Friday, July 14

Daily WHUFC News - 14th July 2017

Enner Valencia returns to Mexico

West Ham United can confirm that Enner Valencia has joined Mexican Liga MX club Tigres UANL for an undisclosed fee. The 27-year-old departs east London after three seasons, during which he scored ten goals in 66 appearances in Claret and Blue. Valencia joined the Hammers after a prolific 2014 season in Mexican football with Pachuca and a fine showing at that summer's FIFA World Cup finals with Ecuador. After an encouraging first season, including his unforgettable thunderbolt at Hull City on just his fourth appearance, Valencia's progress was slowed by injuries. However, he did return to score both goals in a memorable 2-2 Premier League draw with Manchester City in January 2016. The South American spent last season on loan at Everton, for whom he netted three goals in 30 appearances. West Ham United would like to thank Enner for his efforts and wish him all the best for his future career.

Fletcher dreaming of Old Trafford goal

Ashley Fletcher admits he is dreaming of scoring his first Premier League goal for West Ham United at his former club Manchester United on the opening weekend of the new season. The 21-year-old striker, who progressed through the youth ranks at Old Trafford before heading to London Stadium a year ago, is eager to build on the progress he made during his debut campaign and focused on his ambitions for 2017/18. "Last year was more of a settling-in period for me," says Ashley. "Obviously moving down to London from Manchester, new surroundings and playing Premier League football was a massive jump for me. "This year I've set myself goals – I want to get as many games as possible and I want that first Premier League goal, which is always in my mind. "I scored at Old Trafford in the EFL Cup last season and missed a good chance in our league game up there – hopefully we can go up there and do the business on August 13, and to score would be very special."

It was in Austria exactly 12 months ago that Ashley made his first impressions in a claret and blue shirt – scoring in friendlies against FC Slovacko and Karlsruher.
And as the Hammers prepare to face Sturm Graz B and Fulham in warm-up encounters next week, the 6'5'' centre-forward is hoping to repeat the feat, while continuing the tough and demanding training schedule that remains the priority in preparation for the Premier League kick-off next month. "I managed to get a couple of goals in pre-season last year," he says, "and that kind of set the platform for me getting some game time at the beginning of the season. "Hopefully, I can do the same again – get a couple of goals and impress the manager and coaches, and see where that takes me. "First and foremost it is about building fitness, though. Austria is the ideal place to come for pre-season. It's very warm and the air is thin so we work hard. To come here for a good eleven days of training and a couple of games also will stand us in good stead for moving on to Germany and looking ahead to the new season "There are no distractions. We can focus completely on training and getting the rest we need, which is going to benefit us in the long run."

The training camp – with injured players included – has also given the entire squad the opportunity to work together and further strengthen team spirit, something Ashley believes will prove hugely valuable going forward. "Keeping the squad as a tight group is always beneficial," he says. "You never want to lose that togetherness that we had last year. "There were some difficult times last season when we battled through as a group, and it is important to keep that spirit going into the new season."

Open the door to your Hart
Filed: Thursday, 13th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Joe Hart is edging closer to a season-long loan move to West Ham, according to reports. Hart's current club, Manchester CIty were initially reluctant to allow the England goalkeeper to go out on loan for a second season, having spent the 2016/17 campaign in Serie A with Torino. However the Citizens are understood to have had a change of heart within the last 24 hours, according to Chris Bascombe (Telegraph), and are now expected to allow Hart to open discussions with the Hammers. City were seeking in the region of £20million for the current England number one, who is hoping to secure a Premier League berth with the World Cup Finals in Russia less than a year away. Hart's chances of returning to Manchester were efffectively ended by the capture of Ederson Moraes from Benfica last month. City paid £35million to bring the 23-year-old to the Etihad.

* West Ham have launched a THIRD bid for main transfer target Marko Arnutovic. The Stoke winger had already been the subject of two rejected offers from West Ham, though to be in the region of £15million and £20million respectively, before United returned with a third bid closer to City's asking price of £25million.

West Ham urged to make double Arsenal swoop for Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott by Steve Lomas
Evening Standard

West Ham should be targeting a double swoop for Arsenal pair Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott this summer, according to former Hammers captain Steve Lomas.
The Hammers have seen hopes of signing Giroud recede over the past few weeks as they and his other suitors believe the French striker is increasingly minded to fight it out with Alexandre Lacazette for a regular role in the Arsenal side. However West Ham, Everton, Marseille and Lyon would all have taken heart from Giroud's comments during Arsenal's pre-season tour of Australia, where he admitted he did not know whether he would stay at the club. West Ham would be willing to meet Arsenal's £20million asking price and pay six-figure wages for the 30-year-old, who Lomas believes would be just the sort of striker Slaven Bilic needs. "Olivier Giroud would be a fantastic signing for West Ham," Lomas, who was speaking as West Ham's home kit went on sale to fans at the club store in Romford, told Standard Sport. "He's very undervalued at Arsenal. "His goalscoring rate for France and Arsenal is superb. He gets on with his job, he takes knocks. Dare I say it, he plays like a British centre forward, getting hold of the ball in the box and getting on the end of crosses. "If we could entice him from Arsenal he'd be a super signing. I do also think we need to inject a bit of pace into the team. We didn't have [Diafra] Sakho for the majority of the season, we let [Enner] Valencia go on loan and I do believe the way Slav seems to want to play on the counter-attack you need players who can get you up the field quicker. "For periods of last year we were very one-paced throughout the team. When they were playing deep it was very hard to counter teams. No.1 should be a striker, No.2 a bit of pace to help Antonio out, someone like Theo Walcott."
West Ham have long been suitors for Walcott, though for now their focus is on Stoke wide man Marko Arnautovic. A second bid worth £20m was rejected by the Potters with the Hammers now considering whether to go further for the Austrian forward or switch their focus to other targets, including Walcott and Southampton's Dusan Tadic. Whether it be Arnautovic, Walcott or another, Lomas is convinced that after striking out last summer on a host of signings with little to no Premier League experience, most notably Italian striker Simone Zaza and Argentine forward Jonathan Calleri, Bilic must focus on bringing in players with experience in England. "Walcott's goal record from wide or up front is good. He's got pace and he's at a good age at 28," Lomas added. "I don't know him very well but I know him personally; he's a very good lad. That's very important, we need to bringing the right characters into the dressing room. "The best West Ham teams have always been British-based with a sprinkling of foreign talent. I know that's a bit harder to do in the current climate but I do believe the best way forward is the nucleus of British lads. "The likes of Nobes [Mark Noble], James Collins have been a bed rock. Pablo Zabaleta, listen he's Argentinian with a Mancunian accent. He'll be a welcome addition. The more British-type players who know what the Premier League is all about the better. Even Giroud, who has been here a few years, and Theo. They'd be welcome additions."
Co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan have borne the brunt of fan criticism for West Ham's transfer activity over recent windows but Lomas welcomed the former's commitment to buying players with top flight experience. "It's a very difficult job," the 43-year-old said of Gold and Sullivan. "You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. The owners realise it didn't work out last year, they certainly brought a lot of players in but they were perhaps the wrong format.
"If we had brought in three or four top, top players to the team that finished seventh we'd never have struggled. But the board know that, and it's a big year for them, Slaven and the players."

Steve Lomas was speaking at the launch of West Ham United's 2017/18 home kit, where supporters filmed Sky Sports style 'walk-ups' to be shown on the big screens at London Stadium. Get 10% discount on home shirts today in-store or online at

West Ham hope to complete loan signing of Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart in next 24 hours
Evening Standard

West Ham hope to have completed a loan deal for Manchester City Joe Hart within the next 24 hours. The England international, who spent last season on loan at Torino, has been frozen out at the Etihad since the arrival of Pep Guardiola at the start of last season, with the signing of Ederson sending Hart tumbling further down the pecking order. However, as Standard Sport first revealed on Tuesday, the acquisition of the 30-year-old, who has 71 caps for England, will still constitute a significant coup for Slaven Bilic. Hart had been linked to the likes of Newcastle but opted to make the move to the London Stadium, where he will be immediately installed as the Hammers' No.1. Manchester City had wanted a £20m permanent deal for Hart, who has two years remaining on his contract, but the goalkeeper is set to join on a loan deal at least initially. Hart's arrival likely means that either Adrian or Darren Randolph will depart during the transfer window, with the latter reportedly a target for Championship side Middlesbrough. The Hammers remain in the market for a striker and wide attacker and are currently considering a third bid for Marko Arnautovic having seen a £20m offer declined by Stoke. Burnley's Andre Gray, Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi and Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud are among the options under consideration for a striking berth, though West Ham are not optimistic on securing a deal for the latter, believed to be their preferred target. It is understood that Giroud is increasingly minded to fight for his place at Arsenal, though on the club's visit to Sydney earlier this week he admitted that he was unsure where he would be playing his football after the transfer window closed.

West Ham winger shares training update amid reports of impending transfer
Despite reports that he is set to sign for Galatasaray, Sofiane Feghouli trained today
Football London
15:55, 13 JUL 2017

West Ham midfielder Sofiane Feghouli trained today at Rush Green today despite reports that he is about to swap east London for Istanbul. The Algerian international is apparently set to complete a £4m transfer to Turkish side Galatasaray but he revealed on Thursday that he was keeping his fitness up at the Hammers' training ground. Feghouli shared two photos of him in training gear to his Instagram story for his 199,000 followers to see, although he still looks set to leave the Premier League after just one season. Galatasaray are keen to get Feghouli's transfer wrapped up soon as they start their Europa League campaign tonight, but it seems like a deal is still not completed. The Turkish club are said to have offered the 27-year-old a deal worth around £51,000, while West Ham are guaranteed to make a profit on Feghouli having signing him on a free transfer just last summer.


West Ham close to signing Joe Hart on loan as Manchester City goalkeeper seeks Premier League football
It is understood that Joe Hart will move initially on loan to West Ham
The England international wants to play regularly in the Premier League
Newcastle had also made enquiries but they couldn't come to an agreement
The Hammers will cover 50 per cent of Hart's £100,000-a-week contract
PUBLISHED: 11:02 EDT, 13 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:14 EDT, 13 July 2017

West Ham are on the brink of providing Joe Hart with a route back into the Premier League. The England international's future has been the subject of huge speculation but West Ham believe they have done enough to thrash out a deal with Manchester City for Hart. It is almost certain that Hart will initially move to the London Stadium on a season long loan with West Ham having the option at the end of the 12 months to make his signing permanent. Newcastle had made the first enquiries for Hart at the end of the last campaign, with manager Rafa Benitez speaking directly to City's Sporting Director Txiki Begiristain over the 29-year-old, as well as Eliaquim Mangala, Fernando and Kelechi Ihenacho. But Newcastle could not offer suitable financial terms to City, with their proposal being a season long-loan without a permanent option and they would have covered 25 per cent of his wages. West Ham, however, have made a more appealing offer to City by covering more than 50 per cent of his contract - worth more than £100,00 per week - and Hart is ready to move to London, given that there is no hope of him resurrecting his career in Manchester under Pep Guardiola. A spin-off of West Ham's move for Hart is that Adrian, the Spaniard who had been No 1, is surplus to requirements and he is wanted by Crystal Palace. As yet, though, Palace have not made an offer for Adrian, who would be keen to work with Frank De Boer.
West Ham's move for Villarreal forward Cedric Bakumbu, meanwhile, is over. Manager Slaven Bilic was keen on the Congo international but the 26-year-old used West Ham's interest to agree a new long-term deal with Villarreal.

Douglas Costa move could clear path for West Ham to get Mario Mandzukic
Damien Lucas

West Ham United could be surprise beneficiaries of Douglas Costa's move from Bayern Munich to Juventus. The Hammers have only brought in Pablo Zabaleta on a free transfer from Manchester City so far this summer much to the frustration of their supporters. Slaven Bilic has been linked with a plethora of players with the emphasis on bringing in two strikers. The East Londoners have reportedly had two bids turned down for Marko Arnautovic and are believed to be targeting Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier Hernandez. But one of the big transfers of the week could see Bilic benefit after Brazilian winger Douglas Costa completed his move from Bayern Munich to Juventus. The deal, initially on loan but with an obligation for the Turin giants to buy at around £35 million, could spell the end of Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic's time at the club. And that will alert Bilic, who has long been linked with his compatriot.
Last month the director of football at Bilic's former club Besiktas Onder Ozen was quoted by Turkish Football as saying that Mandzukic will be signing for West Ham this summer. Given Juve's plethora of expensive attacking talent, the hardworking Croat was deployed wide left of a front three last season and while he in no way disgraced himself, prefers to operate as a conventional striker. Mandzukic's hard graft, professional attitude and selflessness helped Juve to another season of glory in Serie A by lifting the title and making the final of the Champions League, in which he scored a stunning goal against Real Madrid. But Costa will likely be first choice out on the left which will limit Mandzukic's playing time further. Should Bilic manage to get a player he knows well from his time as Croatia boss it could go a long way to persuading those unsure about a move to the Hammers that they will be a completely different proposition next season.

Fenerbahce to rival West Ham for long-term Chelsea target
Tom Seymour

Fenerbahce are considering a move for Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi, which could disrupt West Ham's own transfer plans. West Ham United could face competition from Turkey in the pursuit of Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi, with Turkish publication Fanatik reporting that Fenerbahce are considering a move.
Representatives from the Super Lig club are in England finalising a deal for Sunderland winger Jeremain Lens - who spent last season on loan at the Istanbul outfit - and they are looking at other potential targets at the same time.
Batshuayi has come up as a possible signing, as has Manchester City's Wilfried Bony, as Fenerbahce look to tie up their transfer business early this summer.
This will come as a blow to the Hammers, who are long-term admirers of the Belgium international and were hoping to finally sign him during this window - according to West Ham actually had a £30m bid for Batshuayi accepted by Olympique Marseille in 2016, before the Blues swooped in late on to secure the 23-year-old for £33m. Yet the Belgian found first team opportunities limited at Stamford Bridge in 2016/17 and could well be allowed to leave; although with Diego Costa also expected to depart and Romelu Lukaku having chosen to join Manchester United, the West Londoners will need to sign a replacement first.
One thing that could work in the favour of the East London team is that because of Financial Fair Play rules, talkSPORT reports that Fenerbahce would prefer a loan deal for Batshuayi.

By Blind Hammer 13 Jul 2017 at 08:00

Blind Hammer evaluates the market for Hernandez wage demands.

The wages for Premiership footballers are breath-taking in their enormity. Many will regard them as unjustified and obscene.

The problem is that there is competition for acquiring key extraordinary talents and if West Ham is to survive relegation and thrive they have to participate in what may be an unsavoury market. The issue is determining at what level. ?

Javier Hernandez is reportedly holding out for a £140,000 a week pay deal before he will agree to sign .

A potential problem associated with paying a "striker premium" is the inequality this engenders within a squad. There are already reports, according to the Mirror, of unrest within the Bournemouth squad arising from Jermaine Defoe's £130,000 pay award. The next highest earner at Bournemouth is on £50,000 and whilst the talents of Defoe are acknowledged there is scepticism that he is worth nearly as much as three other high earners.

Similarly the Hernandez deal would bust any structure at West Ham. Andy Carroll is currently the highest earner on £85,000 a week with Antonio following up on £70,000. Lanzini is also according to Claret and Hugh due to join Antonio on this rate. A massive hike in the wage structure for Hernandez is likely to have both Antonio and Lanzini calling their agents to assess their relative worth. Is Hernandez worth 2 Lanzinis? Would Antonio, as our previous highest scorer, feel happy at attracting a value half that of Hernandez?

If West Ham did sign Hernandez they would not be alone in having a "Marquee" high earner at their club. Last night the BBC Five Live Football "Club" claimed that Everton had agreed to match Wayne Rooney's United wages to facilitate his return to Goodison Park. According to the Sports Business website SportsJOE, Rooney's contract at Manchester United was worth £260,000 a week. SportsJOE also revealed that Rooney was not only the highest paid player into the Premier League but by some margin the highest paid player at Manchester United. No other United Player got into the top 10. Mourinho's eagerness to jettison the previously Marquee but now bit part player and his vast wages becomes obvious. Essentially Rooney's wages have now been redirected to United's new Marqueee signing, Romelu Lukaku.

Rooney's new "Marquee" status for Everton is obvious, as is their relative liquidity after the sale of Lukaku. Whether Rooney will provide value for money for Everton is not certain but the level of investment shows a clear indication of their commitment.

If West Ham has genuine aspirations then eventually it is against teams such as Everton that we will have to compete. Actually not just Everton. As stated, Bournemouth has agreed to pay out £130,000 for Defoe whilst Crystal Palace busted their own wage structure to pay Christian Benteke £120,000 a week. In contrast Conor Wickham £received £60,000 a week and Wilfred Zahar£35,000.

So what level should West Ham aspire to? It is absolutely clear that whatever our current ambitions are, we are not at the top table. It is instructive to look at the top 10 earners as reported by Sports Joe.

1. Wayne Rooney – £260,000 (€358,861)
2. Sergio Aguero – £240,000 (€331,359)
3. Yaya Toure – £240,000 (€331,359)
4. Eden Hazard – £220,000 (€303,652)
5. David Silva – £200,000 (€276,063)
6. Mesut Özil – £190,000 (€262,212)
7. Raheem Sterling – £180,000 (€248,411)
8. Cesc Fabregas – £170,000 (€234,611)
9. Kevin de Bruyne – £170,000 (€234,611)
10. John Terry – £160,000 (€220,850)

What is revealed in this list is the artificial and ethically questionable oil based wealth of Chelsea and Manchester City which distorts the wage Structure of the Premiership. Arsenal's Mesut Özil joins Rooney as the only 2 players not from either Chelsea or Manchester City. Players from teams such as Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur do not even figure.

Another approach is to turn our back on this strategy and avoid Marquee signings. This does not necessarily result in disaster. West Brom and Southampton are both clubs who have managed to avoid the pitfalls associated with the Marquee. At West brom Soloman Rondon only pulls in £50,000 a week whilst undeniably being a crucial forward asset for them. At Southampton last year their biggest wage earners were Sean Long at £57,692, Jay Rodriguez at £72,115 and Graziano Pelleat £ 70,513.

So West Ham has to decide at what level they want to operate at. This is not an easy question. My friend, a Sheffield Wednesday supporters, tracks the long term decline of his beloved Owls to the misplaced ambition of the club in investments into Marquee signings such as Benito Carbone and Paulo DiCanio . Although we ultimately benefittd from Di Canio when we got him at a knock down price, Wednesday never recovered from this period. What was designed to be a period of ambitious investment to take them "up a level" actually resulted in a financial spiral of debt. Similarly Leeds United have never recovered from the period in which they over invested in players such as Robbie Fowler. They are amongst a long list of Championship clubs who have never recovered from debt problems arising out of ambition.

Still, Hernandez at £140,000 a week does not look so outrageous when compared to Defoe's £130,000 or even Christian Benteke's £120,000. However there are definite financial risks to this strategy. It is important that our current desperation for a fit striker does not distort our financial planning for the future. Everton can temporarily add to the distortion of the market because of the Romelu Lukaku windfall. Tottenham were similarly able to largely rebuild their team as a result of the Gareth Bale windfall.

We do not have such a windfall. In the medium term we should perhaps more realistically aspire to be a team structurally bigger than West Brom and Southampton. If this is our ambition our wage structure should reflect this. It may be that Sean Long; Andre Grey etc. are actually our level. Only the club insiders will eventually know if Hernandez is a risk worth taking. In truth there are risks to either approach.

David Griffith

N.B 1. I have used the common abbreviation of total maximum wages paid to players. In reality each deal will be based on basic pay plus bonuses for goals, appearances, wins, etc. It would be too complicated for this summary piece article to go into all these comparative details here.
N.B. I have used a variety of sources for details of wages. I would recommend the web site "Silly Season" who provide a good easy table of wage earners in their Premier League Club Summaries.

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