Saturday, July 22

Daily WHUFC News - 22nd July 2017

Bilic: We did exactly what we have been working on

Slaven Bilic was a satisfied man after West Ham United rounded off their pre-season training camp in Austria with a 2-1 victory over Fulham in Graz. First half goals from Manuel Lanzini and Ashley Fletcher set the Hammers on course for the win against the Championship side, and the boss was again happy to see his players come through it without any fitness issues. "It was a good game for us," he said. "Again we treated it as a training test. We trained this morning before the game and it was quite hot, but we wanted to stick to our schedule. "We played with two teams each half - only Josh Cullen and Moses Makasi had to play a bit more. "But it was good, against a decent side, especially in the first half, we played aggressively, and did exactly the things we have been working on this last week in Austria, like pressing, taking the ball, and quick reactions. "Second half was a bit slower but the main thing again was that no one got injured. We are at the last day of the first part of our pre-season after 11 days of hard work and it has been a good test for us."

While the focus throughout the time in Austria has been on gradually building the physical condition of his players each day, Bilic admitted that winning the game and scoring their first goals of the pre-season build-up would naturally increase confidence among the squad. "It is always good to win a game and have that kind of mentality," he said. "I am not happy that we conceded a goal that we shouldn't have, but it was a positive outcome for us. "And no matter what the game, or how much you train, you need goals. "It's good to have scored two goals, to have created good chances, and to win against a team who could have been in the Premier League next season."

Miklosko: I expect Hart to do very well

West Ham United legend Ludek Miklosko believes Joe Hart's vast experience will be of huge benefit to the Hammers. Like Hart, Miklosko arrived in east London with domestic success and international recognition under his belt, having won the Intertoto Cup four times with Banik Ostrava and been capped more than 30 times by Czechoslovakia. And the 55-year-old, who made 373 appearances in Claret and Blue between 1990 and 1998, believes England's No1 has all the tools required to follow in his footsteps and become a Hammers hero. "I think it's a good signing," Ludo told "I think he's a very experienced goalkeeper and one of the top goalkeepers in the world. I rate him very highly. He's playing for England and I believe he will stay as the number one for a few more years."It's very important for the Club and for the players at West Ham to sign a player like Joe. I expect him to do very well."

The tall Czech was 28 when he arrived in England in early 1990, bringing his own unique style of goalkeeping. Miklosko's approach quickly endeared him to the Claret and Blue Army, earning Hammer of the Year honours at the end of his first full season with the Club. He later returned to east London as goalkeeper coach, working with the likes of David James, Shaka Hislop and Robert Green, before taking up his current role developing and representing up and coming Czech goalkeepers.

As a student of his art, Miklosko is a fan of Hart's own style, as well as his ability to overcome the criticism which inevitably goes a goalkeeper's way whenever they make an error. "I like Joe," he confirmed. "He has his own style of goalkeeping and I like it. His style is to get out quickly to the striker and spread himself by stretching his legs. He tries to get as close to the striker as he can to block their shots. He has very good reflexes and this way of goalkeeping is slightly different than a few others. "Joe is a very experienced goalkeeper and he knows that everybody makes mistakes and that, if he makes a mistake, it will be twice as criticised in the newspapers because some people are just waiting for mistakes. He is not the only goalkeeper who is like this. Petr Cech is the same. "If you want to be a top goalkeeper, you must be a strong character and I'm absolutely sure Joe is a strong lad."

West Ham fans love their goalkeepers, from Ernie Gregory and Jim Standen, through Phil Parkes and Miklosko himself, to Jimmy Walker and Adrian – and Ludo believes Hart could add his name to that list of favourites. "West Ham have always had very, very good goalkeepers down the years and I think Joe will definitely be great for them," he observed.

Miklosko himself has also had a busy summer, accompanying young goalkeepers to trials and visiting his company's clients at clubs all over Europe. "I'm at Manchester United this weekend, then in Northern Ireland for the SuperCupNI, then I return to the Czech Republic for another tournament," he revealed.
"I look after mostly Czech goalkeepers and we do produce good ones! We have decent boys, but they just need to get opportunities, which are my job to find for them."

Ashley Fletcher delighted with goal and assist v Fulham

Ashley Fletcher admitted he was delighted to claim an assist and a goal in Thursday evening's 2-1 victory over Fulham in Graz. While building fitness was again the key factor as Slaven Bilic's squad rounded off their pre-season training camp in Austria, there was no denying the satisfaction of a productive night in front of goal for the striker. The 21-year-old set Hammers on their way with a neat pass to tee up Manuel Lanzini for the opening goal just 14 minutes in. He then made it 2-0 five minutes before half-time when he capitalised on a loose touch from goalkeeper David Button and tapped into an empty net. Despite Fulham's appeals for a foul, the goal stood and Fletcher was off the mark. "As a striker you've got to gamble," he said. "I put the keeper under pressure, sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't - and luckily tonight I got it. "We came out here to build fitness but it's still nice to score a goal and get an assist."

For Fletcher, the evening marked a successful conclusion to the schedule in Austria, where he also grabbed two goals at the same stage of pre-season last year.
That set the tone for the former Manchester United striker to feature early on in the Premier League campaign and he is determined to continue his progress when the squad head to Germany on Monday for the second stage of their training build-up "Austria is a good environment to work on your fitness and for me it's been quite a lucky place to get goals," he said. "Hopefully I can take that on like I did last year and get some game time in the next couple of weeks. "When we came to Austria we obviously were not match fit but gradually we are getting more minutes now and we will go to Germany feeling stronger and looking forward to stepping it up in the matches out there."

Terry Westley: Jack Collison is a 'very talented coach'

Terry Westley has labelled Jack Collison a "very talented coach" after the former Hammers midfielder was appointed Lead U14-U16 Coach at Chadwell Heath.
Collison had to call time on his playing career in 2016 but has rigorously worked through his coaching badges since retiring. After impressing at Peterborough United when working with their U18s last year, Collison has been given the opportunity to develop potential stars of the future in east London. Academy Director Westley has spoken of his delight at bringing the 28-year-old back to the Club, saying: "It's taken a while to get to this place but what a pedigree. He's a young man who wants to learn and develop. "He really impressed me when I sat down and spoke to him about the role [which is] something you don't get off ex-players all the time. [He has] a real thirst and hunger to want to improve as a coach and I think we've got a very talented young coach on our hands."

Collison joined the Hammers as a bright 17-year-old and immediately impressed the coaches at the Academy of Football. His progression was rewarded with a first team debut in January 2008 and Westley believes his strong affiliation with the Club will stand him in good stead. "It gives you a starting point," he continued. "Parents and players and talented young players want someone who can help them and help them progress and get through the ranks. "He does know all about that by being here as a young player and then also playing for the first team and also being an international. So he knows what the requirements are but he'll be judged on his development, he'll be judged on being a coach now. "We want to help him and that's what really came across strongly when we interviewed him for the job that he actually wants to get better himself. "You're talking about a player who has had some hard times in his career when he had to finish early but he got off his backside and done his licence work with the FA. He's now an A Licence coach, he wants to go on and take his Pro Licence, so his development years are in front of him and we want to help him on his pathway.

Collison will take charge of the U14-U16 age category but Westley has encouraged him to be involved in all age groups at the Academy. "He'll work across all age groups because that's what we say to all the coaches. Rather than "it's my team", we encourage the coaches of younger teams to come out and work with our U23s. "We'll say the same to Jack, but primarily he will be working with the U16s and with the U14 players in the evenings and Sundays. You'll mainly see him on Saturdays leading our U16 players, the ones who are vying to become scholars, and really give the experience that he's had as a young player and coach."

Hammers on Tour: Final day in Austria

Catching up on life with Slaven Bilic's squad as they conclude their pre-season training camp in Austria…

One final work-out

Despite Thursday evening's friendly encounter against Fulham and a midday departure time scheduled from the team hotel the following day, Hammers still managed to squeeze in one last training work-out at their Bad Waltersdorf base on Friday morning. A strength and power circuit session kept the fitness levels progressing on schedule and the players will now enjoy a two-day rest period over the weekend before reporting for the next training camp in Bremen, Germany, on Monday morning.

Keeping hydrated in the heat

The temperature in Bad Waltersdorf has often reached the low 30s over the course of the camp, with one recording of 32 degrees during the first friendly fixture against Sturm Graz II. A number of measures have been taken to ensure that the players remained properly hydrated during their demanding physical schedule of double sessions in the blazing sunlight. Before every session the medical staff prepare and label a bottle of water for each player and a bottle of water with a dissolvable electrolyte tablet inside. At the end of every session the players are given a protein shake and each evening crates of water have been placed in the corridors of the hotel so that players can keep the fridges in their rooms topped up. Thirsty work.

Kit's a tough job...

While constant hard work has been the theme of the trip for the players, the same can certainly be said for two members of the Hammers' backroom staff. Kitman James 'Jamo' Saban and his assistant Andy Tyson have worked tirelessly throughout the 12 days spent in Austria, washing, sorting and laying out kit for 28 players and the coaching and medical staff, often twice a day, while at the same time playing a key role in keeping team morale high thanks to their infectious character and sense of humour. Hats off to a pair of true Hammers heroes...

Keeping the faith

While the arrival of Joe Hart this week has grabbed the headlines, the trip to Austria has provided evidence that West Ham's longer-term goalkeeping prospects are also in safe hands. With highly-rated Nathan Trott involved with the England Under-19 squad in their victorious European Championship campaign in Georgia, 17-year-old Youth Academy hopeful Joseph Anang was originally brought along to Austria as the third goalkeeper. And the youngster has made a positive impression on both players and coaches alike. "It has been a great experience," said Joseph.

Seen off in style

Before heading to Vienna airport for their flight back to London this afternoon, the Hammers squad were given a warm and friendly farewell by staff at the Falkensteiner Golf and Spa hotel that has been their base for the past 12 days. This included a team photo arranged in front of the entrance lobby, accompanied by bubbles being blown and a rendition of our club anthem being played on the sound system. A fitting way to finish a productive and successful first pre-season training camp. Now on to Germany!

Alex Pike enjoying pre-season tests

Alex Pike is pleased to have recovered from the injury that cut short his promising campaign last season and says he is ready to seize any potential opportunities this year. The 20-year-old was hugely impressive for the U23s over the first half of last season before joining Sky Bet League Two side Cheltenham Town on loan in January. However, after making just five appearances with the Robins, Pike was forced to call time on his stay in Gloucestershire and he underwent hernia surgery at the end of last season. The right-back recovered from his injure setback as he aims to get plenty of game time before a long season at West Ham or potentially back out on loan. "It's always good to get the minutes in in pre-season," admitted Pike. "I played a little bit longer tonight [against Colchester] so it was tough but it's part of the game. "I thought I did alright. I'm still a little bit rusty as it's still early on in the season but I feel as though I was better tonight than I was against Barnet. "It just feels so good to be back playing. Any lad just wants to play football, it was frustrating being injured but the important thing is I'm back now and I feel fit as ever."

Terry Westley's U23s take on Vanarama National League side Dagenham and Redbridge this Saturday, with the match taking place at the Chigwell Construction Stadium. The venue is also where the PL2 Hammers play their Premier League 2 and Cup fixtures. It will be the third time in the space of seven days that the U23s have tested themselves against senior sides and Pike believes these sorts of tests are required to take young players to the next level. "It's very good for the lads (to play against Football League opposition), because it prepares us for the Checkatrade Trophy when we come up against that sort of opposition and it gives us experience of men's football," he added. "It is definitely worthwhile and we're happy to have these sorts of test provided for us. "I'm looking forward to the trip to Slovakia but we have another important match on Saturday. Dagenham are another very experienced side and it will be another good opportunity for the boys to get some minutes against a tough team."

Tickets for Saturday's 3pm kick-off at the Chigwell Construction Stadium are priced at £12 for adults and £6 for concessions.

West Ham United U18s are also in action on Saturday as they host Crystal Palace at Little Heath. Parking and admission are both free for the 11am kick-off.

Marko Arnautovic set to seal £23m West Ham record deal tomorrow after passing medical
Evening Standard

West Ham will complete the club record signing of Marko Arnautovic from Stoke tomorrow after the Austrian forward passed his medical. The Hammers have agreed to part with £23million for Arnautovic, a fee that eclipses the £20.5m they paid Swansea for Andre Ayew next season. The 28-year-old is expected to fly out with Slaven Bilic's squad next week for their three pre-season games in Germany. Arnautovic completed his medical in London on Friday with no issues raised and the Hammers are set to announce his arrival tomorrow to conclude an impressive week in the market for Bilic's side. The week had begun with Joe Hart's loan arrival from Manchester City before Thursday saw an agreement between Bayer Leverkusen and West Ham for the transfer of Javier Hernandez. The Mexican striker and Hernandez are set to form a formidable attacking quartet rounded out by Manuel Lanzini and Michail Antonio, giving Bilic the pace and dynamism in attack he felt was lacking last season. With Pablo Zabaleta having also arrived on a free transfer earlier in the window West Ham will feel that they have accomplished their most pressing business in the summer market, though with over a month until the window shuts the Hammers will remain open to making further additions. Meanwhile Middlesbrough have agreed a deal for goalkeeper Darren Randolph, who had fallen down to third place in the pecking order, subject to medical and personal terms.

West Ham Utd 2-1 Fulham
Filed: Thursday, 20th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Goals From Manual Lanzini and Ashley Fletcher were enough to secure a first win of pre-season for Slaven Bilic's Hammers. Having only managed a goalless draw with Sturm Graz's reserve side on Monday night, Slaven Bilic's side were keen to put on a better performance for the travelling fans here in Graz. And the Hammers produced a much better performance to see of the Championship side, even though the Cottagers could have snatched a share of the spoils at the end. Manuel Lanzini gave West Ham an early lead when he drilled a close range shot into the bottom left corner of Button's net. Then five minutes ahead of the half time interval, the Hammers doubled their lead when Ashley Fletcher was allowed to steer the ball into an empty net after he appeared to have tripped the hapless Fulham 'keeper. Fulham's only goal of the game came nine minutes from the end of time following a spell of sustained pressure; substitute 'keeper Adrian had no chance as Sessegnon's deflected effort found the far corner.
Goalscorer Ashley Fletcher was particularly pleased to get off the mark. "As a striker you've got to gamble," he told West Ham's website. "I put the keeper under pressure, sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't - and luckily tonight I got it. "Hopefully I can take that on like I did last year and get some game time in the next couple of weeks."

West Ham Utd: Randolph (Adrian 46), Byram (Zabaleta 46), Ogbonna (Collins 46), Rice (Burke 46), Cresswell (Masuaku 46), Cullen (Makasi 77), Lanzini (Noble 46), Makasi (Obiang 46), Feghouli (Ayew 46), Holland (Snodgrass 46), Fletcher (Martinez 46).

Subs not used: Anang.

Goals: Lanzini (14), Fletcher (40).

Fulham: Button, Fredericks (Opoku 75), Sigurdsson (Ream 23), Djalo, Opoku (Sessegnon 46), Cisse (McDonald 46), Piazon (Aluko 75), Edun, Aluko (O'Reilly 46), Woodrow, Ayite (Cisse 75).

Subs not used: Rodak, Johansen.

Goals: Sessegnon (81).

Savio sacked, again
Filed: Friday, 21st July 2017
By: Staff Writer

One-time West Ham winger Savio Nsereko has been fired by his latest club for unprofessional behaviour.

Savio, who cost the club around £5million was signed by former Director of Football Gianluca Nani from Brescia in 2009 and made just a handful of appearances for the Hammers before being allowed to leave.

Since then, the former German youth international's career has been something of a train wreck, leading him to arrive recently at German fourth tier club FC Pipinsreid. However once again Nsereko has been let go, after he failed to attend training on a regular basis and allowed himself to become unfit.

"The club and the player have found that there are irreconcilable differences in how the player achieves, alongside a professional occupation, through a regular training and practice practice, a fitness status that allows a return to professional football", read a statement released by Pipinsreid.

Coach Roman Plesche added: "Our goal was to recommend Savio again for higher tasks, but he did not show the necessary desire and, unfortunately, was inconsistent. I had a friendly relationship with him from the beginning, but I had to act in the spirit of the club.

"For Savio, personally, I would like to see him join a professional club that gives him the opportunity to show his best. I'm convinced that, under professional conditions, he can it again."

Since leaving West Ham, Savio's meandering career has led to him joining clubs as varied as Fiorentina (Italy), Chernomorets Burgas (Bulgaria), SpVgg Unterhaching (Germany), FC Atyrau ( Kazakhstan) amongst others.

And in 2012 he was accused of and later arrested for staging his own abduction, in an attempt to extort a ransom fee of less than €3,000.

Mourinho hails Hammers signings
Filed: Friday, 21st July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has praised West Ham for the summer signings the club has made so far. The Portuguese manager will be the first to test his wits against Slaven Bilic's new-look Hammers side at Old Trafford on Sunday 13 August. And speaking this morning, Mourinho cheekily suggested that West Ham might be looking to win the Championship as a result of capturing the likes of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Javier Hernandez.
Responding to a question regarding his own clubs relative lack of activity in the market, he replied: "We need a bit more. "When you see the other teams in the Premier League - the way they get players, new players and important players - and you see the champions buy three fantastic experienced players, then you see the way Man City goes to the market, and Liverpool and West Ham. "I'm thinking about playing West Ham in the first match of the Premier League. West Ham get Joe Hart, get Chicharito and Arnautovic. West Ham. Wow, it looks like they're playing to win the Premier League too!" Arnautovic, who will cost West Ham in the region of £20million is expected to complete his move from Stoke today. Hernandez, meanwhile, should be confirmed as a Hammer early next week.

Written by Dwayne Hawkins @dwaynewhu

On the whole football fans are an unforgiving bunch.

We can hold grudges with the best of them. We take anything considered to be disloyalty towards our club as a personal insult. West Ham fans are no different. If anything, we fall on the harsher end of the scale. When wearing the claret and blue we expect our players to respect what those colours represent. Both on and off the pitch. Both during and after their time at the club has come to an end. When a player fails to meet those standards, the backlash provided by the fans is unyielding and often unrelenting.

In the case of Jermain Defoe perhaps it's okay for us all to go against our instincts, our very nature as football fans. Perhaps it's time for us all to learn how to forgive.

Originally representing Charlton at under 16 level, Defoe first made national headlines when he controversially chose to make the move across London and sign for West Ham in 1998. The Hammers –surrounded by poaching accusations – paid compensation totalling £1.65 Million with performance related clauses included. While not much more than a drop in the water in todays market, in the year 2000 the signing of an unproven teenager for a hefty price tag made waves amongst the Hammers fans.

He would begin to pay back his fee when he scored the only goal in his professional debut, a one nil win in the league cup against Walsall in September 2000. He would then be sent out on what would turn out to be highly successful season long loan spell at Bournemouth. There, the eighteen-year-old would discover the taste for goals that would make him a prolific hitman up and down the country. He would make an impression on football fans by scoring in each of his 10 first league games for the club. He was going for a post war record held by Dixie Dean, who had scored in 12 consecutive games. Although he would come just shy of breaking Dean's record after failing to find the back of the net in a game against Millwall in January 2001, he would during this period firmly establish himself as one of the hottest prospects in English football.

Defoe would return to West Ham and become an active member of the first team squad under new manager Glenn Roeder, scoring his first Premier League goal in a 3-2 victory against Ipswich. Despite being mainly used a substitute that season he would end the year as the clubs' top scorer with 14 goals in 39 games. The following season Jermaine Defoe was only one the talented English youngsters that the Hammers boasted among their ranks. In a team that also boasted the likes of Michael Carrick and Joe Cole. He managed 11 goals in 42 games for the team that was famously dubbed – too good to go down – and his efforts would not be enough to prevent the club from tumbling out of the league.

It was then Jermain Defoe stopped being the face of West Ham's young team and the jewel of our famed academy. His reputation first took a hit amongst the fans when the news broke that he had handed in a written transfer request within 24 hours of the clubs relegation. The backlash from both the fans and his teammates were severe. Words like judas and snake were banded about with ease. Defoe's very name left a bitter taste in our mouths. The club stood firm. The request would be turned down. As the new season began Defoe would stick to his guns and refuse to sign a new contract. He would score 11 goals in his first 19 league appearances in the first half of the season. However, issues with his discipline both on and off the pitch would prove to push his strained relationship with the fans to breaking point and after three red cards he would depart the club for Tottenham the following January.

His career following his West Ham departure was nothing short of exemplary. Despite never getting the move or playing for the level of club his ability probably deserved, Jermain Defoe still became arguably the most reliable goal scorer over a significant period of time in the modern Premier League era. Despite never being England's first choice striker he would go on to represent his country 57 times, scoring 20 goals in the process. He would shake the image of the spoilt kid who threw his toys out of the pram during his time and West Ham and replace it with one of a consummate professional. The only reminder of his controversial departure being the rousing boos he would receive anytime he returned to his former hunting ground.

It was the friendship he formed with the late Bradley Lowery that would touch the hearts of football fans around the country. In a time where football players are detached from modern society and are seen to have no grounding or understanding of "real" life, Defoe's friendship renewed a connection between players and fans that money and greed had long since destroyed.

The career of Jermain Defoe reminds me that once you take away it all, the clubs, the wages, the agents and the fans, football players are human. Just like the rest of us. I think we can all look back to a previous time and remember mistakes that we had made when we were younger. We all have memories that make us cringe. I'd like to think that day Defoe handed in his transfer request, twenty-four hours after getting relegated was one of those days for him.

Defoe has since publicly said it was a mistake to leave West Ham on several occasions and has offered a full apology to the club and its fans. He had blamed agents for whispering in his ear and warping an impressionable mind into thinking that it was something he had to do.

Forgiving isn't something that we do easily as football fans but perhaps it is something that we ought to start learning how to do. I, for one, would not like to be judged on the decisions I made in my youth.

Written by Kevin Slade @S_D_C_C

July 1st – August 31st is the most exciting period for any supporter in world football prior to the season officially kicking off. The majority of us will be checking the Internet on a daily basis searching for mouth watering news regarding some exciting transfers incoming to our football club(s). Having said that, the inflation in the modern day market is a major concern for football in general.

Football clubs are paying extortionate prices for average players which I personally just cannot fathom. Manchester City have recently splashed £50m on Kyle Walker for example. Since when did Kyle Walker become a £50m player? What has he achieved in the game to earn such a hefty transfer fee? The argument of "That's how it is now in the market" just doesn't sit well with me for a number of reasons: Mid table sides will be paying over the odds for below average players soon. What chance will that give the likes of us to compete? Because let's face it, we are currently a mid table side!

We made the transition to the London stadium based on one promise and on one condition – we would attract better players, compete for Europe, & in the domestic cups. It would only take someone extremely naive to believe this will happen overnight; Rome wasn't built in a day! The acquisition of Pablo Zabaleta early on will prove to be pivotal for West Ham United in this transfer window – Pablo is a well respected professional in the game. A winner. A leader. He possesses attributes that we've seriously lacked on and off the pitch in recent years, which is why I believe he will turn out to be our signing of the season. I also believe he alone will attract bigger names to the club, which brings me to Joe Hart.

I've been screaming out for months on our radio show that we seriously need to upgrade on our current goalkeepers. The amount of cock-ups Adrian and Randolph made between them last season during their merry-go-round of games all but confirmed and cemented my feelings regarding a new contender for the number 1 jersey between the sticks. Hart comes with an exceptional amount of experience, which again, will prove to be pivotal to this transfer window and our season. To capture a player of Joe's calibre on a season long loan, with a view to a £10m permanent transfer in 12 months time is a masterstroke by the chairman. England's current number 1, 4x premier league golden glove awards, 2x championship medals, just to name a few of his impressive accolades. Everton have just signed Jordan Pickford for £30m – an 'up & coming' goalkeeper who was relegated with Sunderland. Think about that for a second…

Two other names in the mix are currently Javier Hernandez, and Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City. Hernandez is no stranger to the premier league and possesses an impressive goal scoring record for both club(s) and country. The official site has tonight confirmed that a deal has been reached to bring the Mexican to West Ham United, subject to a medical in the coming days. This is huge for the club and I'm absolutely over the moon the board have managed to get this deal over the line! Chicharito is the striker we've been crying out for years on end; a pacy fox in the box who's certain to get 10-15 goals per season minimum. His desire & hunger to put the ball in the back of the net will no doubt in my mind radiate throughout the squad & improve our existing options at the top of the pitch. This news has created euphoria amongst the faithful, and we've finally, yes, finally got our goal scorer that we've been craving for! I would like to give a special mention to good friend ExWHUemployee for breaking this news some time ago via social media & on our radio show despite heavy criticism. Well done ex!

Finally, this brings me to Marko Arnautovic. The pieces of this jigsaw are starting to shape up nicely: A quality right back in Zabaleta & a solid goalkeeper in Joe Hart which will form the backbone of our defence, and Chicharito & Arnautovic which will provide pace & power at the other end. We can't just aim for the stars & think we can throw money around on unrealistic targets – Players of Arnautovic's ilk are exactly what we need to be acquiring in order to begin this journey to start competing. Arnautovic is said to be desperate to join us, & for £22m, he will justify that fee. Pace & power on each wing (RW: Antonio) providing Chicharito will be petrifying for any full-back, this is why I believe Arnautovic is the right target for us at this stage of our new project, and the player is extremely keen to join us. No brainer for me!

Hart, Zabaleta, Arnautovic, and Hernandez would create a solid spine – all of whom have Premier League experience and are current internationals. Patience is a virtue and we must not panic in this window after having two disastrous ones previously. The priority is to identify experienced, seasoned quality in order to improve the first team, not just the squad. Jack Wilshire is a name that's been touted about as of late, and again, broken by Ex last night on the show, the player is said to be desperate to join us & has sent out a number of 'come & get me' pleas to the club. At 25 years old, I'd take him on loan & use him as a squad player. He definitely has the quality, but his fitness has always been the issue. It really is exciting times to be supporting West Ham at the moment, and the transition to the London Stadium looks like it's starting to pay off… COYI!


Written by Katie Shergold @flump9

There have been rumours circulating for a little while now about the possibility of signing Jack Wilshire on loan, however last night Ex confirmed that there was some interest and that Wilshire himself wants to come to West Ham. After hearing that he wants to join us, it made me question whether him joining us on loan this season would be a worthwhile deal for us.

My first reaction was absolutely not, he is one of the most injury prone players in the Premier League and with our history (Dyer, Carroll and Sakho to name a few), it just does not make any sense to bring yet another one to the club. I did a comparison of Jack Wilshire, Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho's injury record and it really is depressing reading, especially as Andy Carroll probably just comes out on top. What a worrying thought!

Jack Wilshire – Whole Career Missed 996 Days Missed 152 Games
Andy Carroll – Whole Career Missed 959 Days Missed 124 Games

Jack Wilshire – Since 12/13 Missed 697 Days Missed 94 Games
Andy Carroll – Since 12/13 Missed 876 Days Missed 109 Games

Jack Wilshire – Since Jan 15 Missed 479 Days Missed 73 Games
Andy Carroll – Since Jan 15 Missed 468 Days Missed 57 Games
Diafra Sakho – Since Jan 15 Missed 507 Days Missed 69 Games

Having said all of this and I still stand by it, I have to admit that there is a little part of me that would love to have him at the club. Yes, even typing this I think I am crazy myself, so I'm sure lots of you will be thinking the same. However, there is no doubting his talent, he is a pleasure to watch play and someone I have always quietly liked. On the odd occasion Wilshire is fit, he is unplayable. He is a passionate player that has a history of supporting West Ham, that for me is half of what makes someone a popular figure at the club, but I do know that this isn't enough for us to take a gamble on him.

There is no way we can afford to take him on a big-money deal, we would be foolish to even consider it. There is a massive danger that he is going to miss half of the season and once again, we are left paying for players who are just working on their fitness most of the season, to only get a handful of games from them. If we were to take a chance on Jack, for me it would have to be a 'pay as you play' deal not the 20m that has been spoken of by Arsenal, for me he is worth in the region of 7-10m and no more. I personally can't see anyone being prepared to pay that sort of money and with Jack's contract only having 12 months left, I do wonder what is in store for him. For this reason, I think this is why Jack wants to be given a chance at his boyhood club, try and 'stay' fit and possibly be a big name player for West Ham.

Is there a part of you like me, that would like to see Jack play for West Ham or are you totally against the idea? Give me your thoughts.

@flump9 on Twitter

Darren Randolph set for Middlesbrough as West Ham accept bid
By Stephen Turner
Last Updated: 21/07/17 9:36pm

Middlesbrough have agreed a deal with West Ham for goalkeeper Darren Randolph. The Republic of Ireland international will travel to the north-east on Saturday to have a medical and discuss personal terms, according to a Boro statement. Joe Hart's recent arrival at West Ham left Randolph and Adrian fighting for the role of second-choice keeper, while Boro are short in the department after losing Brad Guzan and Victor Valdes. The Championship club's other frontline keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos signed a new deal earlier this summer. Randolph will become Boro's sixth summer signing if the deal goes through, following Jonny Howson, Cyrus Christie, Martin Braithwaite, Connor Roberts (loan), and Britt Assombalonga to the Riverside. The 30-year-old has started 28 Premier League games since joining West Ham from Birmingham in 2015.

West Ham in talks to sign midfielder Badou N'Diaye
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 21/07/17 9:33pm

West Ham United are in talks to sign Senegalese midfielder Badou N'Diaye from Osmanlispor, according to Sky sources. Galatasaray are also trying to sign N'Diaye from the Turkish club. N'Diaye, who has scored 16 times from midfield in the past two seasons, has offers to move to clubs in Spain, Germany and Italy, but it is understood he would prefer to play in the Premier League. The 26-year-old is being watched by a number of teams including Crystal Palace, Everton and Newcastle United, and sources close to the player believe the Magpies will make a late move to sign the player. N'Diaye joined Osmanlispor from Norwegian side Bodo Glimt for £300,000 in 2015 and has impressed during his time at the club. He has made eight international appearances for Senegal, netting once since his debut in 2014.

Joe Hart absent as West Ham beat Fulham in pre-season friendly
Last Updated: 20/07/17 8:44pm

West Ham won their first match of pre-season as they beat Fulham 2-1 in Austria on Thursday. New signing Joe Hart did not feature for the Hammers, but Pablo Zabaleta came on as a second-half substitute. Manuel Lanzini gave the Premier League side the lead when he finished in the 14th minute. Darren Randolph made a sharp save to deny Sone Aluko an equaliser before Lanzini went close to a second. The Hammers did double their advantage late in the first half as Ashley Fletcher dispossessed Fulham goalkeeper David Button and tapped into an empty net.

West Ham starting XI: Randolph, Byram, Ogbonna, Rice, Cresswell, Cullen, Lanzini, Makasi, Feghouli, Holland, Fletcher
Used subs: Adrian, Zabaleta, Collins, Burke, Masuaku, Noble, Obiang, Ayew, Snodgrass, Martinez

Fulham starting XI: Button, Fredericks, Sigurdsson, Djalo, Opoku, Cisse, Piazon, Edun, Aluko, Woodrow, Ayite
Used subs: Opoku, Ream, Sessegnon, McDonald, O'Reilly, Cisse

West Ham made 10 changes at the break and conceded an equaliser in the 81st minute as Aluko and Ryan Sessegnon combined and Cauley Woodrow netted from close range. Next up for Slaven Bilic's side is a meeting with Werder Bremen in Austria on July 28. They could be joined by a couple of new additions for the match, with Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez close to joining. Bayer Leverkusen striker Hernandez has agreed terms while Stoke's Arnautovic is set for a medical. Fulham travel to Germany to face Darmstadt in a friendly on July 22.

Javier Hernandez to West Ham: Track record guarantees goals
Last Updated: 20/07/17 11:55pm

West Ham have agreed to sign Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen but what will the former Manchester United striker bring to the team? Adam Bate examines the stats of a proven goalscorer and wonders whether he will be able to deliver more of the same for Slaven Bilic...

West Ham's long search for a quality striker is over with the acquisition of Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen and the club's fans are likely to feel content that the Mexico international ticks plenty of the required boxes. The man they call Chicharito is a forward with proven pedigree who can be expected to adapt quickly on his Premier League return.

That is not to say that this is a signing without some concerns. Even in this inflated market there are those who will wonder whether a near £20m fee for a 29-year-old whose pace remains a key asset represents a gamble in the medium term. But the currency that really matters to Slaven Bilic is goals - and that is something that Hernandez is used to trading in.

West Ham had problems in this regard last season, scoring only 47 times. No player reached double figures. That Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini topped the list underlines the point that the strikers struggled. Andy Carroll's fitness remains an issue, Jonathan Calleri laboured without success and Ashley Fletcher failed to take his limited opportunities.

Hernandez can be expected to do rather better. Consistency is a curious term to ascribe to a player who went 16 appearances without scoring over the winter having netted 19 times over the same period of games just one year earlier, but the long-term trend throughout his time in Europe is impressive. When given the chance, Hernandez tends to score.

His 72 top-flight goals for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Leverkusen came at a rate of one every 134 minutes. That is top class and will encourage Bilic to believe that if he puts Hernandez on the pitch then goals will come. For context, given the minutes of any of the top dozen scorers in last season's Premier League, that rate would result in at least 18 goals.

Nobody has scored that many in a season for West Ham in the Premier League era.

One problem is the feeling that Hernandez is better suited to an impact role from the bench and it is true that these statistics are massaged by his goals as a substitute. Fourteen of his Premier League strikes were scored after coming on - at a rate of one every 76 minutes. But his efforts at Leverkusen show that he can be the main man too.

His first season in Germany was also the only year of his career in Europe in which he played more than 60 per cent of the possible minutes. He responded with 17 Bundesliga goals - the fourth best in the competition that season behind Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the Bayern Munich duo of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller.

As a result, Hernandez is entitled to feel he is returning to England having enhanced his reputation. The super-sub tag has been shed. For clarity, even if only starting minutes are counted, Hernandez has still scored 55 top-flight goals at a rate of one every 147 minutes. Better than, for example, Diego Costa's goalscoring record at Chelsea last season.

Of course, the bigger question mark facing Hernandez is whether he can replicate those numbers while playing in a relatively weaker team than the ones he has been used to. This is a player who thrives inside the box and the only teams still in the division who had fewer touches in the opposition area than West Ham last season are West Brom and Burnley.

That needs to change and the onus is on Bilic to construct a side that complements his game. There are signs that it could happen. Marko Arnautovic offers presence from the left, while only two players in the league scored more headed goals than right-wing option Antonio. With those two in support and Lanzini in behind, Hernandez could feed off them.

Even so, he still faces a difficult test. Fellow poacher and another ex-Manchester United and Madrid man Michael Owen, a one-time team-mate of Hernandez's at Old Trafford, certainly did not relish the experience of dropping down to play for mid-table Stoke City at the age of 32. Chasing defenders on the halfway line is not where penalty-box experts like to be.

But there is reason to expect Hernandez to approach the challenge with rather more gusto. If the body is willing then expect the mind to be too. His attitude has always been good and West Ham are not only getting a quality goalscorer but a player now accustomed to defending from the front under Roger Schmidt and his well-regarded pressing game.

"He is a very important player for us because he scores goals," said the former Leverkusen boss. "Not only that, he also works hard for the team." That echoes the view of ex-Manchester United team-mate and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville. "He just seems to have a single-mindedness in front of goal, but also that unselfish work ethic." said Neville.

One suspects that will do for West Ham and their supporters. Forget the talk of resale value. This is a team in need of a quality forward now. One that was even linked with 34-year-old Jermain Defoe earlier in the summer. They have done rather better than that. Expect Javier Hernandez and his goals to make a big difference for West Ham this coming season.

West Ham described as 'undesirable' destination, despite Bilic's side having deal nearly agreed
By Tom Coast - 21st July 2017

It's becoming clearer and clearer that Baldé Keita isn't interested in a move to West Ham, despite reports the two clubs have all but agreed a deal to send the Senegalese forward to London Stadium. Reports emerged a few days back stating the Hammers were prepared to pay upwards of €25m for the 22-year-old, who had a very good season with Lazio, looking to impress clubs in order to get a move to a bigger club this summer. However, the unfortunate reality for foreign clubs was that Keita seems determined to stay in Italy for now, and has his eye on a dream move to Juventus. The Serie A champions are still circling around, but it's Inter who seem to be the favourites, described on Friday by Il Tempo as Keita's 'number one alternative'. Claims from a few days ago suggested Lazio feared Keita would reject West Ham's money, as he had already turned down Everton, and those fears appear to be close to becoming a reality, as Il Tempo say London Stadium is an 'undesirable' destination for the forward.
Il Messagero, however, have a different view on the whole thing, and claim there haven't really been any 'concrete' offers for Keita, which is kind of a big deal if he wants to leave. It seems that West Ham are being pushed to one side by the player for now, but, if things get really desperate, who knows? One thing is certain, he doesn't want to be at Lazio.

Arsenal EXCLUSIVE: Jack Wilshere open to joining boyhood club West Ham
JACK WILSHERE is understood to be open to a move to West Ham if they can agree a fee with Arsenal.
Daily Mail
By David Woods / Published 21st July 2017

Starsport revealed yesterday that the Gunners want £20m for the England midfielder, plus a buy-back clause. Arsene Wenger is understood to want 'top dollar' for Wilshere in view of the huge fees Arsenal are being quoted for potential signings this summer. England midfielder Wilshere, 25, supported the Hammers as a youngster and knows he would not need to move home if he switches north London for the east end. Wilshere has just one year left on his Gunners contract.
Meanwhile, West Ham have agreed a £13m deal with Bayer Leverkusen to sign striker Javier Hernandez. The former Manchester United hitman will arrive in London in the next few days to finalise personal terms and undergo a medical. Hernandez, 29, will become Slaven Bilic's third summer signing after full-back Pablo Zabaleta and England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who has joined on loan from Manchester City. Bilic has been desperate to sign a forward after injuries to Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho meant West Ham ended last season with on-loan Jonathan Calleri, who scored one deflected goal in 19 appearances, playing in attack.
Hernandez is a proven Premier League performer, having scored 59 goals during a four-year spell with United. The player, known as 'Chicharito', then moved to Real Madrid on loan in 2014 and a year later signed for Leverkusen, where he scored 28 Bundesliga goals in 54 appearances. Hernendez would be in line to make his debut against his former club at Old Trafford on August 13.

Javier Hernandez to West Ham: Striker harshly treated at Man Utd and is a bargain - Lomas
WEST HAM legend Steve Lomas says Javier Hernandez was harshly treated at Manchester United.
PUBLISHED: 16:17, Fri, Jul 21, 2017 | UPDATED: 16:28, Fri, Jul 21, 2017

The Hammers are set to sign the Mexican striker, 29, from Bayer Leverkusen in a £13million deal - two years after he left the Premier League. Lomas thinks the price is a bargain and he's expecting big things once the deal is done. He told bwin: "You can look at his goal-scoring record wherever he has played and £13m is a snip. "Even at international level, he's scored nearly 50 goals in less than 100 appearances so he definitely knows where the back of the net is. "He was harshly treated at Manchester United and Jose Mourinho has repeatedly said he wouldn't have let Hernandez leave the club. "Hernandez is only 29 and he knows the Premier League – for me, clubs have got to be signing these players. If West Ham got someone like Javier Hernandez, it would be a great, great signing." The imminent signing of Hernandez will take the burden off Andy Carroll, who struggled last season with injury. Lomas added: "When fit, there's no doubt that Andy Carroll is a great asset to West Ham, but unfortunately you can't rely on him to stay injury free. "I would still keep him around in hope the club can find a formula that will see him training regularly and playing 30 matches per season. When he's on the pitch, he's dangerous – his bicycle kick last season was astonishing. "What West Ham do need is more options because they lacked a plan B last season. I think that's why Slaven Bilic is targeting players with pace – the likes of Marko Arnautovic and Hernandez to boost his options."

Brazilian wonderkid considering Fenerbahce move, West Ham also interested
By Eren Sarigul - July 21, 20170
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Brazilian wonderkid Gabriel Barbosa is on the verge of a move to Fenerbahce. A source close the club has revealed to Turkish Football that Fenerbahce have struck a deal with Inter Milan to loan Barbosa for 12 months. Fenerbahce still however, need to agree personal terms with the former Santos striker. The striker nicknamed Gabigol, failed to break into Inter's first team following a big money move from Santos. Barbosa arrived at Inter too much fanfare after he helped Brazil to Olympic gold last Summer. The Sun meanwhile have linked West Ham United with a move for the 20-year-old. However, his lack of game time for Inter could prove to be a major barrier. The Hammers are concerned that Barbosa would not meet part of the work-permit criteria for the top flight's exceptions panel.
The Brazil international striker played just 9 Serie A games for Inter Milan last season. Barbosa has managed to score just one goal since his move to Europe from Brazil.

'He'll be our best player' - West Ham fans thank Everton for Nathan Holland after impressive display
The midfielder was in great form against Fulham on Thursday
Football London
13:47, 21 JUL 2017

West Ham fans have hailed Nathan Holland following his performance in yesterday's 2-1 friendly win over Fulham in Austria. Many of the club's supporters were talking about the likes of Reece Burke, Josh Cullen and Declan Rice before the pre-season trip, but it seems Holland is the one that has caught the eye. The midfielder was impressive in yesterday's win and he put the Hammers on their way to victory by teeing up Manuel Lanzini for the opening goal. Holland only joined the club from Everton in January but many fans have thanked Ronald Koeman's side for letting him move to the London Stadium. Although the 19-year-old may find it hard to force his way into the first team next season, many supporters believe he has a big future at the club following his performances on the club's pre-season tour. Here are what West Ham fans had to say about Holland's display in yesterday's friendly win.

dkt @DionneThurston
A Everton.... A big thank you for @NathanHolland45
10:04 AM - 21 Jul 2017

Harry @LethalMxnu
Nathan Holland will be our best player in 3-4 years his movement is incredible.
11:35 AM - 21 Jul 2017

West Ham News @WHUFC_News
Nathan Holland looks like a great young talent
9:21 AM - 21 Jul 2017

Sam Krueger ⚒ @SamKrueger_
Nathan holland has been really surprising this pre season definitely someone to keep an eye on this season
8:40 AM - 21 Jul 2017

West Ham Cumbria @cumbrianwestham
Replying to @NathanHolland45
Well done kid, looked good. Now time to learn more from the likes of lanzini 👌⚒⚒⚒
11:31 PM - 20 Jul 2017

Craig ⚒ Jackman @75_chicoIron
Nathan Holland looks the real deal #whufcfuture
10:07 PM - 20 Jul 2017

Dan @WestHamLad
Nathan Holland and Josh Cullen look good enough to be involved in the first team set-up this season.
6:53 PM - 20 Jul 2017

Taity. @RobertTaitWHU
Nathan Holland is so decent
6:51 PM - 20 Jul 2017

jj ⚒ @daddylanzini
Nathan Holland, Josh Cullen, and Reece Burke all deserves a chance this season ⚒⚒⚒
11:02 PM - 20 Jul 2017

Dan @WestHamLad
I really like the look of Nathan Holland.
6:26 PM - 20 Jul 2017

London Stadium owners to ignore interest from betting firms in search for naming rights deal
London Stadium formally begins search for naming rights buyer next month
West Ham are sponsored by Betway and the LLDC do not want to cause conflict
The LLDC want to cash in on a summer of showing off the home of West Ham
By Kieran Gill for MailOnline
PUBLISHED: 19:42 EDT, 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 19:42 EDT, 20 July 2017

The owners of the London Stadium are set to ignore interest from betting firms when they formally begin their search for a naming rights buyer at the start of the Premier League season. West Ham are already sponsored by Betway and the London Legacy Development Corporation do not want to cause conflict by getting into bed with a rival bookmaker. It also follows the lead of the Football Association, who terminated their £4million-a-year contract with Ladbrokes amid controversy over the amount of gambling advertising in the game. The LLDC are aiming to cash in on their summer of showcasing West Ham's home through concerts and the athletics stage. After seeing a six-year agreement with Vodafone fall through, they are planning to renew their bid for a naming rights partner once Premier League football is back.
Sportsmail can confirm there are rules in place that restrict weapons or tobacco manufacturers from representing the London Stadium. While there is nothing formally stopping them from doing a deal with a gambling firm, the LLDC are conscious that tenants West Ham are already associated with a betting company.
It remains to be seen who will be in the running for naming rights. Samsung have been rumoured and they declined to comment when contacted.

Indian conglomerate Mahindra, who were in talks with the LLDC last year, did not respond after being contacted by Sportsmail. Heineken were also linked but are not interested. This summer has seen the 66,000-capacity London Stadium host concerts and the World Para Athletics Championships, which conclude this Sunday.
The World Athletics Championships are still to come between August 4 and 13.

West Ham have the chance to make millions from any deal. While the LLDC take the first £4m a year, the Hammers will then receive 50 per cent of the rest of the naming rights proceeds. If sold for £6m a year, the club would receive an annual £1m windfall. 'The London Stadium is being showcased to a huge global audience this summer, through concerts, the World Para Athletics Championships and the upcoming World Athletics Championships,' an LLDC spokesperson said.
'This builds on the global impact that our first season of Premier League football has generated. 'As a result we are talking to a range of new contacts on the back of these events and will formally renew our bid for a naming rights partner once the Premier League season gets back underway.'


Marko Arnautovic is set to undergo a medical on Friday ahead of his move to West Ham from Stoke. According to Sky Sports journalist Kaveh Solhekol, Arnautovic will sign a five-year deal on Friday. He will also become the club's highest earner – for the time being. The Austrian winger has handed in a transfer request to Stoke and now looks set to finally seal the move he has craved this summer. This is despite recently signing a new contract with Stoke. His deal still has three years left to run but he is now set to sign for West Ham. West Ham are also on the lookout for a striker, with the club announcing on Thursday that they have agreed a deal to sign Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen.

Date: 20th July 2017 at 10:15pm
Written by: Forever Westham

Reports from Italy (via 90minutes) suggest that Lazio star Keita Balde Diao is set to join West Ham after the club agreed a club record fee with the Serie A side for his signature. While the Senegal international is now is his fourth season with Lazio, Balde Diao announced himself on the world last season following a terrific individual campaign for The Eagles as he scored 16 times in 32 appearances. His form has attracted attention from a number of Europe's top clubs including Juventus and Inter Milan, as well as West Ham who are looking to strengthen their attacking line after a disappointing previous season. Should the Hammers sign the Senegalese star, he would be one of a number of big names set to complete a move to the London Stadium, with both Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic also set to become West Ham players in the next few days. At only 22, Balde Diao has plenty of good years ahead of him, and we at Forever West Ham think signing the pacy winger is a no brainer, but do you think West Ham should break their transfer record for the Lazio star?

Nathan Holland showed on tour the latest crop of West Ham youngsters really could be special
The former Everton youngster was very impressive throughout the two games he had in Austria
Football London
21:45, 20 JUL 2017

West Ham saw off Fulham 2-1 in their final pre-season friendly of the Austria trip on Thursday evening as the Hammers players head for home following tn days of gruelling training and a couple of matches. The 0-0 draw with Sturm Graz II on Monday was turgid and while the second half of Thursday's game was distinctly average, the first half wasn't as West Ham took a 2-0 lead into the break. Manuel Lanzini and Ashley Fletcher gave the Hammers the lead before a late Ryan Sessegnon consolation goal made the final score 2-1. It's often hard to find things to look at post-match following friendly games but what did we learn from the win in Graz and the draw on Monday? A lot of attention was focused on Reece Burke and Josh Cullen in the build up to the training camp as they are the West Ham youngsters who have been at the club for a while now and done their loan stints away. Both are now expected to step up to the first team sooner rather than later - but understand they will likely both be loaned out again this season - so the next crop of youngsters are getting a go. Declan Rice did well, Moses Makasi struggled but the one who stood out was 19-year-old Nathan Holland, who was excellent across the combined 90 minutes he got. He's got a lot to learn and a long way to go but the raw talent is there for the former Everton youngster and hopes for him are high. Playing the 18-year-old Spaniard as a lone striker in his two sets of 45 minutes over the past five days was not a good decision by Slaven Bilic. He won't have learned anything from it and you feel sorry for Martinez. Watching the teenager at Oxford during his loan spell, Martinez played better with two up front or at least a striker to play off, he had none of that against Graz or Fulham. Martinez hardly touched the ball during the two games and hopefully he will get another crack when the Hammers are in Germany, maybe he could pay alongside the incoming Javier Hernandez? Despite it being pre-season friendlies and only getting 45 minutes a game, the Argentine was simply sensational and a cut above everyone else on the pitch at the same time he was . He is so crucial to West Ham now they simply cannot even fathom not giving him a pay rise and a long-term contract. Alongside Pedro Obiang, they are arguably the two most important players in the West ham team now and one of them as a new contract until 2022. It's not Lanzini and that needs to be sorted. Slight concerns over Andre Ayew and Robert Snodgrass The West Ham record signing in Ayew struggled over the two games, wasting three presentable chances in the first half against Graz and then barely figuring in the second 45 against Fulham.
It must be a concern for not only Bilic but also Ayew himself, who may well have a Marko Arnautovic-shaped problem to deal with in the race for a first team spot.
Snodgrass was poor in the first game and barely figured in the second game but it's harsh to single him out as the whole team were not at it in the second half against Fulham. Snidgrass knows he is in the firing line and needs a good Germany trip.

Job done

Bilic and his players will head back to east London no doubt satisfied with their ten days worth of work in Bad Waltersdorf but also slightly annoyed. Cheikhou Kouyate picked up a freak injury which could keep him out for the first month of the season and one of his potential replacements, Edimilson Fernandes, didn't play in the second friendly. The manager was aggy that his players weren't scoring enough in training and they responded by scoring twice against the Cottagers but sterner tests will come. There is still a tendency for Bilic;s side to be ponderous with the ball and not get it forward quickly enough- without Michail Antonio, admittedly it'll be hard - so there are still some concerns. But it was a training camp and the fitness levels looked good so Bilic will no doubt head back to the capital a happy camper

'Chicharito' Hernandez can succeed at West Ham where other Mexicans failed
8:49 PM BST
Tom Marshall

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez will continue his European journey as the standard bearer of Mexican football at West Ham United next season. Mexico fans will remember El Tri internationals Pablo Barrera and Guillermo Franco failing to light up the London club, but Hernandez is coming in with the necessary tools to succeed.

West Ham get a striker in the prime of his career at 29 years old and with ample experience behind him. Whereas Barrera and Franco came into the Premier League having never played in England, the bilingual Hernandez already established himself at Manchester United and is fully aware of what he's getting himself into, both on and off the pitch.

The fact Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has lauded the Mexican striker on multiple occasions in recent months tells you how he is valued at his former club and he's likely to get a good reception on the season opener as West Ham travel to Old Trafford on Aug. 13.

Give Mexico's all-time top scorer Hernandez chances and he'll produce goals. His record of a goal every 142 minutes in the Premier League with Manchester United, one every 132 minutes in La Liga for Real Madrid and every 148 minutes for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga tell you about his goal-scoring consistency.

It's easy to see Hernandez's appeal for West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, with not one West Ham player scoring reaching the 10-goal mark last season and winger Michail Antonio top scorer with nine.

But the player himself repeats consistently that his goals are of secondary importance compared to results. And Hernandez probably doesn't get enough praise for the improvement in his all-round game since he left England.

When Hernandez signed for Manchester United, his movement and work rate was a sensation in the Premier League, but stints at Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen have turned him into a more rounded player. The Guadalajara native is never going to be as good as West Ham strike partner/rival Andy Carroll at holding the ball up, but his ability to keep things simple, win free kicks in the final third of the pitch and contribute to the team is underrated.

Most importantly, Hernandez will be given the chance to make the starting spot his own at West Ham. Bilic tended to use a 3-4-2-1 formation last season and, with Carroll's injury woes, Hernandez can be confident of lining up on Aug. 13 at his former club Manchester United as the focal point of the attack.

Some will say that going from Bayer Leverkusen to West Ham is a lateral move for Hernandez, but as strong as the Bundesliga is right now, the Premier League overshadows it significantly on a global level and you can bet Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio will be delighted that once again there is a Mexican international in England.

The prospect of Hernandez joining MLS would've scared Osorio. Hernandez will have a season at the top level ahead of next summer's World Cup. MLS wouldn't have stopped Hernandez from receiving call-ups -- as Giovani dos Santos' situation highlights -- but it would've sent a message to other Mexican players. By moving to West Ham, Hernandez is telling the rest of Mexican football that he still wants to compete at the top, rather than take a step down and join MLS.

"You are an enormous example to all of us," wrote Mexico teammate Miguel Layun on Twitter. "You'll do incredibly."

The downside with West Ham is that, like Leverkusen, the Hammers won't be involved in European competition next season and are unlikely to qualify for the Champions League in the near future, given the strength of the top six in England at present.

Still, West Ham had the third-highest average attendance in the Premier League - nearly 57,000 -- last season, behind only Manchester United and Arsenal, and the club looks set to at least challenge in the top half next season after an 11th place finish last time out.

While West Ham hasn't been kind to Mexicans previously, Hernandez is well set to change that and become a Hammers fan favorite.


According to Jornal De Noticias, via Sport Witness, West Ham are interested in River Plate midfielder Gonzalo Martinez. The report claims that the Hammers hold an interest in Martinez and could potentially make a move this summer. This is despite the player closing in on a move to Portuguese side Sporting CP. Sporting have agreed a €14m fee with River Plate for Martinez, which would make him their record signing, but they are wary of West Ham's interest. It is claimed, however, that Sporting will have to offload one of their current players to fund the signing. Although they have agreed the €14m fee, an official bid has not been lodged. This gives West Ham the chance to swoop in and make an offer. The allure of the Premier League could prompt Martinez to choose West Ham over Sporting. West Ham announced on Thursday that they have agreed a deal to sign Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen.


Middlesbrough have announced that they have agreed a deal to sign West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph. Randolph is now set to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical on Saturday ahead of his official move to Teeside. The shot-stopper has been capped 21 times by his country – the Republic of Ireland.
The 30-year-old made 22 Premier League appearances last season as he competed with Adrian for the number one jersey. West Ham completed the signing Joe Hart from West Ham earlier this week, opening the door for Randolph's exit. There is no mention of a price, with the assumption that it will be undisclosed.
An official confirmation of his move is expected to come over the weekend after he completes his medical and puts pen to paper on his deal with Middlesbrough.

Chicharito Gives West Ham Both A Striker And A New Fanbase
Lauren Theisen
Today 2:44pmFiled to: CHICHARITO

Javier Hernández is abnormally famous for a man of his talents. He's undoubtedly a very skilled and capable striker, especially in the latest period of his career, but Chicharito also benefits from an extraordinary fanbase in North America, one that's unshared by any of his peers. He is by far the most visible Mexico international playing today, and if you watch a Spanish-language soccer broadcast in the U.S., you're almost more likely than not to see Hernández during the commercial breaks.

Last season in the Bundesliga, Hernández notched 11 goals, good for 10th place on the goal-scoring leaderboard. He was arguably the most valuable player on his Bayer Leverkusen squad, but if you look at his domestic league peers, the name Chicharito is much more likely to ring a bell than Andrej Kramarić, Anthony Modeste, or Vedad IbiÅ¡ević.

When West Ham signed Hernández Thursday, they weren't just buying a 29-year-old goalscorer. They they were also buying new fans. Chicharito is the most famous soccer player in North America, and his presence could give a mid-tier Premier League team like West Ham an important boost in fandom.

Since their one season down in the Championship in 2011-12, West Ham have been a respectable yet unspectacular Premier League club. Their lineup essentially consists of the best players that the biggest clubs have no interest in, and even when the Hammers achieved a seventh-place finish in 2016, the club quickly found top player Dimitri Payet agitating for a new home.

West Ham do have ambition, though. They recently left their historic old grounds and spent their first season in the larger, renovated Olympic Stadium. They have a legitimate potential star in Manuel Lanzini, seem poised to get Stoke City's Marko Arnautović in a huge (by West Ham's standards) transfer, and poached solid EPL players like Robert Snodgrass and Joe Hart. The club is no title contender, but they are a Europa League hopeful who, with a few breaks, could at least consistently make it to that Everton tier.

But expansion isn't just bigger stadiums and higher finishes—it's also a global fanbase, and uniquely popular players from soccer-mad countries can be huge in promoting a team. Having Javier Hernández immediately puts West Ham on the radar of every El Tri supporter across Mexico and the U.S., and even if the Hammers don't become their favorite team, they'll certainly keep up with the exploits of their beloved Chicharito.

It's boring to take a player as dynamic and charismatic as Chicharito and treat him more like a marketing opportunity than a player, but West Ham didn't just buy him for his on-field talents. They can sell his jersey, put him on advertisements, and potentially get their name added to one of those lucrative preseason tours in America next summer. NBC will undoubtedly lead with him in every West Ham broadcast, and he'll immediately become one of the most visible and well-known Premier League players in North America, especially if he performs well.

That kind of analysis a bit cold, and it's important to make clear that Chicharito wouldn't be here if he weren't extremely talented. If he delivers on expectations, he (and Arnautović) will be an upgrade on West Ham's strikers purely from a sporting perspective. But Hernández will also be a gateway for West Ham to get the money and attention they need if they're going to eventually break into the next stratum of clubs. For a relative bargain of £16 million, West Ham just purchased a good new striker and millions of potential new fans.


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