yet to be made by West Ham themselves.
Valencia spent last season on loan at Everton after scoring just 10 goals in 72 appearances across two seasons for West Ham, and it's widely believed that the Hammers are eager to offload the striker in order to pave the way for new recruits. The reported fee for Valencia is between £6-7m, say Sky Sports.

Burke's loan move "put on hold" - the West Ham quotes of the day
Football London
18:30, 10 JUL 2017

Pedro Obiang gave the club's fans a boost by saying he will be ready for the start of the season. "I am ready. I worked a little bit before I arrived at Rush Green and came back one week early to work with some guys inside [the training ground], and they helped me to be ready to start with the boys on the first day.
"I trained with the team at the end of last week to know if I was ready, then we will go to Austria to continue our training." The Spaniard also admitted that he was happy to start pre-season training on the same day as all his teammates "It is important for my confidence and also because I am starting on the same day as all my teammates, "You can lose one or two days, of course, because sometimes it's better to wait, but in this case we worked hard and I'm ready. "I think I have time [to be ready for the start of the Premier League season] because we are still in July and we have one month to work together. "I am starting to feel confident in my ankle, so I think in August I will be ready to be at the same level [as I was before the injury]."
Reece Burke has said he is happy to be with the squad for the training camp in Austria after a loan move was put on hold "I'm buzzing to be here. I was going to go on loan, but that has been put on hold as the manager has told me he wants me to do pre-season here with the first team, so it's a good opportunity for me to get back in with the lads, as I've been away for a while now. "I spoke with the gaffer and he wants me to stay here, so it's a good opportunity for me to work hard and show him what I've got, because obviously I haven't seen him for a while. "I need to stay fit and have a good pre-season here, that's my target."

Gary Lewin, new head of medical services at the club, explained why the training camp in Austria will benefit the squad "It's such a great environment, The facilities and hotels are always very good, the pitches are a good standard but, more importantly, you can isolate the team, so that you can purely focus on pre-season and football. "It also means that we can take our injured players with us – we are not isolating them from the main squad and, although they will be integrated back into training at different times, they will essentially have been a part of the same programme."

West Ham get major boost in effort to sign Javier Hernandez - report
The former Manchester United striker could be on his way to the Hammers
Football London
17:44, 10 JUL 2017

Javier Hernandez is looking for a way back to the Premier League and West Ham might just be the answer for him. According to The Telegraph, the 29-year-old is keen to make the move to the Hammers this summer as he wants a return to England after his stint in the Bundesliga. The Mexican striker will most likely cost West Ham around £13m from Bayer Leverkusen, however it is more his wage demands that could cause the issue in any potential deal. Hernandez is reportedly demanding £140K per week, which would make him the highest paid player in the squad and is something that could put the club off. However, Slaven Bilic is desperate for another striker, having turned down the chance to try to sign Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho. Hernandez would be a massive signing for the Hammers however, who are keen to improve on last season's 11th place finish.

Date: 10th July 2017 at 5:29pm
Written by: This is Futbol

Javier Hernandez is keen to quit Bayer Leverkusen and join West Ham this summer, according to the Telegraph. The newspaper claim that the goal poacher, 29, wants to make a return to the Premier League two years after leaving Manchester United. The Telegraph report that Hammers manager Slaven Bilic would "love" to partner Hernandez with Stoke City wide man Marko Arnautovic and Michail Antonio in a re-shaped front line, which he believes would solve the club's problem of a lack of goal threat. West Ham co-chairman David Gold has already publicly stated that the club's main targets this summer are a centre-forward and a forward who can play wide. It is said that Hernandez's wage demands are the main sticking point to a deal as his Leverkusen salary is around £125,000-a-week and he wants to maintain that if he quits the Bundesliga club. It is a sum that would make the Mexican the highest-paid player in West Ham's history, although his £12million valuation is within the means of the Londoners. The 94-time Mexico international, who has notched up an impressive 48 goals for his country, has just 12 months remaining on his Leverkusen contract. He has showed in the Bundesliga that his fox in the box qualities that are well remembered by Premier League audiences remain firmly intact. Hernandez has scored 39 goals from 76 Leverkusen matches after his 158 matches for United yielded 59 goals and 20 assists as well as two Premier League winners' medals. The Mexican was often used as an impact substitute and his goals-per-minutes ratio for the club was particularly impressive. Hernandez made 36 appearances for Leverkusen last season, scoring 13 goals and picking up four assists as his campaign was disrupted by injuries which kept him out of several matches.

Celtic struggling to agree terms with Stuart Armstrong; West Ham United should make bid
John Verrall

Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong could offer West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic a massive increase in creativity. According to the Scottish Sun, Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong is at loggerheads with the Bhoys over his contractual situation. Armstrong has just a year left on his current deal at Celtic, and is currently trying to negotiate fresh terms. The Bhoys are keen for Armstrong to stay, but Brendan Rodgers is finding it difficult to meet his wage demands. According to the Scottish Sun, Celtic are now warning Armstrong that they won't be held to ransom by him and as tension mounts West Ham United should test the water by making a bid.
Armstrong enjoyed a wonderful campaign at Celtic last term, and would be a very smart addition for West Ham. The Bhoys are said to be willing to consider offers of £10 million by The Sun, meaning he is well within West Ham's price range. And the 25-year-old would offer Slaven Bilic energy and creativity from midfield.
Armstrong scored 15 goals and claimed seven assists in 31 appearances for Celtic last term in the league, and looks to be one of the finest talents in Scotland.
It has been a frustrating transfer window for West Ham so far. But, for just £10 million, it would be worthwhile making a bid for Armstrong - as his arrival at the London Stadium would significantly strengthen Slaven Bilic's options.

West Ham target Marko Arnautovic will only be sold 'if terms are right', says Stoke chairman Peter Coates
Evening Standard

Stoke City have warned West Ham they will only sell Marko Arnautovic if the price is right after rejecting an initial bid from the Hammers. Standard Sport understands that the initial bid was worth around £15million, with Stoke since confirming that they had rejected an offer from their Premier League rivals.
Slaven Bilic was interested in the Austrian international last season and his arrival would bring the pace and power the West Ham boss has been keen to incorporate into his frontline. It would also sate David Gold's professed desire to add experienced Premier League players to the squad, with particular focus on upgrading West Ham's attack. The 28-year-old forward has handed in a transfer request to force through the departure but chairman Peter Coates has insisted that Stoke will not be pressured into letting Arnautovic leave. "We have received a bid from West Ham for Marko and it was turned down," Coates told the Telegraph.
"[Stoke manager] Mark [Hughes] is planning to meet with the player and hopefully he can find a positive resolution, as he did last year. "We will only sell Marko if the terms are right but he's not a player we want to lose."
West Ham have found progress in the transfer window frustratingly slow since completing the signing of Pablo Zabaleta on a free transfer earlier this summer.
They look set to miss out on Arsenal's Olivier Giroud and Bilic pulled the plug on a deal for Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho due to fears over whether the Nigerian international could make the step up from a squad role at the Etihad. The likes of Michy Batshuayi of Chelsea and Andre Gray of Burnley are up for discussion at the London Stadium as they hunt for a new striker.

West Ham have never held an interest in signing Badou N'Diaye - sources
The midfielder has been linked with a move to the Hammers
Footbal London
20:30, 10 JUL 2017

football.london sources close to West Ham have told us the club holds absolutely no interest in signing Osmanlispor midfielder Badou N'Diaye this summer. The attacking midfielder has been reportedly close to sealing a £9m move from Turkey to the Hammers and even went as far as to say the 26-year-old was on his way to London for a medical. However, we have learned that the club has never had an interest in the Senegalese star and a move for him is certainly not on the cards for now. Our source told us: "Nothing at all. It isn't happening, the club was never in for him."
Multiple reports in Turkey have claimed that a move is close for the player who scored seven goals last season for the Turkish side, who would have cost around £9m to bring over to England. In his first season with Osmanlispor FK in 2015/16, he did very well indeed. N'Diaye scored 11 goals that season in 33 Super Lig games in Turkey, including a hat trick against Mersin IY. He also picked up four assists and six yellow cards, but no red ones.

West Ham transfer round-up: £25 million man rejects Hammers switch; Bilic faces competition for £8.5 million star
Antony Martin

West Ham united fans are expecting plenty of exciting new arrivals this summer, but have so far been left disappointed. First up is news concerning another failed swoop for a striker, with the Daily Star reporting that Gunners forward Theo Walcott has no interest in moving to the London Stadium, after talk of a £25 million move surfaced. The 28-year-old is understood to want to remain at the Emirates and fight for his place. Meanwhile, the Hammers have received another blow, with Arsenal now demanding £30 million for Olivier Giroud, according to the Mirror. Whilst the Frenchman would be a useful addition to West Ham's squad, it is debatable whether he is worth the amount of money being quoted. In other news, the east London outfit now face stringent competition in their pursuit of Badou N'Diaye, with Sky Sports reporting that Newcastle are willing to pay £8.5 million for the Senegalese midfielder. The Mirror had reported on Sunday that the Hammers were closing in on a deal to sign the 26-year-old. And finally, in slightly better news for West Ham fans, one of Bilic's key targets - Marko Arnautovic has handed in a transfer request at Stoke, in an attempt to force through a move to the Hammers, according to the Telegraph. They claim that the east Londoners have already had a £15 million bid for the Austrian rejected.

Prime West Ham target Marko Arnautovic limps off injured in Stoke friendly
Damien Lucas

Has the West Ham United injury curse struck again after prime target Marko Arnautovic was stretchered off in Stoke City friendly. The Hammers have had a £15 million bid rejected by the Potters and chairman Peter Coates has admitted the player will be sold if their terms are met, as reported by the Evening Standard.
Slaven Bilic has made the 28-year-old one of his main targets and his profile fits with the club's current policy to add proven Premier League players to their team.
Arnautovic has reportedly handed in a transfer request after becoming disillusioned with life at the Bet365 Stadium, as reported by Sky Sports That will be music to the ears of Hammers fans who have watched on with frustration as their rivals strengthen while Pablo Zabaleta is West Ham's only signing so far on a free transfer from Manchester City. But has the infamous West Ham injury curse struck again after the attacker was seemingly injured and had to be substituted in Stoke's pre-season friendly against Neuchatel Xamax. According to the Stoke Sentinel's live coverage of the 0-0 draw, Arnautovic looked like he would require a stretcher before limping off and did not reappear for the second half as Mark Hughes made 11 changes. The Sentinel reported: "Arnautovic is down and this time it looks pretty serious. It looks like he might need a stretcher. Stoke's medical team is looking pretty concerned and Bojan and Erik Pieters have gone over to check he's all right. "The half-time whistle has gone in the mean time. Arnautovic shrugs off the physio and limps down the tunnel on his own. Stoke fans were calling: "Arnie is a Stokie."
West Ham will be hoping the injury is not serious enough to put a stop to any potential transfer. Hammers fans are used to seeing their players, new signings and potential signings suffer serious injuries and just last season watched as record buy Andre Ayew was injured and ruled out for four months just 30 minutes into his debut against Chelsea.

West Ham agree to sign Anouar El Mhassani on a three-year deal
By Jay Williams - Jul 10, 2017 0

West Ham United fans are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of transfer activity in the senior team this summer. Pablo Zabaleta has been the only summer addition but reports in Netherlands claim that the Hammers are about to bolster their youth options. According to Dutch media outlet Ajax Show Time, West Ham United have agreed a deal to sign Anouar El Mhassani. Anouar El Mhassani is now set to leave Ajax and pen a three year deal with West Ham United.
The teenage starlet was a regular performer in the Ajax under-16 side last season but his progress has been hindered by injury woes. The youthful left-winger suffered a long-term injury and that has prevented him from being offered a new deal by the Dutch giants. Rather than stay in Holland, El Mhassani now looks set to complete a move to England, where he will join West Ham United. The Hammers are expected to seal a move for the Ajax starlet imminently and this report actually suggests that a deal was completed last Thursday. Anouar El Mhassani is likely to slot into the youth team set-up at West Ham United rather than compete for a spot in the first team immediately.

West Ham Transfer News: Stoke fuming as Marko Arnautovic hands in request
WEST HAM are one step closer to signing Marko Arnautovic after the Stoke star handed in a transfer request.
PUBLISHED: 16:30, Mon, Jul 10, 2017 | UPDATED: 16:36, Mon, Jul 10, 2017

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic wants to sign Arnautovic this summer. The Hammers believe they can capture the Austrian for £15million. And Stoke boss Mark Hughes is said to be fuming at the timing of Arnautovic's request. Stoke are currently on their pre-season training camp in Switzerland as they prepare for the new Premier League season. Hughes has so far signed just two players this summer, with Darren Fletcher arriving from West Brom on a free transfer, and Josh Tymon from Hull. This week they offloaded Jon Walters onto Burnley, while six other players have been released. Arnautovic has been a key figure at Stoke since his arrival from Werder Bremen back in 2013. He came to the Premier League with a bad-boy reputation but has served the Potters well over the years. The Daily Star claim he is frustrated with the club's apparent lack of ambition, although Stoke could easily refuse the transfer request, knowing Arnautovic still has three years left on his contract.

Marko Arnautovic hands in transfer request after Stoke reject £15m West Ham bid
Jason Burt, chief football correspondent
10 JULY 2017 • 4:33PM
The Telegraph

Marko Arnautovic has submitted a transfer request after Stoke City rejected a £15million bid from West Ham United. The 28-year-old Austrian has emerged as one of West Ham's prime targets and is greatly admired by their manager Slaven Bilic. It remains to be seen how hard he now pushes for a move away from Stoke.
Arnautovic held talks with Stoke manager Mark Hughes last week when he informed him of his desire to leave and has now put that in writing. Stoke do not want to sell Arnautovic, who is contracted until 2020, but are braced for an improved offer of around £20million from West Ham and may have to let him go. West Ham co-chairman David Gold has already publically stated that the club's main targets this summer are a centre-forward and a forward who can play wide and Arnautovic is regarded as a key part of a re-shaped front-line. Bilic would love to partner Arnautovic with Javier Hernandez – and with Michail Antonio, who signed a new contract at the end of last season, on the other flank – but West Ham are unsure they want to meet the Mexican's wage demands. Hernandez was close to joining West Ham two years ago when he left Manchester United but opted for a move to Bayer Leverkusen instead where he is believed to earn around £125,000-a-week. The 29-year-old can now leave the German club for a fixed fee of about £12million and is keen to return to the Premier League and would like to go to West Ham although he also wants to maintain the wages he currently earns. If West Ham met his demands it would make him the highest-paid player in the club's history.
West Ham will continue to push to sign Arnautovic with the club wanting to add more power and 'personality' to the team for next season. It is possible that they would offer players, also, in exchange for Arnautovic. West Ham have also expressed interest in a number of other forward players including Arsenal's Olivier Giroud, who is also wanted by Everton and Marseille, and Michy Batshuayi who may be available on a season-long loan from Chelsea. They have also failed in moves, of more than £20million, this summer for the Cologne striker Anthony Modeste and Villarreal forward Cedric Bakumbu but it appears that Arnautovic is their number one target. Stoke are currently in Switzerland as part of their pre-season preparations and are due to play their first match against Neuchatel Xamax this evening after which Hughes will be asked about Arnautovic's future.

First team chance beckons for West Ham striker Toni Martinez as Spaniard travels to Austria
The young Hammers star has made the trip to Vienna with the first team squad
Football London
13:20, 10 JUL 2017UPDATED13:23, 10 JUL 2017

Toni Martinez will get the chance to impress Slaven Bilic up close as the youngster has travelled with the West Ham first team on their pre-season training camp to Austria. The 18-year-old striker scored 14 goals in 13 games for the Hammers U23s last season, including a brace in the PL2 play-off final win over Newcastle and his displays left many fans clamouring for him to be involved in the first team. Now Martinez, refreshed from a summer off, had been with Slaven Bilic's men training at Rush Green last week and he has made the cut for the training camp as well as matches against Sturm Graz and Fulham. The players have touched down in Vienna this afternoon and will head to the picturesque setting of Bad Waltersdorf, a municipality in the district of Hartberg-Fürstenfeld in Styria, where they will be based for the entire 10-day duration of the trip. Only Jose Fonte hasn't made the trip as he has been given extra time to recover from his Conferderations Cup exertions with Portugal. The rest of the squad, including rehabbing injured players, have headed to the continent. Despite rumours over his future, Robert Snodgrass has also made the trip, while Manuel Lanzini has also met up with his teammates after missing training at Rush Green last week thanks to his international commitments.

"Watch him get loaned to the Championship" - West Ham fans react as Toni Martinez gets big break
The Spanish teenager has a legion of fans and they hope now he gets his chance
Football London
15:00, 10 JUL 2017

Toni Martinez has been handed a massive opportunity to impress Slaven Bilic as he has been included on the first leg of West Ham's pre-season tour to Austria.
The Hammers first team - minus Jose Fonte - touched down in Vienna earlier on Monday afternoon and among them was the 18-year-old Spanish striker, who banged in 14 goals in 13 games for the PL2 side last season. Joining him were fellow U23 stars Declan Rice and Nathan Holland as they bid to impress the manager over the next ten days of training, plus two games against Sturm Graz and Fulham while in Austria. With a lack of fit strikers at the club and a new one yet to arrive this summer, Hammers fans are hoping Martinez does enough to maybe be a first team regular next season - likely part of the squad rather than starting every game.

Geo Mackie @redhammer8
Replying to @Sam_InkersoleTM
Not sure it'll matter. Cullen looked the nuts against Juventus but went off to Bradford, fingers crossed anyway & we shall see
1:48 PM - 10 Jul 2017

John @FJohnf1964
Watch him score loads then G&S bring in some muppet from South America and Martinez goes out on loan to a club in the Championship https://twitter.com/sam_inkersoletm/status/884387014744952832
1:55 PM - 10 Jul 2017

C.C. Baxter @ImAPatientMan
Replying to @Sam_InkersoleTM @redhammer8
Really really hope Bilic gives him & Rice a chance - and they do well.
1:58 PM - 10 Jul 2017

Jack Lebeau @JackLebeau66
Obviously we'd all love a striker by now but at the very least it should mean a chance for Toni Martinez to impress in pre-season. #WHUFC
1:41 PM - 10 Jul 2017 · Irakleides, Greece

Chris @chriscod1993
@AntonioMtnez_29 you better smash it man! We need a new striker and like a lot of WHU fans would be over the moon if that striker was you ⚒⚒
2:11 PM - 10 Jul 2017 · London, England
Retweets 1 1 like
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While there is caution as Bilic tends to send out the clubs better youngsters on loan - see Josh Cullen and Reece Oxford - to get experience, rather than include them in the first team at an early age.

Snodgrass in Bilic's pre-season plans amid Brighton & Sunderland links as West Ham head to Austria
The Scottish midfielder has been subject to much speculation over his future this summer
Football London
12:00, 10 JUL 2017

Robert Snodgrass will be a part of Slaven Bilic's pre-season plans as West Ham head off to Austria for an 11-day training camp on Monday morning. The trip marks the beginning of an almost four-week long European tour in the build-up to the start of the 2017/18 Premier League campaign, with another training camp scheduled in Germany from July 24 to August 2, followed by a final warm-up friendly against Manchester City in Iceland on August 4. Irish goalkeeper Darren Randolph posted a video on his Instagram story with Snodgrass taking a seat next to him on the flight to Austria this morning amid speculation the wideman could be on the move. Snodgrass has been linked with moves to Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton & Hove Albion this summer as he struggled to adapt to life in east London. He signed for £10m from Hull City in the January transfer window but failed to score in the second half of last season, with the Hammers reportedly listening to offers for his services this summer. But for now at least, Snodgrass is part of Blic's plans for the training camp as the whole squad - minus Jose Fonte - jetted off to the continent. Manuel Lanzini also joined up with his teammates after he was given an extended break back home in Argentina following his international involvements this summer for his country.

Who is Badou N'Diaye? Everything you need to know as West Ham close in on second summer signing
The midfielder is reportedly on his way to London for a medical at the Hammers
Football London
09:34, 10 JUL 2017UPDATED09:35, 10 JUL 2017

West Ham are reportedly set to make their long-awaited second summer signing as Badou N'Diaye closes in on a switch to east London. With the club taking their time to find the much-coveted striker they need, N'Diaye's potential move comes as a bit of a shock to most this summer, or should it? The Hammers have been chasing N'Diaye for more than a year and had a bid turned down for him in January from his current club, Osmanlispor FK as they didn't want to lose him halfway through the season. So, could N'Diaye link up with fellow countrymen Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho by signing up for a career in claret and blue? Here's everything you need to know about him. Who is he?

To go by his full name, Papa Alioune Ndiaye, he was born in Dakar, Senegal. Now 26, N'Diaye started his career at Diambars, which is a football academy in Saly, Senegal. He is an attacking midfielder, a powerful and strong runner with an eye for goal especially from long distance. At 5ft 10, he's not exactly the tallest player in the world but makes up for it with an engine that doesn't seem to ever die down.

What did he do last season?

Last season, N'Diaye bagged seven goals across 42 games in all competitions. He missed the majority of January as he was on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Senegal and also missed four games through injury, In his first season with Osmanlispor FK in 2015/16, he did very well indeed. N'Diaye scored 11 goals that season in 33 Super Lig games in Turkey, including a hat trick against Mersin IY. He also picked up four assists and six yellow cards, but no red ones.

Previous clubs

After starting at Diambars, moved to Bodo/Glimt on loan in 2012 and made 27 appearances, scoring three times. He then made that move to Norway permanent and the following season, he won Kniksenprisen for best player in Addecoligaen - Norwegian first division - 2013 as the team won promotion. Osmanlispor picked him up in the summer of 2015.

Who wants him?

West Ham are heavy favourites to get him and appear to have beaten everyone else to the punch in the chase for N'Diaye. Another Turkish side in Trabzsonspor have been rumoured to want to make a move but it's never gone any further than that. The Hammers are going to pay close to £9m for the attacking midfielder, despite Transfermarkt only putting his market value at £4.25m.

What has been said?

Osmanlispor general manager Ender Yurduseven has said: "We have an agreement in principle with one Premier League team. N'Diaye will speak with them in the next week. "I think this transfer should be official by next week because we believe N'Diaye also wants to play in the Premier League." The player himself has also spoken about a move saying he will "definitely be leaving Turkey" in the past fortnight.

By HamburgHammer 10 Jul 2017 at 08:00

Sorry all for starting off topic, but for the first time in a long time I couldn't be arsed to watch a football game last weekend despite both Concordia teams actually playing games. I was watching events of the G20 summit in my beloved hometown unfold on my telly from the safety of my flat and what I saw made me feel sick, angry, sad, confused and left me shaking my head in disbelief.

I'm not even talking about the leaders of the world exchanging a lot of hot air for two days or listening to a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in our new posh concert hall which cost just over 866 million Euros all in all which is slightly more I believe than what was spent on the OS including the costs for conversion into what is still very much an athletics stadium first and a football ground in a very distant second place.

I'm also not talking about those people out on the streets of Hamburg who were expressing their opinion on the state of the world, global trade and the environment in a peaceful manner. However, unfortunately it was obvious from as early as Thursday that the demolition tourists were very eager to claim the spotlight for themselves and their cat and mouse "games" with the police on this occasion.

We saw numerous windows getting smashed, shops being looted and demolished, barricades and cars burning away and even sinister ploys to lure the police into the trap of a narrow side street in order to then attack them from above, firing at the Old Bill with slingshots and steel bullets, but also stones and flagpoles.

We saw locals being denied entry to their homes for hours because the streets were blocked from fighting activists/thugs. While others were trapped in their rooms, scared stiff, expecting a cobblestone to land in their kitchen at any second or even worse a richochet Molotov cocktail.

Of course London has seen its share of similar troubles in recent years, but no city should be subjected to mindless acts of vandalism and violence like this, no matter if it's Hamburg or Hackney. The weekend's events in my beloved city put West Ham pretty much at the back of my mind for once and it wasn't until later on Sunday, once things had started to settle down again, that I was in a state again to read up about the recent rumours surrounding our club.

So, Iheanacho won't be coming to West Ham then after all. Why not ? Well, it depends on which story you're prepared to believe. Did Bilic really pull the plug at the last second because he simply wasn't convinced the player would be worth a £25 million deal with a buyback clause ? Did former teammate Zabaleta warn against signing Iheanacho ?

Were the owners unwilling to spend that kind of money on a player who could leave the club again after a year or two for only a small profit ? Or did maybe the player himself not really fancy us that much after all, prefering to go to Leicester instead ?
Who knows ? It's one more target we can strike off the list. And he won't be the last.

One player we seem to be closing in on is Andre Gray, a former Championship player of the year in 2016, winning the Golden Boot award in the same season.
So the lad knows where the net is and he can play a bit of football. A natural finisher he is too. But he also had a bit of a chequered past. Born into a difficult family background he had to take responsibility while still being young himself. He still carries a scar on his cheek to forever remind him of his days mixing with the wrong people during his days of gang-related fighting in his hometown of Wolverhampton.

There were homophobic and racial tweets which got Gray into further trouble, but he seems to have matured a bit since then, at least off the pitch. On it there are still question marks over his overall contribution to the team other than scoring goals. He doesn't seem to like tracking back or tackling – also his passing is not exactly a strong point, in fact he doesn't seem to be good at anything else but scoring some goals and converting some penalty shots. Plus, he's an Arsenal fan too.

Still we'd have to pay £13 million for a player like him in 2017. Just a few years ago that would have very much constituted a marquee, a club record signing for us. As it is he looks like a halfway decent player currently plying his trade at Burnley, not a world beater, but still a £13 million player in today's market. That shows where the problem for our board lies.

They want to dance with the big boys at the next level ballroom, they are already boasting about selling more than 50.000 season tickets and having this wonderful giant digital screen, all of this pointing toward a club really going places, ready to conquer the world, quite literally. Yet they are not prepared to pay what is needed to make transfers of quality players happen. They want to shop the transfer market, but not at the prices commonly asked in that market.

That approach is bound to fail.

And then you think back to what us fans were hearing from the owners before the stadium move, all the promises and statements where we would be as a club, which players we could attract and so forth.

Like lambs to the slaughter many fans followed their sweet talk into the abattoir (or at the very least the livestock transport lorry for the time being). I fell for it hook, line and sinker too, big time.

I could give myself a slap for being so naive. The problem here is that fans don't forget easily. Personally I will not just take anything our board are saying from now on with a silo of salt, I will actually pretty much believe the opposite of whatever they are telling us to be closer to the actual truth. Once bitten and all that.

My trust in them is completely shattered and as much as I love the club it puts me in a dilemma as I know that every pound I spend on club merchandise, tickets or other club related stuff goes into their pockets at the end of the day, paying for their loans and interest.

Yes, I know, the club pays a lot of money to keep the club running, for player and staff wages, stadium rent, insurance, tax etc.
But their words and actions so far have failed to convince me of their utmost desire to see us improve and grow as a club and team.

This is indeed the transfer window of truth (yeah, right!) for the board. If Andre Gray will be our top signing this summer we all know where we stand as a club and where we are headed under Gold&Sullivan.

The transfer window will be open for quite a while yet, and I actually believe the board are trying to sign a player or two, but with every quality target falling by the wayside, signing elsewhere, the pressure will mount. The result could well be West Ham panicking and signing players we never really wanted to pursue in the first place. Plus we'd probably have to overpay for these players too as our desperation to sign somebody, anybody, will grow with every day that passes in the transfer window. But I'm not hopeful anymore. Not one bit. These days I expect West Ham to deliver nothing. Which is probably the best way to approach transfer windows as it leaves a small chance for a pleasant surprise if you're very lucky.

Finally, a bit of a feelgood story has happened near Dortmund in recent days. You've heard me dreaming about a Concordia player maybe one day playing for the mighty West Ham ?

Well, a 19 year old striker from Selm (near Dortmund) has now delivered the blueprint of how this could work. Joel Grodowski used to play for PSV, not the Paris version though, but PSV Bork in the Kreisliga Unna, less than 15 miles away from Dortmund. That league by the way is three levels below where my Concordia lads play.

Grodowski was breaking goalscoring records for his club all over the shop, so Borussia Dortmund (his favourite club too!) became interested in signing the amateur striker, but, alas, he failed his medical due to Spinal Stenosis, for you normal folk out there that is a narrowing of the spinal canal which can cause a burning sensation along the spine, pins and needles, numbness, pain or even loss of motor control.
Not acceptable for Dortmund, but apparently good enough for Bradford City.

The Bantams have now signed the German and will give him a shot in their development squad initially, with the intention of promoting him to the first team should Grodowski's spine hold up well and his goalscoring form (94 goals in the past two seasons) continue to impress. Good luck at Bradford Joel!

As for West Ham I wonder which league or country our next signing will be hailing from. COYI!!!

Is There Any Plan To West Ham's Transfer Window?

Still no light at the end of the London Stadium tunnel as West Ham continue to stumble through the transfer window.

The beauty of the transfer window is that it provides an opportunity to get depressed during the summer as well as during the season. After the shocking effort of the previous two windows I was convinced that the club would pull out all of the stops to secure the three or four game changing players that have been so enthusiastically spoken about. This is not to be the case, so it seems, as once again the window follows the familiar pattern of temptation without satisfaction.

It is difficult to know precisely who is to blame (board or manager) for the current shambles and our tendency is to direct contempt according to one's own prejudices. Are the board penny pinching, is the manager poor at picking players or is West Ham not an attractive proposition?

The recent Iheanacho situation has taken West Ham's transfer dealings to a new level of absurdity and, for me, illustrates a collective, disconnected incompetence that is almost too ludicrous to grasp. In what reality would you pursue a player for six weeks, reportedly agree a deal with the selling club, only for the manager to pull the plug at the eleventh hour. While it is understandable that a manager might see a deal as eating too much into a finite transfer budget shouldn't such parameters be agreed to beforehand? The suggestion that Bilic also felt Iheanacho was not sufficiently proven is implausible for the exact same reasons but it also speaks volumes about his mindset with regard to young players. That the self-proclaimed Academy should have to send young players to Germany to be properly developed is an amazing contradiction.

For all the talk of next levels and increased capacities it is obvious that West Ham is a club without a realistic plan as far as the playing side is concerned. The impressive level of season ticket renewals together with a nice growing slice of Premier League pie means that revenues continue to grow and serve, for now, to maintain the club's slot in the world's top twenty richest clubs. To focus solely on revenues, though, without an equal focus on playing staff, coaching, youth development and training facilities is a short sighted strategy in the extreme. Several more seasons like the last one will surely see supporter numbers evaporate rapidly. A club whose only boast is a big stadium (and a big screen) does not make it a success. If nothing else is to change then West Ham will become another Sunderland, not a club with stated ambitions to break into the top six. Words are very cheap and although it is unfair to suggest that the board have not invested they have not spent money wisely; always looking for a great deal rather than the best value.

The reasons ascribed to Henry Onyekuru for choosing Everton over West Ham were also revealing and it is easy to see why a player would such a decision. Since Farhad Moshiri took a controlling interest at Everton they have become a far more progressive club that saw a disappointing 11th place finish in 2015/16 as a reason to upgrade their manager and a recruitment policy that has invested sensibly in the future. In comparison the West Ham's strategy is to do just enough to survive in the Premier League; no matter what the cocky words coming out of the boardroom might be. Opportunity has come knocking at the London Stadium in the form of the deal of the century but rather than answer the call everyone appears to be hiding behind the sofa.

Turning to the latest speculation, several new names have appeared as each of the old ones are gradually struck off the list. Prevalent opinion is that the option of old man Giroud is no longer on the table and that the inflated wage demands of Javier Hernandez are likely to preclude any deal from being completed. Taking their place on the leader board are a pair of 26 year-olds in Columbian Luis Muriel and Frenchman Gregoire Defrel, although more recent reports has them both destined for greener pastures. Outside of these the striker cupboard continues to look depressingly bare.

The not unsurprising obsession with strikers has in many ways deflected attention away from other areas of desperate need within the squad. Where the greatest deficiencies lie depends on what the manager's preferred style of play will be. Unfortunately, after two years we are no closer to an answer to this conundrum. If the plan is to mainly rely on three at the back then the ageing back line looks suspect. If the preference is to be a back then wide midfield players with defensive attributes are required. If there is an ideato play two strikers then central midfield reinforcements are badly needed. Other (non-striker) names in the frame over the last week have included Marko Arnautovic (Stoke), Jota (Brentford) and Badou Ndiaye (Osmanlıspor). I have to admit that the suggestion of recruiting a player from a team that no-one has ever heard of in the Turkish League makes me shudder. I still believe that Fabian Delph would be a smart move.

The remaining slow burner is the Joe Hart from Manchester City where the stumbling block is reportedly that West Ham are after a season long loan while City want a permanent deal. Not sure that Hart is a massive upgrade on Adrian but going for a loan would be the typical short-term West Ham manoeuvre that only confirms belief in the survival only strategy.

Less than five weeks to go to the new season and all we have is one used right back addition to bolster the squad. The players out may soon be supplemented by the departures of Snodgrass and Feghouli and though I won't be sorry to see either leave replacing them with new deadwood makes no sense. Starters are required who can fit into the manager's tactical master plan not an assortment of bargain squad players. Recruiting these game changers is going to cost big money in today's inflated market.

At least we now have one extra day to prepare for the new season with the game at Old Trafford having being put back to Sunday. What sealed the deal for Lukaku in choosing Manchester United over Chelsea was the guarantee of scoring on his Premier League debut and, from where we are right now, I can only look at the match with trepidation.

On the better news front there are new contracts for Pedro Obiang and (hopefully) Manuel Lanzini which will, at least, ensure higher transfer fees when they leave next summer.

West Ham United set to beat Crystal Palace in race to sign midfielder
By Robert_Warlow | Posted: July 09, 2017

Crystal Palace could miss out on Senegalese midfielder Badou N'Diaye, with Premier League rivals West Ham United said to be closing in on a deal to sign the Osmanlispor man. Both clubs have been strongly linked with the 26-year-old this summer, having also been linked with a move for the £8.5m-rated midfielder in previous transfer windows. Last week, reports emerged in Turkey that N'Diaye was closing in on a move to the Premier League, with Osmanlispor's general manager Ender Yurtguven saying that the Turkish Super Lig club had an "agreement in principle" with an unnamed English side. It was also reported that N'Diaye was set to speak with the unnamed club in the next few days, and the Daily Mail is now reporting that the Hammers are in pole position to sign the Senegalese international, who scored seven goals from midfield last season.

West Ham link to Arnautovic raises more awkward questions over Robert Snodgrass' future
West Ham transfer news looks at Robert Snodgrass' future amid links to Stoke City winger Marko Arnautovic
Football London
22:20, 9 JUL 2017UPDATED22:22, 9 JUL 2017

First it was Adama Traore and now it's Marko Arnautovic. Two players with differing skillsets and operating on opposite sides of the field - and yet there remains one key similarity between the two widemen linked with moves to West Ham United. And that's how their potential arrivals could impact on the future of Robert Snodgrass this summer. Snodgrass' struggles at the London Stadium have led to links to newly-promoted Brighton and Hove Albion, but also Championship outfits Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland and Aston Villa. His arrival preceded the departure of Dimitri Payet to Marseille in January and rather unfair expectations were placed upon a player who arrived as the star player in a struggling Hull City side and was immediately thrown into the thick of things. But for various reasons the move has just not worked out for the Scot, who openly bemoaned the fact he was made to vacate the left-sided attacking midfield position Payet flourished in during his debut season at the club. Having primarily operated from the right flank at Hull, all of a sudden a player with little pace was expected to compensate for the loss of creativity that Payet's departure created.
With Manuel Lanzini the crown jewel in Slaven Bilic's attacking trio behind the main striker, Snodgrass failed to fit in and with Michail Antonio due to occupy one of the other attacking midfield positions, Snodgrass' opportunities could be limited with the arrival of a new winger. Bilic has prioritised pace as a key attribute he wishes to find in a new player this summer and that explains the link to Adama Traore at Middlesbrough. Traore's end product leaves plenty to be desired but could improve under Bilic's tutelage and his raw pace is particularly appealing to the Hammers boss, while Arnautovic adds the trickery and technique if not quite the same explosive power of Traore. Arnautovic would be the kind of signing who excites the fanbase in a way Snodgrass has regrettably failed to and if Bilic succeeds in bringing in a new wide player, it surely puts the writing on the wall for the 29-year-old's future. It should be added that Snodgrass has never once kicked up a fuss about his inability to nail down a first-team place and judging by comments from earlier this summer, is intent on forcing his way back into contention this summer. "We've had a couple of chats," he said. "We've spoken about my position but then the lads have done really well so I've had to bide my time. "I'm a realist, I understand football and situations in the game. I'll keep working hard as I always do, striving to get that run of games and wanting to prove I can score goals and kick on. "West Ham is a massive club and I want to do well. I want to create the same sort of feeling I've had at every other club. I want the fans to see this lad means business. I just need to get that chance."



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