Thursday, July 20

Daily WHUFC News - 20th July 2017

Joe Hart is the 'best goalkeeper' I have worked with – David Sullivan

Joint-Chairman David Sullivan is looking forward to being reunited with the 'best goalkeeper' he has worked with in Joe Hart. West Ham United have signed England's No1 on a season-long loan from Manchester City, reunifying Hart with the man who brought him to Birmingham City in 2009. Eight years on, Mr Sullivan is delighted to have again secured the services of a stopper who earned a place in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year during his season at St Andrews.
"Joe was absolutely fantastic for us at Birmingham City eight years ago," said the Joint-Chairman, who played an influential role in completing the deal for the 30-year-old. "He is the best goalkeeper I've worked with and I fully expect him to be equally as good for us this coming season. "I have been working on this transfer for some months and to see Joe wearing a West Ham United shirt is very satisfying. I expect him to be a great player for our Club and can't wait to see him in a Hammers shirt at London Stadium for the first time. "Joe has gone from strength to strength since his season at Birmingham, when he was voted Player of the Year, and it would not surprise me at all if he is in the running for the Hammer of the Year award come next May."

Hart joins his former Manchester City teammate and fellow two-time Premier League champion Pablo Zabaleta at London Stadium, and the Joint-Chairman revealed the summer spending is not yet over. "We are concentrating solely now on signing two attackers, then we will be satisfied," the Joint-Chairman confirmed. "We said at the start of the summer that we wanted to prioritise quantity over quality and that is what we have done, and what we will continue to do. "The Board and the management know we need a couple of players who will help us to score more goals next season, so that is what we will be concentrating on over the coming days and weeks."

West Ham United v Fulham: All you need to know

West Ham United bring their eleven-day Austrian training camp to a close with a pre-season fixture with compatriots Fulham on Thursday evening. The Hammers will tackle their Championship opponents at the Thermenstadion in Bad Waltersdorf, eager to raise fitness levels still further following Monday's draw with SK Sturm Graz II at the same venue.

Here, we let you know where to watch, who will be in action and much more about West Ham's second pre-season test...

Where and when?

West Ham United v Fulham, Thursday 20 July 2016, 6pm BST, Thermenstadion, Bad Waltersdorf, Austria

Where to watch?

Coverage from the Thermenstadion begins at 5.55pm BST on Premier Sports. Fans can also follow the game on Twitter at @westhamutd. A full report, reaction and highlights will be available on

Matchday squads

West Ham United: Randolph, Adrian, Hart, Anang, Byram, Zabaleta, Cresswell, Masuaku, Collins, Ogbonna, Burke, Rice, Makasi, Kouyate, Lanzini, Feghouli, Snodgrass, Obiang, Noble, Fernandes, Cullen, Holland, Ayew, Fletcher, Martinez

Fulham: Bettinelli, Button, Fredericks, Odoi, Ream, Madl, Sigurdsson, Sessegnon, Djalo, McDonald, Kabano, Cairney, Johansen, Kavanagh, Cisse, Ayite, Woodrow, Aluko

Team news

All 22 players who featured in Monday's draw with SK Sturm Graz came through the match unscathed and are available to face Fulham, while new signing Joe Hart could make his first appearance in Claret and Blue. However, Michail Antonio (hamstring), Andy Carroll (hip), Winston Reid (knee), Diafra Sakho (back) and Cheikhou Kouyate (knee) will all miss the match to continue working on their rehabilitation, while Jose Fonte will return next week after helping Portugal reach the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.

Meet the opposition

One of England's oldest football clubs, formed in 1879, Fulham are about to embark on their fourth season in the Championship since being relegated in 2014. However, after reaching the Play-Off semi-finals last season, hopes are high that Slavisa Jokanovic's exciting, young and cosmopolitan squad will again challenge for promotion in 2017/18.

Fulham have already played three pre-season matches, two of which were played during the club's training camp in Poland. The Cottagers beat Piast Gliwice 1-0 and drew 2-2 with FC Zlin before returning to London, where they were beaten 8-2 in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Chelsea on Saturday.

The Cottagers' squad includes players of no fewer than 13 different nationalities, including summer signings Lucas Piazon (Brazil), Marcelo (Spain) and Ibrahima Cisse (Belgium). Fulham's star performers last season were England U19 full-back Ryan Sessegnon, Scottish midfielder and captain Tom Cairney and Norwegian playmaker Stefan Johansen.

Player to watch

Manuel Lanzini was West Ham United's standout performer in Monday's goalless draw with SK Sturm Graz, when his trickery repeatedly opened up the Austrians' defence. Fresh from being capped by Argentina for the first time in June, the No10 already looks ready for the start of the new Premier League season.

Previous visit

As mentioned above, West Ham United played in Bad Waltersdorf's Thermenstadion as recently as Monday evening. Prior to that fixture, the Hammers were also guests of the Austrian spa town in 2012, when Sam Allardyce's squad spent ten days training there.

West Ham last met Fulham in the Premier League in 2013/14, with mixed results. Mo Diame, Carlton Cole and Joe Cole secured a 3-0 win at the Boleyn Ground in November 2013, but Diame's goal was not enough to stave off a 2-1 defeat at Craven Cottage on New Year's Day 2014.

Did you know?

West Ham United goalkeeper Nathan Trott and Fulham pair Ryan Sessegnon and Tayo Edun were all part of England's UEFA European U19 Championship-winning squad

How to get there

Bad Waltersdorf is situated in the Styria region of south eastern Austria, around 25 miles from the border with Hungary. West Ham United supporters are best-advised to fly from London to Vienna International Airport, seeing as there are no direct flights to the nearer Graz.

From Vienna Airport, fans can either hire a car for the 90-minute, 100-mile drive down the E59 motorway to Bad Waltersdorf, or take a train from the Airport to Vienna Central Station, then board the Hartberg service. There, change to the No484 Furstenfeld service for the final 30 minutes to Bad Waltersdorf.

How to buy tickets

Tickets will be available on matchday through cash turnstiles, priced at €10 for Adults and €8 for Concessions, with free admission for children aged 14 and under.

Youngster Anouar El Mhassani joins the Club from Ajax

West Ham United are delighted to confirm the signing of exciting Dutch prospect Anouar El Mhassani. The 16-year-old joins the Club on a three-year deal having left last season's Eredivisie runners-up Ajax. The youngster, who spent eight years with the Amsterdam outfit, is a left-footed attacking midfielder who can also operate on either flank. El Mhassani was a regular in Ajax's youth teams last season and is looking forward to getting started in east London having put pen to paper with the Hammers. "Of course it's an amazing feeling," he said. "I feel really pleased to be here. It's a big step for me in my life as well as my football career, but I feel as though I am ready. "After eight years at Ajax, I feel like I have seen it all and this is a new challenge, so it's good for me. "West Ham's success in the Academy is something that I kept in my mind. West Ham is a good Academy, so it was a good step for me to come here and develop myself."

Over the last year, the Hammers have seen the likes of Toni Martinez and Domingos Quina arrive from elsewhere in Europe and flourish in London, with the duo both establishing themselves as key players for the U23s in 2016/17. And Academy Director Terry Westley believes the Club's latest recruit can emulate the success of the pair. He said: "He's an exciting prospect; that's why we brought him in. We think he's got a lot more to come, in terms of his development. "He's had a great start in his football career by being at the school for Ajax for as many years as he has. We're fortunate to get him. There was an opportunity for us to step in, which we have done. "He's a talented, technical player, and he's now got to develop other the three years to the physical, tactical sides of the game. In terms of ability with the ball, he'll be right up there. "This boy could have gone to several other Premier League clubs. But the reputation we're starting to get of developing players now means we can get deals like this done. "The types of player who can go past players and make something happen are becoming harder to find, and that's why we've brought him in. "He's got an awful lot still to do, let's be clear, but he's come across really well and he's prepared to work hard. He's got that bravery to really take people on and beat people, so he can be a game changer."

El Mhassani, who joined Ajax as an eight-year-old, now has his sights set on impressing those who work at the Club's Chadwell Heath Academy. "This year, I want to settle in, show myself off to the staff, the people and those watching me and just play the game," he continued. "I have watched West Ham first team games in the Premier League, and they play nice football and have some great players. I just watch the whole Premier League in general. "I think Ajax were very helpful for me to develop me into the man that I am right now, but at the end of the day, I have to do these things myself and I can't wait to get started."

West Ham United Ladies sign highly-rated defender Chenise Austin

West Ham United Ladies have completed the signing of highly-rated centre-half Chenise Austin. Austin joins the Hammers from FA Women's Premier League Southern Division rivals Swindon Town, where she enjoyed an outstanding 2016/17 campaign. Now, the 24-year-old is looking forward to continuing her career in Claret and Blue after being inspired by a meeting with manager Greg de Carnys and general manager Karen Ray. "Greg and Karen came to see me and their plan for the next five years for West Ham Ladies is something to look forward to," Austin told "I played a couple of friendlies for the Club previously, so I know the staff are amazing and the quality of the squad is really good. "With the Ladies being part of the main club, the foundations are there for the future."

Austin was voted Player of the Match by her opponents eight times in just 22 league appearances, despite her Swindon side winning just two of those matches.
Born in Bath, she played for Chippenham Ladies as a schoolgirl before continuing her career as a student at the University of Gloucestershire, where she won the British Universities & Colleges Sport Western 1A title and FA Futsal Cup. After leaving university, Austin joined Swindon Town Ladies, combining football with her job as a teaching assistant at a school in the Wiltshire town. She enjoyed three seasons with the Robins before choosing to continue her career with West Ham – despite the fact she will have to undertake a 230-mile round-trip to train twice a week. "I play football for enjoyment, but I also want to be the best I can be, so the step up to playing Women's Premier League football with Swindon last season was a big one but one that I enjoyed," said Austin, who describes herself as a ball-playing centre-half who 'puts in a good tackle and can win a strong header'. "Now, West Ham have given me the opportunity to be part of their project and I thought 'I won't know if I don't try it', so I'm looking forward to joining up with the girls and playing some matches. "As long as I am playing football, then I am happy!"

The defender becomes West Ham's seventh new arrival of a busy summer, following Amber Stobbs, Dayna Chong, Chantelle Mackie, Amy Cooper, Paige Anderson-Jones and Molly Peters. General manager and first-team coach Ray is looking forward to working with her. "We believe Chenise's ability to deliver under pressure will help take West Ham United Ladies to the next level," said Ray. "The quality of players we are signing are important, Chenise's desire to develop in to a top centre-back is evident after helping Swindon gain promotion to the FAWPL two seasons ago. "Her experience of winning titles is something really important for our five-year plan and we are excited she wants to join us. "Chenise is a composed, experienced and reliable player with a winning mentality who will thrive under the competitive environment created at West Ham United Ladies."

West Ham United would like to welcome Chenise to east London and wish her the very best for her career in Claret and Blue.

Michail Antonio putting in the hard yards in Austria

Michail Antonio knows putting in the hard yards now will pay big dividends once the 2017/18 Premier League season gets underway.

Antonio – the 2016/17 Hammer of the Year – suffered a hamstring injury which required surgery at the end of last term, but is building steadily for the new campaign with his teammates in Austria.

The West Ham TV cameras followed him and head physio Dominic Rogan for a day at the training camp in Austria to see how he is getting ready for the big kick-off.

Antonio explained: "Everything is going well and things are on track really. I'm out here [in Austria] working on the strength, and from there running and working on the technique.

"I'm going to keep working hard. It's a month to the start of the season, so it's not that far away. I'll just keep moving forward and doing well."

Rogan added: "We all know Michail's assets are [his] physicality and athleticism, so we have to train him accordingly. He has a capacity much greater than the average athlete, so you have to make sure you don't undercook him by pushing him harder."

Hart happy to be united with old friends

Joe Hart cannot wait to be reunited with two old footballing friends at West Ham United. The goalkeeper, who agreed a season-long loan from Manchester City on Tuesday, will enjoy his first training session with a pair of familiar faces at the Hammers' Austrian base today. Hart spent eight seasons as a teammate of fellow new boy Pablo Zabaleta at Manchester City, where the duo won two Premier League titles. He has known West Ham captain Mark Noble even longer, with the 30-year-olds striking up an enduring friendship as England U21 teammates who reached the European Championship final back in 2009. "Pablo is just part of the furniture and we probably harm each other's eyes now, we've known each other that long and been part of the same club!" joked Hart."I'm looking forward to linking up with him again and it'll make it a whole lot easier to settle in. "People like Nobes, who I've not played with for years, I've built up a relationship with from that Under-21 team. He's obviously the boss man around here, and it's always good to know the boss! "I also know Michail Antonio, Cress and big Andy from England, obviously, and to be honest I know most of the lads from playing against them in the Premier League and internationally down the years."
Speaking of England, Hart has started 43 of England's last 45 competitive internationals, including all six 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F qualifiers.

With those statistics in mind, his performances for the Hammers will play a huge part in helping Hart continue that run into next summer's finals in Russia – presuming England qualify. While his Three Lions career is naturally hugely important to him, the Shropshire-born stopper knows international acclaim is the result of domestic success. "I'm going to come and I'm going to give absolutely everything I can," he confirmed. "I'm pleased that it's sorted and all my focuses and all my energies are now with West Ham, to give everything I've got and try to improve every day and ultimately to do well for the Club."

Hart is also relishing the prospect of working under West Ham manager Slaven Bilic – a coach the goalkeeper has observed since being part of just his fourth England squad for a World Cup qualifier in Croatia back in 2008. A decade on, Bilic sold his vision for the Hammers to Hart in a series of conversations which helped convince England's No1 to turn Claret and Blue. "He was really good to me, as any manager who is trying to sign someone is going to be," he told West Ham TV. "I think he realises I bring a lot of experience, similar to one of the reasons he brought Pablo in, as we've done special things in the Premier League.
"He realises I love football and I just want to play fight every day and I see that in him, so hopefully that combination will work well together and we can do some good things."

9 things you probably didn't know about Joe Hart

West Ham United have completed the season-long loan signing of England international Joe Hart from Manchester City. Here, we find out more about the 30-year-old stopper...

Joe Hart was 17 years and one day old when he made his senior debut for hometown club Shrewsbury Town in a 1-1 Football Conference draw with Gravesend & Northfleet at Gay Meadow

Joe Hart and Mark Noble were England teammates at the 2009 UEFA European U21 Championship finals in Sweden, where the Young Lions finished as runners-up to Germany

Joe Hart has won the Premier League Golden Glove – awarded to the top-flight goalkeeper who keeps the highest number of clean sheets since 2004/05 – on four occasions. He is the only Englishman to win the award

In all, Joe Hart has kept 119 clean sheets in 302 Premier League appearances – an average of 15 per 38-game season. Only Petr Cech, with 149, has kept more
A renowned shot-stopper, Joe Hart has made 811 saves in his 302 Premier League appearances, including stopping five penalties, in addition to the 104 saves he made for Italian Serie A club Torino last season

Joe Hart has captained both club and country, wearing the armband for Manchester City's UEFA Champions League win over Romanians Steaua Bucharest in August 2016, and for England's friendly defeat in Spain three months later

The 30-year-old has extensive European experience, with 40 UEFA Champions League and 22 UEFA Europa League matches under his belt

Joe Hart has been capped 71 times by England – just two fewer than Gordon Banks and four fewer than David Seaman – making him the Three Lions' fourth most-capped goalkeeper. He has kept 40 clean sheets and conceded just 47 goals for his country

Joe Hart and his new West Ham United goalkeeper coach Chris Woods have something in common – both have travelled with England to two FIFA World Cup finals and two UEFA European Championship tournaments

Where are they now? Benayoun earns his Spurs

To mark the 12th anniversary of match-winner Yossi Benayoun joining West Ham United from Racing Santander, we turn the clock back to one of the Israeli's most-memorable moments in Claret and Blue. Tottenham Hotspur arrived at the Boleyn Ground on Sunday 7 May knowing victory would secure their place in the UEFA Champions League. However, illness spread through the Spurs squad on matchday, only for a request for the game to be delayed to be turned down.
The game went ahead as planned, with Carl Fletcher putting the Hammers ahead, Jermain Defoe equalised and former Spur Teddy Sheringham missed a penalty before Benayoun sent the Claret and Blue Army wild with an unstoppable 80th-minute winner.

Eleven years on, we look at what Alan Pardew's starting XI from that day are up to now…

Goalkeeper: Shaka Hislop
Age: 48
Now: Broadcaster

Making his penultimate appearance for West Ham United – his last was the 2006 FA Cup final – Trinidad & Tobago international Hislop ended his career with MLS side FC Dallas the following year. After a short period coaching at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, Hislop embarked on a career in the media, blogging for The Guardian and presenting and commentating on a number of major leagues, including the Premier League, for American broadcaster ESPN.

Right-back: Lionel Scaloni
Age: 39
Now: Assistant manager

The Argentinian full-back produced one of his best displays in Claret and Blue, having joined on a half-season loan from Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna in January. After spells in Spain and Italy with Racing Santander, Lazio, Mallorca and Atalanta, Scaloni retired in 2015. He joined Jorge Sampaoli's coaching staff at Sevilla before following his fellow countryman home to become an assistant coach of the Argentina national team.

Left-back: Paul Konchesky
Age: 36
Now: Footballer

England international Konchesky had joined the Hammers from first club Charlton Athletic for a £1.5m fee in summer 2005 and went on to enjoy two productive seasons in Claret and Blue, scoring in the 2006 FA Cup final defeat by Liverpool. Konchesky's long career is still running, with the left-back now playing in the Isthmian League for ambitious Essex club Billericay Town.

Centre-back: Anton Ferdinand
Age: 32
Now: Footballer

Then just 21, Ferdinand graduated from the Academy of Football before making his debut on the opening day of the 2003/04 season against Preston North End.
After 163 appearances in Claret and Blue, Ferdinand embarked on a nomadic career including stops at Sunderland, Queens Park Rangers, Turkish sides Bursaspor and Antalyaspor, Reading and current club Southend United of EFL League One, who he joined in August 2016.

Centre-back: Danny Gabbidon
Age: 37
Now: Broadcaster

Cwmbran-born Gabbidon joined the Hammers from Cardiff City in summer 2005 – in a joint deal with James Collins – and spent six seasons in Claret and Blue, winning Hammer of the Year honours at the end of his debut season. After appearing for Queens Park Rangers, Crystal Palace and Cardiff for a second time, Gabbidon retired in 2015, by which time he had already embarked on a broadcasting career as a commentator and pundit for BBC Wales, BBC radio and talkSPORT. He also holds at a UEFA A coaching licence.

Right midfield: Shaun Newton
Age: 41
Now: Retired
Like teammate Konchesky, pint-sized midfielder Shaun Newton had spent a large part of his career with Charlton prior to joining West Ham via Wolverhampton Wanderers in spring 2005. After two years in east London, Newton moved on to Leicester City, where he played under former Hammer Martin Allen. He retired in 2008 and he is no longer involved in the game.

Central midfield: Carl Fletcher
Age: 37
Now: Youth team manager

Born in Surrey, Fletcher spent the first seven years of his career with AFC Bournemouth – the club where he is now employed as youth team manager. Capped 36 times by Wales, the midfielder spent two seasons in east London, making 53 appearances and scoring three goals – none more important as his opener against Tottenham Hotspur in this fixture – before joining Crystal Palace.

Central midfield: Nigel Reo-Coker
Age: 33
Now: Footballer

After joining from Wimbledon in January 2004, driving midfielder Reo-Coker was made captain and played 142 times in Claret and Blue, scoring eleven times.
After departing in summer 2007, the Southwark-born player turned out for Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers, Ipswich Town, MLS clubs Vancouver Whitecaps, Chivas USA and Montreal Impact and, earlier this year, Norwegian First Division club IK Start.

Left midfield: Yossi Benayoun
Age: 37
Now: Footballer

The man whose goal added insult to Tottenham's illness was skilful Israel midfielder Benayoun, who had joined the Hammers from Spanish side Racing Santander the previous summer. The Dimona-born star also excelled for Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and briefly returned to east London before heading back to his home country in 2014. After spells with Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv, Benayoun joined Beitar Jerusalem last month.

Forward: Bobby Zamora
Age: 36
Now: Philanthropist

Capped twice by England, Zamora fired West Ham United to promotion to the Premier League in 2005, and netted 40 goals in 152 career appearances in Claret and Blue. He has recently joined forces with former Hammers Rio Ferdinand and Mark Noble in The Legacy Team – an organisation using innovative solutions to deliver social and affordable housing, schools, hospitals and surgeries.

Forward: Teddy Sheringham
Age: 51
Now: Manager

After an outstanding playing career which included a successful three-year stint with West Ham United at its tail-end, Sheringham returned to east London as an attacking coach for the 2014/15 season. Since hanging up his boots in 2008, the former England international managed Stevenage before taking charge at Indian Super League club Atletico de Kolkata just a few days ago.

Hammers target hits out on twitter
Filed: Wednesday, 19th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham target Keita Balde has lashed out at his current club Lazio after he was left out of the team for a friendly against Triestina. The highly-sought-after goalscorer took to social media this afternoon to express his dismay after being left out of Simone Inzaghi's side for the pre-season clash. "I am here!" he wrote on his twitter time line. "Always ready to prove my worth and my professionalism. But now the club has decided not to play me..."
West Ham have secretly been courting the 22-year-old striker - who counts Hammers Pedro Obiang and Cheikhou Kouyate as personal friends - for several weeks, but only in recent days was it made apparent that Balde may be interested in a move to London. That is understood to have prompted a fresh approach from the club, who are understood to have tabled a fresh bid for Balde as a result. Despite West Ham's interest, Inter remain favourites to land the Lazio star. Whether or not the Italian giants are prepared to offer him regular first team football, a condition of any potential transfer, remains to be seen.

West Ham confident of completing Javier Hernandez transfer
Evening Standard

West Ham are growing in confidence that they will sign Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen. The Hammers are closing in on their third deal in quick succession after sealing a one-year loan for Manchester City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart and agreeing to pay Stoke £24million for Marko Arnautovic.
Standard Sport understands West Ham are willing to trigger the £13m escape clause for the 29-year-old Mexico international while the player is enthusiastic about the move. The club do not expect personal terms to be an issue. Hernandez joined Leverkusen from Manchester United in 2015 and has since scored 28 goals in 45 League games. Talks between the clubs were continuing today but West Ham remain confident they will sign the striker who against Croatia in May became his country's record scorer with 47 goals from 95 internationals. West Ham manager Slaven Bilic had been concerned his team lacked pace and goal power last season but the twin additions of Austria international Arnautovic and Hernandez would help to ease that problem. ​Bilic, it is understood, was also keen to add some big personalities to his squad this summer and Hart, Arnautovic and Hernandez, plus Pablo Zabaleta, would provide the character and experience for which he has been searching. Hart joined up with the rest of the squad in Austria last night and his arrival is set to mean the exit for one of West Ham's goalkeeping pair, Spaniard Adrian or Republic of Ireland international Darren Randolph. Crystal Palace have been linked with Adrian but Randolph is the more likely departure with Newcastle and Middlesbrough as possible destinations. Hart, who spent last season on loan at Torino, is delighted to be back in the Premier League. He said: "It's important for me to play football and to get the opportunity to come here and play is absolutely awesome. "To be playing in the Premier League for a big club like West Ham, I'm really looking forward to the season."

Serie A giants on red alert as West Ham match asking price for Serie A star
19 July at 12:25

Serie A giants AC Milan, Inter and Juventus have all been linked with a move for Lazio winger Keita Balde. The Senegalese striker doesn't want to extend his expiring contract with Lazio given that some of the best Italian clubs have shown their interest in him. Keita is reported to have reached an agreement with Juventus, whilst AC Milan have agreed the player's price-tag with Lazio but have failed to close a deal with the player's entourage. As for Inter, the nerazzurri have recently entered the race to sign the 22-year-old as the Serie A giants are preparing for life after Ivan Perisic who is pushing to move to Manchester United.
According to Sky Sport, West Ham have made an opening bid to sign the product of Barcelona academy. The Hammers are reported to have matched Lazio's asking price (in the region of €30 million) offering € 27.5 million plus € 5 million in bonuses. If Lazio will accept the Hammers' offer, Slaven Bilic will be tasked with the job of persuading the 22-year-old to move to East London. Keita has 16 goals and five assists in 31 Serie A appearances in the 2016/17 campaign.

With Kelechi Iheanacho reportedly heading to Leicester for initial £15m fee, West Ham fans will be fuming all over again
Vincent Ralph

West Ham United had been linked with a move for the Manchester City attacker although he now looks set for Leicester City. According to a report from Own Goal Nigeria, Leicester City will only pay an initial £15million for Kelechi Iheanacho, with an additional £10million potentially coming in add-ons if certain criteria are reached, and if that is the case it is yet another reason for West Ham United fans to be angry they did not push harder for the 20-year-old. While Sky Sports claims the Hammers are hoping to sign Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen this week, Iheanacho would have been the perfect foil; a player who prefers to operate as a secondary striker and who could have benefited from the space created by the Mexican's constant movement. A report from ESPN recently suggested that West Ham manager Slaven Bilic had ruled his side out of the running for the Nigeria international as a deal for Leicester moved closer. The problem comes from the fact that West Ham only belatedly accepted the prospect of a buyback clause, while a fee of £15million for one of the most exciting young strikers in world football is surely too good to refuse.
Any club forced to pay the add-ons will only do so because the player is doing what he was bought to do, and if West Ham miss out on a £15million bargain in a summer when they really need two additional strikers, they will only have themselves to blame. If Hernandez arrives and fills his boots, Hammers fans may not care, but Iheanacho would have been a long-term investment of the highest quality for far less (at least initially) than previously reported.

Adrian says he and Darren Randolph won't stop fighting for West Ham after David Sullivan salutes 'best goalkeeper' Joe Hart
Evening Standard

West Ham goalkeeper Adrian has vowed not to stop "fighting and defending the badge" after comments from co-owner David Sullivan about new signing Joe Hart.
The England No.1 joined West Ham on a season-long loan yesterday with the option for the club to complete a permanent deal with the Hammers should he prove to be a success at London Stadium. Hart's arrival almost certainly means the departure of either Adrian or Darren Randolph, who battled it out for the starting spot in Slaven Bilic's side last season without either goalkeeper consistently impressing. Notably neither Adrian nor Randolph were mentioned in Sullivan's comments on the West Ham website after the signing was complete, in which the former Birmingham City owner labelled Hart "the best goalkeeper I've worked with".
Posting on his Twitter feed Adrian issued a coded message to Sullivan, writing: "Thanks for your sincerity! But you still having [sic] "two great professionals" respecting, fighting & defending this badge."
Manager Bilic had labelled Adrian and Randolph "great professionals" in his own response to Hart's arrival. Adrian has been linked with Crystal Palace whilst West Ham have already rejected a bid from Middlesbrough for Randolph.

Slaven Bilic warns Joe Hart he won't 'walk into the West Ham team' but backs England No.1 to shine
Evening Standard

Slaven Bilic has warned Joe Hart he will not be guaranteed an automatic spot in the West Ham side after his arrival on loan from Manchester City. Hart became the club's second signing of the summer yesterday, joining former Manchester City team-mate Pablo Zabaleta at the London Stadium on an initial season-long loan.
West Ham will have the option of making the deal permanent should England's No.1 rediscover his best form after a disappointing season on loan at Serie A side Torino. But Bilic refused to guarantee Hart an immediate starting spot in the West Ham side ahead of Darren Randolph and Adrian, both of whom are now the subject of interest from Premier League rivals. "I said a few days ago that we wanted to sign players who are going to improve our starting eleven," Bilic said. "But that doesn't mean that they walk straight into the team. "It means that they improve the level of competition for those places. That competition is crucial."

Though Bilic offered no immediate guarantees it seems highly likely that it will be Hart between the sticks when West Ham kick off their Premier League season against Manchester United on August 13, not least because his manager is convinced the 30-year-old can be a leader in the dressing room. "Once we found out there was a possibility that Joe might be available, everyone agreed that it was a fantastic opportunity for us as a club," Bilic said. "He is the England number one, he has great experience but, at 30-years-old, he is still in his prime as a goalkeeper and can be at the top of his game in the next few years. "Like Pablo Zabaleta, he has a winning mentality, he is hungry, and as a manager you want that to rub off on the rest of the squad and bring out the best in everyone."

West Ham reportedly agree fee for Keita Balde Diao – see why Slaven Bilic is so keen
WEST HAM are reportedly close to agreeing a club-record fee for Lazio striker Keita Balde Diao – and it's no wonder Slaven Bilic is keen.
Daily Star
By Simon Green / Published 19th July 2017

The 22-year-old is one of the hottest prospects in Europe after scoring 16 goals in Serie A last season. Liverpool and Spurs have both expressed interest in the youngster, while Everton have been knocked back in their attempts to sign him, according to the Liverpool Echo. But according to Goal Italy, West Ham are set to beat their Premier League rivals to Balde's signature. They claim the two sides have had ongoing talks for several weeks, with West Ham having two bids of €20m (£17m) and €25 (£22m) rejected. But they appear to have been successful with their third bid of €32m (£28m), with just the payment structure of the deal to be resolved, along with personal terms for the player. And footage from Balde's sensational season shows just what he can bring to the table. One highlight was a sublime strike from the outside of the box – which soared into the top-right corner. Another shows the striker bringing the ball down with a brilliant touch before firing a shot into the net. Balde isn't the only star the Hammers are close to signing. Stoke winger Marko Arnautovic has agreed a £24m deal and Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier Hernandez is also nearing a move.

Why Joe Hart to West Ham could be the best signing of the summer
Evening Standard

In November 2004 Shrewsbury Town were scarcely the most attractive option for Gary Peters, or many other managers for that matter. Third-bottom in the Football League and fresh from an FA Cup humbling against Southern League side Histon, there was little to entice a prospective manager to Shropshire. That is except for a 16-year-old goalkeeper who looked like he might be something special. "When I went to the interview I wasn't sure whether I was going to take it, to be honest," Peters says. "I'd watched a couple of the first-team games and I wasn't that impressed. They'd just got battered by a non-League side in the cup. There wasn't much to sell the club on. "After my first interview they let me know that the reserves were playing and I thought 'I'll watch that'. I saw Joe Hart that day and I knew I'd take the job just to work with him."

Pep Guardiola may not have felt the same – at times it seems he took the Manchester City job on the proviso he didn't have to work with Hart – but even after a year in which Hart has been cast aside with mixed success in Serie A, there is legitimate cause for excitement in West Ham acquiring the fourth-most capped goalkeeper in English football history. Hart's move, initially on loan but with the option for a permanent deal, feels very different to a year ago when he made the switch to Torino.

"I would love to sit with the Man City manager and tell him what a pillock he is."
Peters on Pep Guardiola shipping Hart out

As he has since admitted, the man who was made the posterboy for all England's woes at Euro 2016 was hardly overwhelmed by options. Switching to Torino placed Hart in front of a wobbly defence in an unfamiliar country where communication would always be a problem. Even though he won the affection of many supporters in Turin returning to the Premier League was, he admitted, always the logical next step in a World Cup year. For Peters, under whom Hart first caught the eye of Premier League giants as a 17-year-old, West Ham is the right place for him to reassert his primacy among English goalkeepers. Did Peters know even then that he was working with an England No.1 of the future? "Without any shadow of a doubt," he insisted. "Once I'd started working with him on regular basis and had seen what he had. "Joe had such an incredible amount of confidence in everything he did. We were still struggling to hold our own in League Two. Scott Howie our goalkeeper had got Shrewsbury promoted back in 2004 and the crowd loved him. "But he wouldn't come for a cross, he couldn't start us off like Joe did. He'd come from anywhere and get us going. "I know the Man City bloke sent him somewhere else because he didn't think he could play but Joe can do everything to start an attack. He'd come and pluck the ball, throw it out and we'd be up the field in no time."

But it was more than just technical skills that Hart brought as a 16-year-old in League Two, when he stood out in front of a rickety defence that was conceding shot after shot on goal, and it will be more than simply shot-stopping that West Ham expect from their marquee new signing. Peters continues: "We needed someone at that time to really come and get us going. Joe had that, he's still got that. But he kept us moving forward in that league through his confidence. He had no fear at all. "I would love to sit there with the Man City manager and tell him what a pillock he is. Joe can play the ball early and he made us better in attack. "I know there's another level in the Premier League but if people stand around dribbling like Claudio Bravo did that kills a team. Joe is aggressive. He gets a team going."

Of course, Hart's game is not flawless but those issues that made it so impossible for Guardiola to envisage the 30-year-old as his first-choice at Manchester City will surely not be as apparent at West Ham. He may never be the most convincing with the ball at his feet – though in his final game for Manchester City he did achieve a pass completion rate of 100 per cent – but that will not be what Slaven Bilic wants from a goalkeeper. Someone who can command a penalty box? A leader of his backline? A goalkeeper who can fling the ball out to Michail Antonio, Manuel Lanzini and the incoming Marko Arnautovic? That seems to suit the pacey, powerful side that Bilic wants West Ham to be in 2017/18. "I can't believe every club in the country wasn't after Joe," Peters adds. "He brings that confidence, those leadership qualities. There aren't as many talkers, as many players with the aura Joe has. "Every club needs a player like him. Wherever West Ham are, whether it's the top or bottom, they've got someone special. "He has got bags of belief; he knows he's a good player. But when you get knocked in the way he did you don't lose your confidence, you lose your faith. Joe lost that."

If West Ham can get Hart believing again and can restore the self-assuredness that saw a boy stand out against the grizzled men of League Two then their loan swoop may just go down as the signing of the summer.


With Joe Hart now an official West Ham player, albeit on a loan basis, it was always likely that one of the club's two first-team goalkeepers would be making way this summer.

While there is interest in both Adrian and Darren Randolph, the London Evening Standard note that it's the Republic of Ireland international who is the most likely of the two to leave the club during the transfer window.

Randolph joined the club on a free transfer in the summer of 2015 from Birmingham to be Adrian's backup, but impressive performances in the cup competitions and at Euro 2016 for Ireland prompted the club to hand him an improved contract with the notion that he would get some more chances in the first-team.

The 30-year-old replaced Adrian in November and made 22 consecutive Premier League starts, but his inconsistent form forced Slaven Bilic to revert back to Adrian for the final five games of the season.

Now Hart is on board, one goalkeeper will be leaving and Randolph is subject to interest from both Newcastle and Middlesbrough this summer, while Adrian has been linked with Crystal Palace.

It's believed that the Hammers have already received a bid from Middlesbrough for Randolph and it remains to be seen whether or not they will accept the offer.


West Ham are on the road to completing a real flurry of transfer activity this week. With Joe Hart already signed from Manchester City on a season-long loan and Marko Arnautovic expected to follow from Stoke in a club-record £24m deal, Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier Hernandez is expected to follow, according to Sky Sports. It's understood that the Hammers are ready to activate Hernandez's £13m release clause to bring him to the club. The London Evening Standard report that the former Manchester United striker is excited at the prospect of coming back to the Premier League with West Ham and that personal terms are not expected to be an issue. Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho remain two big injury risks heading into the new season and bringing in another striker was key to the Hammers' offseason plans and it appears as if they will do so. Hernandez is expected to join West Ham in a matter of days according to Sky which will fuel the fans with a lot of optimism heading into the new campaign.

JOSHUA HARDY @joshuahardy_

Middlesbrough have stepped up their interest in West Ham and Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph, according to a report from HITC, Randolph's future at the London Stadium is in serious doubt after being dropped from the starting position in mid-April after a few mistakes and his future became even more bleak after West Ham announced the signing of Joe Hart from Manchester City on loan. Hart is set to be the number one at West Ham and it's either Adrian or Randolph that will have to leave this summer for first team football, which they would want with the 2018 World Cup being just around the corner. The Irish goalkeeper looks the most likely to leave West Ham with Boro making a new and improved bid for the shot-stopper. A move to Middlesbrough will see Randolph return to the Championship after signing for West Ham from Birmingham in 2015, when he was brought in as a backup to Adrian. With Victor Valdes and Brad Guzan both leaving the Riverside, they are in the market for a new goalkeeper and the new boss Garry Monk is an admirer of Randolph. He's also been linked with a move for Newcastle's Karl Darlow.

The Scout Report: Keita Baldé
Moore Than A Club

West Ham United have reportedly jumped to the head of the queue to sign Lazio star Keita Baldé after agreeing a fee of around £27 million. With fellow Premier League sides Chelsea and Everton showing interest along with Italian giants Inter, the Hammers are looking to get the transfer confirmed ahead of the rest. It is now up to the player, who is thought to be wanting to move away from Lazio to decide if West Ham is the right place for him.

Keita, who is a former product of Barcelona's La Masia academy, has spent the past four seasons in Rome scoring 26 goals in 110 Serie A appearances. It was, however, his last season which has alerted the sides with money to his presence after scoring in half of his league games, 16 in 31. With transfers looking to be set for Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez, West Ham are starting to build a strong attack capable of scoring in the Premier League. If they can also land Keita, who created 43 chances for his team mates last season, they will have improved the first team from last season.

How does the 22-year-old winger stack up against the players he will be competing with for game time? After impressing last season, West Ham fans will be hoping for more of the same from Keita. The Senegalese international assisted three goals last season which is on par with Michail Antonio but less than Arnautovic's return of five assists. Keita did outscore the others convincingly taking 16 league goals, seven more than West Ham top scorer Antonio and 10 more than fellow target Arnautovic. He was not always a starter for Lazio having played only 1932 minutes in last seasons league campaign but that only makes his goal return even more impressive. Keita scored on average a goal every 120 minutes compared to Antonio's return of one every 270, over double the game time.

Considering that the proposed transfer fees would be similar, it looks to be Keita who will have the greater impact on the side next season than Stoke City target Arnautovic. He had a higher pass completion (81% vs 75%) and more shots on target (51% vs 44%) than the Austrian. Arnautovic did create more chances, 50 compared to Keita's 43, but that was after playing 800 minutes more in the season.

Keira's stats from last season signal that he would be an excellent signing for West Ham and match part of Slaven Bilic's policy to bring in quality over quantity. With only one season at the top level behind him though, it is yet to be seen if he can impact the Premier League from the first minute.

There is no doubt Keita Balde would be a massive coup for West Ham - if they can pull it off
Reports in Italy claim West Ham have made a £28m bid for the talented 22-year-old
Football London
20:00, 19 JUL 2017

It's no secret that West Ham have been desperate to land a marquee striker in recent years, and this summer has been no different. Having missed out on the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Michy Batshuayi and Carlos Bacca last year, their attentions had turned to Giroud, Chicharito and Modeste to name a few this time around. The money is clearly there to spend then, but convincing players of the profile or indeed promise they desire to resist offers from elsewhere has been the issue. It's time for take 225 then, as the club have reportedly had an offer in the region of £28m accepted for Lazio hot shot Keita Balde, which is further than they have got with a number of targets before him. So is the 22-year-old the calibre of player the Londoners have craved for so long, and in turn the right man to relaunch a bid for a European finish?
Well, given the notable progress the Senegalese international made last season, attracting interest from the top teams in Serie A and the continent, there's little doubt Keita would be a massive coup for the Hammers, who are attempting to scupper Inter's best laid plans to lure the youngster to Milan. Whether or not the sought after forward would turn his back on the European football he helped to attain with Lazio last season is another matter, but in West Ham's favour the Nerazzurri can't offer as much either.
One thing for certain is that the player would significantly strengthen Bilic's attacking ranks, which has been a clear priority this summer. There has never been any question as to Keita's potential after all, but inconsistency - understandably given his age - was an issue up until the most recent campaign. The raw tools are there for the youngster to be an absolute superstar, that's for sure. With a tall and muscular build the Senegalese has the pace and power to trouble even the most experienced of defenders, and his ability to play on the left flank is no doubt a draw to a team whose wide recruits have flattered to deceive over the past year.
It was, however a move into a more central role that will ensure the 2016/17 campaign goes down as Keita's real breakthrough. His ability to get in behind the defence or run the channels is something that West Ham lack right now, searching for a variation on what the injury-prone Andy Carroll can offer from the front. In that regard he and Keita are polar opposites, and as such would offer the manager great options depending on the opponent that they may face.
The 22-year-old bagged 16 league goals last season - an impressive return enough to rank eighth in Serie A - with as many as ten coming in just seven starts up front alongside Ciro Immobile. He ended the campaign in scintillating form after that crucial tactical shift, scoring eight times in his final five league outings to ensure that some of the top teams on the continent stood up and took notice.

It was a flurry that saw the forward finish up with some hugely encouraging figures in front of goal beyond the most obvious but ultimately important of them all.
Given ten of 31 league appearances came from the bench, his aforementioned goal haul was certainly even more commendable. A strike every 120.8 minutes was in turn the fourth best of players to net at least five times in Italy's top-flight, ahead of the likes of Higuain, Icardi and teammate Immobile. Furthermore, a conversion rate of 22.9% was highly respectable, and that's not to mention his ability to beat a man before getting to that position. It's his dribbling ability that saw Keita earmarked as one of Serie A's top young talents, with a lack of end product the concern that, if not put to bed, was certainly eased by last season's exploits.

Indeed, since breaking into the Lazio team in 2013/14 following a move from Barcelona's academy, Keita has completed a dribble every 31.6 minutes, which ranks third of players to have made 100 or more Serie A appearances in that timeframe. He's lightning quick and has the upper body strength to cope with the most physical of defenders.

The concern for West Ham fans, then, does not pertain to Keita's ability, but the fact that they have got their hopes up for similar big money signings in the past only to be left disappointed. If they could pull off a shock and convince the youngster that East London should be his next destination - with a move away from Rome inevitable this summer - it will have been worth the wait.

By Sean Whetstone 18 Jul 2017 at 08:

In 2011 Spurs led by Chairman Daniel Levy initiated a wave of legal challenges to seek a Judicial review of Newham's Council's £40m loan as part of a West Ham bid for the former Olympic Stadium with the aim of derailing the Hammers occupancy of the London Stadium which he had lost out on.

As each legal challenge was rejected by the courts they started a new one challenging the loan in a different way until finally, they were permitted a hearing in August 2011. Spurs later offered to withdraw their legal challenge if West Ham agreed to drop allegations of criminal conduct against them over phone hacking of Karren Brady but the Hammers refused.

In December 2013: Three investigators pleaded guilty of illegally obtaining Karren Brady's phone records during the initial battle for the stadium. The lead investigator worked for accountants PKF, who were engaged by Spurs. The company and Spurs both denied any knowledge of illegal activities.

At a high court hearing in 2011 lawyers for Karren Brady and West Ham won an order requiring accountants PKF, hired by Spurs to conduct "due diligence" on the first bidding process for the Olympic Stadium, to hand over "unlawfully obtained" copies of Brady's itemised phone bills.

In 2013 Richard Forrest pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to obtaining personal data contrary to the Data Protection Act 1998 was fined £10,000. Lee Stewart was fined £13,250 after admitting the same charge. Howard Hill employed Spurs accountants was given a £100,000 fine.

Spurs finally agreed to withdraw their legal challenges after the initial tender process collapsed after a complaint by Architect Steve Lawrence to the European commission over potential state aid.

The legal challenges were seen by many as attempts to get more political leverage to get planning and funding to redevelop White Hart Lane.

In September 2011 the then London mayor Boris Johnson frustrated at Spurs legal threats and game playing threatened to withdraw an offer of £17 million of public support to Tottenham's new stadium development if Spurs did not commit to their stadium project in the next three weeks.

In February 2012 Spurs were permitted to go back on an obligation of £16m of funding for the community as part of its new stadium project.

The section 106 money was to be used by Haringey council for social housing, school places and other road and transport links but the club said the commitment was not viable and were allowed remove it.

At the time Richard Wilson, leader of Haringey Liberal Democrats, said the council was so "desperate" to get the club's investment it had not stood up for residents and council taxpayers. He said "not a single affordable home" will now be built and yet there are 3,000 people on council waiting lists.

In 2012 Haringey Council also agreed to fund Spurs with £5m towards a podium outside the stadium and a further £2.5m for what they called heritage improvements.

Fast forward four years and in February 2016 the then London Mayor Boris Johnson agreed on a £18m investment in infrastructure around the Stadium project from a £28m fund for the Tottenham area. £8.5m on improvements to High road adjacent to the new stadium and £3.5m to improve Tottenham Hale Station to allow for increased footfall. Haringey Council also offered an additional £9m to help improve Tottenham Hale station.



Tottenham Hotspur says the claims by a blog written by 'Haringey Defend Council Housing' over the weekend are factually incorrect and outdated.

They claim the presentation in question is from 5 years ago and there is no longer a proposal for additional £30.5m to fund the podium area outside their Stadium.

Original claims from Blog:

2012 Presentation:

Harrrigey Council released a press statement over the weekend denying the existence of the £30m of funding.

Haringey Press Statement:

Post note:

Subtracting the claimed £30.5m from the equation by my calculation Spurs will benefit by £45m of committed public funding for infrastructure around the stadium.

I still believe questions need to be asked about this tax payer funding. I understand that Arsenal paid £60m in section 106 when they built the Emirates Stadium.

I continue fact check this information and will correct the article as more information becomes available from either Harringey or Spurs.

West Ham suffer injury blow after Cheikhou Kouyate is ruled out the start of the season with 'freak' knee injury
Kouyate was one of the star performers last season but will spend a month on the sidelines after picking up the injury in Austria
The Mirror
18:27, 19 JUL 2017

West Ham have suffered a major injury blow after influential midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate was ruled out of the start of the season with a 'freak' knee injury.
Kouyate picked up the injury during the Hammers pre-season training camp in Austria and will now face a month on the sidelines. The Senegal international was one of the star performers for the east London club last season and will be badly missed as the club prepare to play their first three matches of the season away from London Stadium. Kouyate will miss the big opening game against Manchester United at Old Trafford and could also miss the next two games against Southampton and Newcastle. Speaking exclusively to Mirror Football, West Ham boss Slaven Bilic confirmed Kouyate will face a spell on the sidelines, but will hopefully be fit to return at the end of August. Bilic said: "It is a big shame that Cheikhou got injured in one of our early training sessions and it was out of nothing.
"He did his knee and he is going to miss the first few games of the season. It was a freak injury and it is a blow for us. "He doesn't need surgery and the injury is not a bad one, but he needs rehab now."
Bilic has been a busy man in the transfer market securing the signing of England keeper Joe Hart this week and has already brought in Pablo Zabaleta. The Hammers boss is also close to bringing in Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic for a club record fee of £24m, while Javier Hernandez is another major target.
Mirror Football reported on Tuesday that the club are holding talks with the former Manchester United star and remain optimistic that a deal will be finalised in the next week. Bilic added: "I don't like to talk about transfers until they are done. A number of players have been linked with us and some of them are true "We are working hard and trying to be active in the transfer window. "We have some very good forwards but they have been injured. "We are trying to get a couple of strikers and it is not easy for us, but we are close and I am pretty sure that we will do something. Fingers crossed it is going to happen."

The latest on Arnautovic, Hernandez & Keita as West Ham close in on key transfer targets
Our Hammers writer Sam Inkersole took to Facebook Live to provide the latest news
Football London
16:54, 19 JUL 2017

West Ham are closing in on their key transfer targets in Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez as their pre-season training camp in Austria nears it's conclusion in a few days time. Arnautovic has already said goodbye to his team mates at Stoke City as he inches ever closer to being West Ham's record signing for £24m, while meetings have taken place between the agent of Hernandez and David Sullivan over the past couple of days. Arnautovic is likely to be announced before Hernandez but you never know, the Hammers might wait to do a double reveal, who knows? Either way, the club are very confident that they can have both players signed up within the coming days.
Balde Keita's name was also mentioned after it emerged the Hammers had an apparent bid rejected for him last night according to Italian media. Our West Ham writer Sam Inkersole took to Facebook Live to update the fans on the latest news and also to answer any of your questions.

West Ham target Kelechi Iheancho urged to leave Man City for the sake of his career
The 20-year-old has been told to seek more playing time elsewhere
Football London
08:41, 19 JUL 2017

West Ham target Kelechi Iheanacho has been urged to leave Manchester City and look for better game-time elsewhere by his fellow countryman Yakubu. The youngster made an impressive start to his Premier League career, but found his chances under Pep Guardiola limited last season - especially after the arrival of Gabriel Jesus. That has led to rumours of a transfer this summer - with many clubs in the top division said to hold an interest. West Ham were said to be the front-runners a few weeks ago, but some reports more recently have suggested that Leicester City have jumped ahead in the queue. But, former Premier League striker Yakubu knows that Iheanacho has to leave Manchester City if he wants the game-time to further his career. He told ESPN: "He needs to leave. He's a football player, he needs to play. If you don't play, you don't improve, sitting on the bench every week, you don't play, you get frustrated.

West Ham agree club record deal for Spanish-born Senegal striker Keita Balde Diao
Damien Lucas

West Ham United have suddenly burst into life in the transfer window and reports claim they have agreed a club record deal for a Serie A striker The Hammers have signed Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart from Manchester City so far this summer and are reportedly on the verge of sealing deals for Stoke City's Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez. Slaven Bilic said earlier this summer he was targeting quality of quantity and wanted four "game-changer" signings. But it seems he has other irons in the fire too if reports are to be believed after West Ham were said to have agreed a club record fee of around £27.5m - potentially rising to more than £30m - for Lazio striker Keita Balde Diao. Reports from Goal in Italy claim a deal between the Hammers and Lazio has been agreed and the decision now rests with the 22-year-old, who scored 16 goals as one of the surprise packages of Serie A last season. According to the report, West Ham have come to an agreement with Lazio president Claudio Lotito with just some finer details over the way the transfer payment is structured to be ironed out.
Spanish-born Balde chose to represent Senegal internationally and would join compatriots Diafra Sakho and Cheikhou Kouyate in East London. If Balde does arrive he will have followed a similar path to Hammers midfield star and Spaniard Pedro Obiang, who was born in Spain but moved to play in Italy before his big transfer to the Premier League. West Ham might not have things all their own way, though, because the player is also wanted by Inter Milan, Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton. And the waters could be further muddied by claims that Roberto Calenda, the player's agent, has not yet had his say on the deal with West Ham.

West Ham agrees record fee for striker linked to Inter Milan
By Nicholas MendolaJul 18, 2017, 10:20 PM EDT
NBC Sports

Keita Balde Diao's breakout season for Lazio has earned him the interest of many a club. Five-minute hat tricks will do that. West Ham United, however, may have surged to the front of the queue. The player has to want to head to London, of course, but multiple reports say Lazio has accepted a club record fee of nearly $37 million for the 22-year-old Senegalese striker. Born in Spain and part of Barcelona's academy for seven seasons, Keita headed to Rome in 2011, busting into Lazio's first team in 2013. He's scored 31 goals in 135 appearances despite his young age, and 16 of those came last season in Serie A. Only seven players scored more, and six played at least 1000 more minutes than Keita. Keita also has three goals in 13 caps for Senegal. Goal in Italy says it's up to Keita whether he heads to West Ham, with Inter Milan and Chelsea among the clubs also linked with the player. West Ham reportedly nabbed Marko Arnautovic as well on Tuesday, with Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta previously announced as new Irons. Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez is also rumored to head to London, but Keita would almost certainly hamper than idea.

By Blind Hammer 19 Jul 2017 at 08:00

Blind Hammer looks at Official and Unofficial Media Relations at West Ham.

When David Gold recently revealed to TalkSport our priority ambitions for signing a striker he received immediate criticism from some fans. This echoed the criticism David Sullivan experienced last year when he was similarly transparent about our need for striker recruitment in an interview with Sky Sports.

Essentially the criticism focused around a number of areas but most particularly.

1. We were revealing our budget in advance and therefore disadvantaging any negotiation by driving up the asking price.
2. We were alerting competitor clubs who may try to disrupt any deals we attempted.
3. We were similarly encouraging excessive agent demands for wages and signing on fees by revealing budgets and priorities.
4. We were posturing by appearing to be in the market for players that we had no realistic chance of signing.
Fan critics who made these complaints argued that what should happen is that signings should occur as a surprise, unheralded by any speculation. The first we should hear about them is when a signing is announced on the official web site.

Now in an ideal world this viewpoint would hold a lot of credibility and most of us would support this approach in principle.

However we do not live in an ideal world. The fact is that even if "sources" at West Ham did not engage in any media interventions there would be rumours and interpretations aplenty in the press. The football gossip and rumour mill is a full time industry which powers many a Journalist's living and provides advertising revenue for many websites. A golden silence from Gold and Sullivan would do little to prevent the juggernaut of the football media industry commercially driven to satisfy the interest of thousands of West Ham fans.

Even if the Board hierarchy never made any on the record comments it is unrealistic not to expect rumours and gossip to emerge from the corporation that is West Ham United. There are hundreds of people working for and attached to West Ham who will in the normal phenomenon of Office gossip participate in and discuss rumours about the club. Unless we transform the culture of West Ham and Society in general into a Stasi like Police State run by fear then information emanating out of the club to some extent is inevitable. Even successive Governments of all Political hues are generally unable to prevent leaks, despite threats of sanctions. On balance I think leaks are a price worth paying for the benefits of whistle blowing and free speech.

Quite apart from these internal sources, leaks emanate from areas that West Ham have little control over. These include Players from other clubs and agents representing both our players and potential targets. Agents are financially driven to manipulate the media to try and affect the pay and terms of their Players. I have received some insight into this from an ex-football agent.

Given this inevitable chaotic swirl of transfer narratives in the media, and stories about the club in general, simply absenting themselves from this public discourse carries risk for West Ham. Removing themselves from the discourse entirely allows free rein to negative narratives.

The fact is that whether we like it or not the Board have the responsibility to project West Ham as a positive brand in the world of Football. They would be neglecting their duty if they simply retired, hermit like, from any media scrutiny into obscurity. I remember how Ian Holloway complained before our Play off Final how the relative small size of Blackpool as a club highlighted the responsibility to keep the club positively in the news. In Blackpool's case unless he worked at it there was a danger that they could completely disappear from the Sports Pages, doing harm to the club's profile. The situation for West Ham is less dramatic but the principle still holds. This principle is that interest in Football is competitive and all Clubs, from the smallest to the largest need to try and manage, even manipulate the media to their best advantage. Improving the media profile of the club has longer term commercial benefits, increasing attractiveness to new fans, and therefore longer term benefits which should pass through to help increase the chance of Footballing success.

The real task then for West Ham is to manage the media. One approach would be to constantly issue Official Statements to counteract negative media stories but there are risks to this strategy. Every Official Statement to some extent makes West Ham a hostage to events and fortunes. In the twists and turns of the Football world, positions which seem entirely reasonable one week may have to be radically revised only a few weeks later. Official Statements would soon lose credibility, a bit like the infamous "vote of confidence" clubs have often given to beleaguered Manager just prior to their sacking.

An alternative approach, which West Ham use, is to use trusted "unofficial" outlets to communicate, day to day, with their fan base. There are 3 mechanisms that they use that I am aware of. The first is the long running Jack Sullivan Twitter Account, the second is the Claret and Hugh Website, and the third is the Column and Radio Show attributed to the "Ex-West Ham Employee Insider".

Using these outlets they can try and manage the inevitable discussions and gossip surrounding West Ham. A good example of this was when it was leaked last week that Hernandez was making a demand for wages that would bust our wage structure. By managing this leak the club is communicating with its fan base. If this news did not emerge then it would be open season on negative criticism of a Board "sitting on its hands" and doing nothing to seriously advance West Ham's interest in the transfer market. By leaking Hernandez's reported wage demands the club are at least revealing the genuine dilemmas the Board faces in its recruitment. West Ham fans may not be happy about this but they have a better understanding of what the issues are.

The real question then is how this need for transparency and communication is managed. There is an argument that information has emerged officially from the club which may has harmed our negotiating position in transfers. Declaring that we had £20 million for a striker last year may have been a case in point. Similarly reports appearing unofficially on Claret and Hugh this summer that we have a Transfer budget of £65 million face a similar charge.

However Gold and Sullivan may well, in private, defend their strategy by pointing out that footballing insiders will be already aware of potential transfer resources available to a club like West Ham. It will be not be particularly advantageous to them if we are revealed to have a limit to our transfer allocation. By this argument, signalling the ball park transfer budget available to West Ham helps our Fan base by allowing a genuine and realistic understanding of what potential targets are available to them.

For my own part I still think West ham should steer away from unofficial leaks of budgets and limits to transfers. I understand their wish to reassure fans of the extent of their commitment but the controversy which accompanies any such stories diminish any positive effects that they hope for. Media management is a skillful and dangerous occupation. It is a bit like catching a Tiger by the tail. There are many in life who believes that they could manage the media only to be later consumed by them.

Unfortunately this media management is a game that West Ham must inevitably play, alongside other clubs, equally trying to manage their media profile. My own view is one of understanding, but also that there is a need for improvement.


David Griffith

Better than Lukaku and Sanchez? West Ham close on prolific striker Hernandez
Dan Coombs

West Ham bound Javier Hernandez has a superior goals record to several big name Premier League stars past and present. West Ham are closing in on the signing of striker Javier Hernandez, with SkySports reporting the club hope to win the race for his signature. Hernandez is experienced in the Premier League after a successful spell at Manchester United, before leaving for Bayer Leverkusen. The Mexican international is a player West Ham could finally rely on to score goals.
Statistically he measures up to some of the very best strikers the Premier League has to offer Here is a look at a number of big name strikers who over the past six seasons have inferior minutes per goal records to Hernandez.

Premier League statistics 2011-2017

Team Mins per Goal Appearances
Javier Hernández Man Utd 138.79 76
Daniel Sturridge Liverpool / Chelsea 143 126
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Man Utd 143.35 28
Diego Costa Chelsea 145.19 89
Olivier Giroud Arsenal 157.81 164
Alexis Sánchez Arsenal 162.6 103
Romelu Lukaku Everton / Chelsea / West Brom 165.64 186
Lukas Podolski Arsenal 172.11 60
Samuel Eto'o Everton / Chelsea 174 35
Wayne Rooney Man Utd 174.46 176
Christian Benteke C. Palace / Liverpool / A Villa 181.61 154
Jamie Vardy Leicester 195.05 105

Considering Romelu Lukaku has just been sold to Manchester United by Everton for £75 million, Javier Hernandez would be an incredible signing at his £13 million release clause. Hernandez's goal record over the above span is also superior to Zlatan's performances for United last season - and Arsenal ace Alexis Sanchez over his past three seasons at the club. West Ham have lacked a striker as clinical as Hernandez for years, and signing him would be a real coup and lift the atmosphere among fans to one of hope instead of recent frustration.


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