Tuesday, July 25

Daily WHUFC News - 25th July 2017

Hammers regroup for German tour

West Ham United's first-team squad regrouped after a well-earned weekend off
before flying out to Germany on Monday morning. The Hammers will spend the
next ten days in the German State of Lower Saxony, where they will train
this week before contesting a Betway Cup double-header with local Bundesliga
side Werder Bremen at the weekend. Slaven Bilic's side will seek to continue
their unbeaten start to pre-season - the Hammers defeated Fulham and drew
with Sturm Graz II in Austria - when they face Die Werderaner in
Schneverdingen on Friday evening and Lohne on Saturday afternoon. A third
fixture is scheduled for Tuesday 1 August, when the Premier League side will
tackle Regionaliga Nord outfit Altona 93 at the Adolf-Jager-Kampfbahn
stadium in Germany's second-largest city.
Ticket details for all three matches can be found online here.
Alternatively, the games will be screened live on television in the UK by
Premier Sports.

West Ham will welcome two experienced internationals into the squad on
Monday, with new signing Marko Arnautovic linking up with the Hammers for
the first time after completing his Club-record move from Stoke City on
Saturday, while Jose Fonte returns after a post-FIFA Confederations Cup
break. Defender Winston Reid said the squad are looking forward to playing
their final four pre-season fixtures: "It's always an exciting time as the
season approaches, welcoming new guys to the squad and getting to know them.
"We've got Pablo, Joe and Marko in and, of course, we know them all very
well from playing against them in the Premier League. They are all top,
experienced players and they'll add a lot to the squad here. "We'll be
working hard on our fitness and sharpness in Germany with training and the
three matches, then it's the big one against Manchester City in Iceland,
where we all know football is really booming, so we can't wait for that

Joe Hart and Marko ArnautovicAfter flying from London's Stansted Airport to
Bremen Airport Hans Koschnick, the Hammers will board the team bus for the
35-mile ride to the district of Rotenburg, where they will be based during
their stay in Germany. Bilic and his staff will put the players through
their paces at the local Sportanlage In der Ahe, the home of local regional
league club Rotenburger SV. There, they will take part in single and double
training sessions on the pitch, while also working on their strength and
conditioning in the gymnasium. As was the case during West Ham's recent
visit to the Austrian town of Bad Waltersdorf, the camp will also enable the
squad to spend valuable time together, with team bonding exercises planned
and the players and staff eating all meals together as a group. Following
their ten-day stay in Germany, the players and staff will board a flight to
Reykjavik on Thursday 3 August for the Super Match clash with Manchester
City – the first all-English Premier League fixture to be played in Iceland.
The Hammers' final pre-season match will take place at the Laugardsvollur
national stadium on Friday 4 August at 2pm GMT (3pm UK time).

Ticket details for a mouth-watering game that should see Joe Hart and Pablo
Zabaleta face their former team can be found here.

Loan watch: Reece Oxford settling into life in Germany

Reece Oxford is wasting little time settling into life on loan with
Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach, already featuring in four
pre-season friendlies for the German outfit. Oxford started as Die Fohlen
took on Nice and Nurnberg in the last week and he feels he is getting up to
speed with the demands of a new league.
Stlll only 18, Oxford has already played 14 games for the Hammers and has
set his sights on plenty more as he looks to further his development with a
campaign in Germany. He explained: "The Bundesliga is probably the closest
league to the Premier League, intensity-wise, and the teams are as good as
those in the Premier League. "It's good to go out to Germany, experience the
different teams and the different ways to play. "I want the team to do well
and challenge for a Champions League spot, because last year they missed
out. Hopefully we can do that and win a trophy too!"

Borussia have history of Premier League youngsters shining on loan with
them, with Chelsea's Andreas Christiansen featuring in 61 Bundesliga
fixtures over the last two seasons prior to returning to Stamford Bridge.
Oxford is sure his spell in Germany can be just as productive. "Andreas
Christiansen did well," he added. "He was here for two years. I played
against him once and he's a very good player. "Now he's back at Chelsea, so
hopefully I can follow in his footsteps and help the team to progress. "It's
just such a great team. That's why I'm here, to fight for a good position in
the table and win trophies."

Ladies 2017/18 FA WPL Fixtures released

West Ham United Ladies will kick off their 2017/18 FA Women's Premier League
campaign with a trip to Gillingham LFC.

Following the release of the provisional fixture list at 5pm on Monday
evening, it was confirmed that the ladies will face the South-East club at K
Sports on the weekend of 20 August.

The encounter could see a debut for a number of West Ham's new Summer

Click here to see the full 2017/18 fixture list

The 2017/18 season will conclude with a home fixture against Lewes FC on
Sunday 13 May, while other notable dates in the calendar include a home
derby with Charlton Athletic on 20 September and a trip to Portsmouth on 21
January to kick-start 2018.

Hernandez arrives in England
Filed: Monday, 24th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Javier Hernandez has arrived in England ahead of putting pen to paper on a
permanent contract with West Ham. The 30-year-old forward has agreed to
return to the Premier League following two years in Germany with Bayer
Leverkusen and arrived at Heathrow shortly after 2pm this afternoon
(Monday). Once safely settled in, the Mexican international will undergo a
medical and put pen to paper on a three-year contract, before flying to
Germany in order to meet up with the rest of Slavan Bilic's squad. Hernandez
will become Slaven Bilic's fourth signing of pre-season, following the
arrival of Pablo Zabaleta (free transfer), Joe Hart (season-long loan) and
Marko Arnautovic (£20million)

West Ham - kingdom of the not quite
Filed: Monday, 24th July 2017
By: HeadHammerShark

Full Of Life (Happy Now)

There was a Twitter thread this week where people were asked to post the
most recent text message in their phone. Mine was "Always the same cycle"
which could very easily have been my long suffering wife once more sending
me instructions on how to use our washing machine, but was in fact my
comment to a friend on our transfer policy.

This is not my wife, but finding weird stock photos is fun

The cycle I refer to is the long standing one of buying players as emergency
surgery and then constantly needing to rebuild on the fly when these
temporary sticking plasters come off. To continue mixing metaphors like
cocktails, the adage is that teams need to be moving forward just to tread
water in the fast moving Premier League. For West Ham it feels like we need
to flail away frantically just to stop from drowning.

It is not, however, the de-rigeur thing to be negative about West Ham
transfers at present. Such a thing would render you a "moaner" which is a
rather widespread British phenomenon these days. See a half arsed plan and
comment that maybe it could be improved with some actual, er, planning and
one is sure to be rendered a whinger. You need to be a bit more patriotic,

A Wish Away

But the thing is, I get it. It's summer and those abject home defeats seem
like a distant memory. Now we're in the golden uplit sunlands of the close
season where the players are all tanned, we're unbeaten and if you aren't
optimistic now then you never will be. The beauty of summer belief is that
it remains unscathed by the sharp blade of reality, which for now remains
safely sheathed on Romelu Lukaku's hip.

And the names arriving are recognisable so there isn't a need to query if
they will hit the ground running, or take any time to adjust. Pablo
Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernandez and Joe Hart - how can they be
bad signings? I've had them all in my Fantasy League team! In the short term
I accept that it would be churlish to say that these signings won't make us
better. Indeed, Jose Mourinho says we're trying to win the league, although
he also thinks Ashley Young is a wing back so you can't have too much faith
in his judgements.

And I agree with the general optimism for the short term. Zabaleta is
possibly the best Premier League full back of the last five years and is an
upgrade over Michail Antonio who started the season for us there last time
around, before moving to a striking role because that's the level of
planning we were running with last year.

Marko Arnautovic, meanwhile, is so far above any of our other wingers he
might as well be on Peter Crouch's shoulders and as far as creative players
from mid table teams go, he is about the best there is since the departure
of our very own Dimitri Payet. He's also got rid of his man bun which is
good because Loughton ain't big enough for two of them, says Andy Carroll.

Joe Hart is the incumbent England goalkeeper and therefore must be pretty
good because Michael Ricketts is proof that nobody crap ever plays for the
national team, and it's also World Cup year so he'll be motivated to keep
his place. What comes after that isn't relevant, apparently.

And the last, and possibly best of the lot, is Javier Hernandez. The former
Manchester United man is famed for scoring wherever he goes, and having run
the gamut from Mido to Zaza with detours to Petric and Chamakh on the way,
West Ham fans are not wasting any time in going mental over this signing. I
can't blame any of them and in fact, I am delighted. I think this is a great
signing, in isolation. After all, I still have a hole in my garden fence
courtesy of the Modibo Maiga era.

So, what's the problem?


At least part of my issue is the seeming incoherence of the summer transfer
policy. Although the club have done a far better job of keeping a lid on
rumours this time around - someone presumably changed the WiFi password in
the Sullivan house - much of their activity has still been documented in one
way or another. First it was Kelechi Iheanacho, then Olivier Giroud and
Andre Gray before Hernandez finally fit the mould.

But, what shape of mould is he fitting exactly? How on earth do you pivot
from Giroud to Hernandez without fundamentally changing the way you are
planning to play? These strikers aren't particularly like each other, and
would all require a different type of service. I'm not saying that
professional footballers aren't adaptable but was this ever considered?
Given the huge difference in players, I am struggling to see how they were
ever identified in the first place.

If rumours are to be believed, we got 95 per cent of the way through the
process of signing Iheanacho before Bilic pulled the plug. How is this
possible, I wonder. Was he not consulted before the negotiations? If he was,
why did he change his mind? I would have been far happier if the deal had
been vetoed on the grounds that the club weren't prepared to agree to a buy
back clause for the player which in effect would have made it a loan signing
anyway. But no, we had apparently agreed to that and it was Bilic who got
cold feet.

Embed from Getty Images

Shape up dickhead, or I'll send you to West Ham

This brings us back to the thorny issue of who exactly makes the decisions
at West Ham. Tony Henry gave a pretty interesting interview to the official
website, wherein he laid out a nice sounding process for identifying and
recruiting players. He talks about needing "two or three players, maximum"
which always seemed a bit optimistic given the gaping holes in the squad and
David Sullivan's predilection for buying in bulk, but there is lots of good
sense in what he says.

Quite how that translates to the Iheanacho situation is another matter
entirely. That's the difference between theory and practice, I suppose. As a
former soldier said to me recently, "no plan ever survives contact with the

But that seeming disconnect between planning and reality, or between the
manager and the recruitment team sums up neatly how I feel about West Ham
these days. We are the Kingdom of the Not-Quite, the Empire of the Nearly,
the Commonwealth of the Confused.

There is a plan if you dig deep enough, but it's never quite the right one.
The players are often nearly the right fit, but not quite, or they are
signed at just the wrong the stage of their career, and all playing in a
stadium that could have been brilliant but isn't quite. So close. Nearly.

We're like a Tim Burton film wrapped up as a football team. I sort of get
it, but Christ it's all a bit off kilter.

Don't Let Me Down, Gently

Take Joe Hart, a man who has yet to meet a tunnel he hasn't yelled at. David
Preece wrote a fascinating piece on Hart and his technical problems which I
would urge you to read. So much of the optimism about his signing is couched
in the terms of "If he can just get back his form from a few years ago",
which is a typical position for a supporter to take but also flies in the
face of reality.

Hart has been in decline for while and simply because he is 30 and at a
goalkeepers usual peak age doesn't actually mean that's the case for him. I
rather admire him for going to Torino and attempting to restart his career
in an environment where his "pashun" was somehow even less useful than it is
here. But the reality of his move is that he will be taking a spot where we
were already slightly above average. To the extent there is any upgrade at
all, it is minimal at best and when I asked Preece this very question his
response was "I don't think there is, to be honest. I quite like Adrian and
on the few occasions I have watched him, I have been impressed".


That said, if the club feel he's an upgrade then so be it. But now we hit
upon another touchy topic. He is signed for only one year on loan, with no
follow on agreed price as far as I'm aware. This means if he plays well he
will make the England squad and re-establish his transfer value. That's good
for Joe Hart, good for England and good for Man City. It's good for West Ham
too, but only if you assume that Adrian couldn't have done the same thing.

With Darren Randolph having been sold now, Adrian is formally installed as
the understudy. If Hart leaves at the end of this season we then have a
pissed off Adrian with one year left on his contract and no experienced back
up. So, then we will have to sign a new keeper next summer to get back
to...where we were at the start of this one.

I know most fans don't care about this - be more patriotic, that's next
level whinging mate given it's two years away - but this seems like an issue
to me.

To exacerbate all this, David Sullivan upset Adrian with a typically stupid
comment upon signing Hart that he was "...the best keeper I have ever worked
with". That our Chairman thinks he has worked with a player at all
highlights a big slug of the problem at West Ham. Chairmen pay players,
Directors of Football sign them and coaches and managers work with them.
Given that Sullivan occupies the first two of those roles it's safe to say
he doesn't understand either of them, but rather wishes he was the latter.

So to recap; we've signed a keeper who might not be any better than the guy
we have already, who is himself now pissed off about a comment made by a
Chairman that nobody wanted to hear from in the first place, with no
guarantee that we get to keep the new guy beyond next May anyway. Triffic'
as 'Arry would say.

This is not so much a problem kicked down the road, as a problem created
from nothing and sent on the first plane to Austria for Slaven Bilic to deal
with. It's nearly a good deal, but there is too much wrong with it to be
right. Welcome to the Kingdom of the Not-Quite, Joe.

In case you've missed it - I see this as a vanity signing for Sullivan and
nothing else. It's the footballing equivalent of a hair transplant for
middle aged men. Which is pretty ironic for the Head and Shoulders guy.

It's Yer Money I'm After Baby

And what of Pablo Zabaleta? 32 year old Pablo Zabaleta. He played in a World
Cup final in 2014, Pablo Zabaleta. That guy.

Well, he's experienced, expensive and old, I will grant you. He's also a
pretty good player. Even at his age he is an upgrade on the inconsistent Sam
Byram and may even help the former Leeds youngster develop, although I heard
much the same thing about Arvelo Arbeloa last season.

As with all these signings, I have no real objection in isolation. Except
they aren't being signed in isolation because that's not how it works. So
Zabaleta may very well line up on that opening Sunday at Old Trafford
alongside James Collins and Jose Fonte and we might be fielding the slowest
defence since George's turn as a lawyer in Blackadder Goes Forth.

You take Lukaku, I'll take Rashford

So as the rest of the league gets younger, we get older. As everyone else
gets faster, we get slower. As the world gets smarter, we get dumber.

To an extent, I feel David Sullivan's pain. He can't address the new,
organic problems of last season, because he first has to fix the mess of the
previous term. The lack of a right back has been an issue for ages, and
he'll rightly say this is a solution. But, and there is always a but, it's
about as temporary as it gets.

During the 2018/19 season we will now be paying Zabaleta (34), Fonte (35),
Snodgrass (31), Noble (32), Carroll (30), Reid (31), Ogbonna (31) and now
apparently Hernandez (31) and Arnautovic (30). That's a lot of your team who
are suddenly too old to go on an Club 18-30 holiday, and one shouldn't
ignore that Cresswell, Kouyate and Antonio will turn 29 that season too.

I can't help but feel that every single one of these signings makes perfect
sense on their own and no sense at all when placed together. It's really
quite remarkable.

I know that Premier League income is such that nobody really cares about it
any more - teams are spending £50m on Kyle Walker and nobody even had to be
kidnapped - but that's still a huge chunk of the wage bill taken up by
players who are on the wrong end of the ageing curve. These are players who
will be in or approaching decline and they are contracted to us, meaning
their wages will have to be paid irrespective of their performance. If
you're wondering why Mourinho is so impressed with our transfer policy, it's
because it's the same as his own. Buy for the now, spend without regard for
the future, and let someone else sweep up the pieces in a season or two.

Additionally, if you wonder why we seem to get such poor fees for players
when we sell them, you have your answer right here. When you put people on
long, expensive contracts they aren't generally keen to move. As such we
will get less than £15m combined for Nordtveit, Feghouli and Valencia - all
experienced internationals, and the former two having played in the
Champions League - while Swansea turn down £45m for set piece specialist
Gylfi Sigurdsson. Not that any of those three can compare with him, but more
to say that we seem to sell into a different market than we buy from because
we are constantly desperate to clear players from the wage bill.

So there it is. Our squad will increase in age next season. You say they
will be more experienced and full of leaders - I say they will be slower,
more expensive and unable to cover a pitch that was too big for a younger
team last season.

And by the end of the next campaign, our team will be pushing an average age
of 30.

The current average age of a Premier League squad is 27.

Give, Give, Give Me More, More, More

Well what would you do? A familiar refrain whenever I get out my soapbox and
start off down this particular track.

I always find this a slightly odd question. If a Formula One driver crashes
into a wall I'm pretty sure I'd be allowed to say "Oooh, that was a mistake"
without someone promptly asking what I would have done differently. Well, I
wouldn't have done anything differently because I'm a bit crap at hill
starts, I'm terrible with directions and I wouldn't be allowed within a mile
of a Formula One car.

But that's the thing with questioning West Ham's transfer policy before the
season. It's all very no way, pal. You just love to have a moan. Stop
talking us down mate, they wouldn't have come this far without a master

Well, for what little it's worth, my plan would be to change completely the
profile of players we buy. Players should only come when they will still
have a resale value at the end of their contract, which means anyone turning
30 during their time with us would be out of the picture. The only market
for these players currently is to sell them to us.

This could be costly, of course, because young players and especially
English ones, are valued like diamonds. But there are plenty of examples of
young players being bought in the last few years for affordable fees and
immediately making their teams stronger. Dele Alli, N'Golo Kante, Cedric
Soares, Idrissa Gueye and Joel Matip would all have walked into our side and
all were affordable and obtainable at the time of their moves. Manuel
Lanzini and Pedro Obiang are proof perfect that we can do it ourselves. All
the more frustrating that we therefore seem to have forgotten that you don't
need to spend £25m on Premier League-ready youngsters if you have a
sufficiently wide scouting and analytics net.

The problems start when you restrict yourself to players represented by
certain agents, and only wish to buy players with Premier League experience.
These seem like two of the most foolhardy things a smaller club could do and
yet that is West Ham's policy. It's fucking batshit crazy, but it's actually
the policy.

And this is the result of scouting via agents. An ageing side, with a
constant and expensive churn of players, with each transaction being very
profitable for the men in the middle. If you allow yourself to be led in a
reactionary way by agents and a Chairman living out his dream of playing at
being Alex Ferguson, then you ending up buying Robert Snodgrass in January
for £10m and replacing him in July with Marko Arnautovic for £28m. All hail
the Commonwealth of the Confused.

So, yes, I'm going to feel the same frisson of excitement as you when we
first see Hernandez lining up with Arnautovic, Lanzini and Antonio just
behind him while Hart and Zabaleta organise our defence properly. I worry
about that soft looking central midfield but for now, for the shortest of
short terms, that looks a decent side.

But this is a footballing sandcastle, not designed to last for long and
susceptible to the ravages of nature, and when the injuries come in the
winter I suspect we will all wish this squad was a bit younger.

Hot Love Now!

When fans say we need to invest in older players "now" in order to attract
better younger types in future, I confess to being perplexed. There has
never been a better time to take a chance on a different type of player than
now. The top six are impenetrable and Everton are spending literally
hundreds of millions to finish seventh. We remain adrift in that mid table
pack with nowhere really to go. Relegation seems a stretch - although we
needed some luck to avoid it last year, our odds never got much above 5 per
cent - and as promising as these new arrivals might be even the most
one-eyed loon doesn't think we're making the Champions League.

So why not model ourselves on the only team who have broached the top four
permanently in recent times? Swallow your bile - we need to copy Spurs. Buy
young players only, all in the mid to low range of the market and hire a
coach to develop them as a team. It's no coincidence that Spurs are the
youngest team in the league, and regularly run the furthest during their
games. This is modern football. It requires youth, athleticism and tactical
fluidity. Yet we appear to building for 2011 when everyone else is focused
on 2017.

I will not mock Richie Benaud

Why are we are modelling ourselves on Manchester United and Chelsea in
buying expensive players at the height of their value with no mind to what
the cost will be to have them on the wage bill in a few years time?

The great Australian polymath Richie Benaud once said of cricket captaincy
that it was "90 per cent luck and 10 per cent skill, but for goodness sake
don't try it without the 10%". It doesn't seem unreasonable to suggest that
a cogent football transfer policy for a club like Chelsea is 90 per cent
money and 10 per cent scouting, and yet we seem to be trying to do it
without either the 90 per cent or the 10 per cent. It's nearly a good plan,
I suppose. But not quite.

Welcome To The Cheap Seats

But, I hear you say, this squad is young. What of Quina, Martinez, Oxford,
Burke and Cullen? Start being more positive, you moaner - the kids will save

17 and our saviour
Yeah well, those kids play in an Academy that hasn't developed a first team
player in a decade, and as incomprehensible as it may seem that none of them
will make it, we also felt the same about Freddie Sears, Jordan Spence, Sam
Howes, Seb Lletget and Blair Turgott once upon a time. George Dobson was
highly thought of a season or two ago and he joined Sparta Rotterdam this
week. Nearly, but not quite.

Young players are great for dreaming on but it's a hard old game to break
into and we aren't very good at helping them do it. In fact, joining West
Ham seems to be so harmful for kids development that we're probably
nicknamed Thalidomide amongst parents up and down the land.

I thoroughly approve of the investment in younger players like this,
however, as it's cheap and a couple might pay off. But let's not kid
ourselves that these youngsters are breaking through anytime soon.

Thus we truck slowly toward Old Trafford and already Kouyate and Antonio
will miss the start of the season because someone is always injured. But
there is cause for optimism with the new signings in place and the horrors
of last year behind us. I understand the excitement among the fans, but I
can't help writing this article. I can't help saying that I think we're not
quite there. Nearly, but not quite.

And if you're wondering why it is that I'm concerning myself with what our
wage bill will look like in two years, or how exactly these new signings are
going to cope with the high press, or who is going to be in goal for us next
season or the average age of this years squad, well....it's because I'm not
sure anyone else at West Ham is.

I want to believe in this new dream, and maybe they will sign some
youngsters to shut me up before the window closes (although Keita Balde came
and went pretty quickly, didn't he?). But I can't help but look further down
the road and see trouble.

It's all decent, but it's temporary.

Nearly. Not quite.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the
author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be
attributed to, KUMB.com.

Javier Hernandez touches down at London Heathrow with West Ham ready to
complete £16m transfer
Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier Hernandez filmed walking through Heathrow
West Ham agreed a £16m deal with the Bundesliga club for Hernandez last week
The Mexican will undergo a medical and put pen-to-paper on personal terms
West Ham news: All the latest from the London Stadium
By Alex Martin For Mailonline
PUBLISHED: 10:03 EDT, 24 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:21 EDT, 24 July 2017

Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier Hernandez has arrived at Heathrow Airport in
London as he looks to put the finishing touches on a £16million move to West
The former Manchester United star was back on English soil on Monday morning
as he arrived to undergo a medical and put pen-to-paper on personal terms
with the East London club. Footage of Hernandez making his way through the
terminal with his entourage was released by Mexican broadcasters Univision
Deportes and provided tangible evidence that West Ham were close to
completing another transfer deal. Hernandez will be best known to English
football fans as the man who failed to fulfil his massive potential at Old
Trafford, but he will arrive at the London Stadium on the back of two
impressive seasons in the Bundesliga. The 29-year-old scored 26 goals across
all competitions in his debut campaign and followed it up with a respectable
12 in an injury-hit 2016-17. He will, however, have to prove he can cope
with the physicality of the Premier League all over again. He became
something of a cult hero among the Old Trafford faithful after building a
reputation as a super-sub under Sir Alex Ferguson, but was never able to
hold a firm place in the starting XI. In total, he scored 59 goals in 157
appearances for United. This time, he will have renowned hard man and
club-record signing Marko Arnautovic to help him deal with the bullies with
the Hammers completing a £24m deal for Stoke star late last week.
West Ham have backed Slaven Bilic in the transfer market this summer despite
a disappointing campaign at the former Olympic Stadium, in which relegation
appeared a genuine concern.

Use him or lose him? West Ham have easy decision to make regarding Domingos
Vincent Ralph

The West Ham United midfielder has been linked with a move but Slaven Bilic
must show more faith in him. According to a recent report from the Mirror,
West Ham United prospect Domingos Quina is a target for Paris Saint-Germain,
while earlier this month Sky Sports suggested that Arsenal were again
looking at the teenager after missing out on him when he first moved to the
Hammers. With a contract at the London Stadium until 2019, Quina is not
going to leave unless West Ham sanction a deal, at least in the short term,
but they need to either use him or risk losing him just exactly when he is
starting to fulfil his huge potential. Still only 17, the Portuguese
midfielder is widely regarded as one of the best players in West Ham's
academy and he made the match day squad on 13 occasions last season. That is
no mean feat for such a young player, yet Quina will be desperate to build
on his early outings in the Europa League qualifiers and, if his chances do
not come next season, any offers from the likes of PSG and Arsenal could
look increasingly enticing. West Ham have plenty of midfield options but
Quina does not need to become a first-team regular over night. He does
however deserve to start getting some minutes in the league and perhaps a
start or two in the cup competitions. If the teenager sees that he is
beginning to get opportunities at West Ham he is more likely to ignore the
advances of other clubs. However if he continues to be an unused substitute
at best, he may not be at the Hammers for much longer.

West Ham transfer news: Hammers are in talks for Raul Jimenez - Tancredi
WEST HAM are in talks to sign Benfica forward Raul Jimenez, according to
transfer guru Tancredi Palmeri.
PUBLISHED: 12:13, Mon, Jul 24, 2017 | UPDATED: 12:20, Mon, Jul 24, 2017

The Hammers will this week announce they have completed a deal for Javier
Hernandez - days after signing Marko Arnautovic. And it's now being claimed
that Hernandez' Mexico team-mate Jimenez, 26, may follow them to the London
Stadium in a potential club-record deal. Palmeri tweeted today: "West Ham
keep holding talks for Raul Jimenez." Jimenez became the most expensive
player in Portuguese football history - and the most expensive Mexican -
when Benfica bought the remaining 50 per cent of his rights last year. It
meant the player made a move for around £19.6million. But West Ham will have
to pay far more than that to lure him to England, if Portuguese reports are
to be believed. Portuguese newspaper Record claimed a £39m bid from Everton
was turned down earlier this summer. It is likely, therefore, that West Ham
would have to exceed that bid. The mooted sums are huge despite Jimenez
starting just six Premeira Liga games last season with another 13 apperances
coming as sub. He scored seven goals. Jimenez made his name playing for club
side America in the Mexican league.
He signed for Atletico Madrid in 2014 but flopped under Diego Simeone. There
he scored just one La Liga goal before moving to Benfica, and he's hardly
set the world alight there either. In fact, Jimenez has bagged just 17
league goals in the last three seasons.

West Ham close in on their fourth signing as Javier Hernandez arrives in
London for his medical
Evening Standard

West Ham are closing in on the signing of Javier Hernandez following the
Mexico striker's arrival in London for a medical. Hernandez has agreed
personal terms in principle while a fee of £16 million has been finalised
between West Ham and Bayer Leverkusen. Subject to the medical, the former
Manchester United star could become West Ham's fourth summer signing as
early as Tuesday, following Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart and Marko Arnautovic.
One of those new arrivals, Arnautovic, has said that it did not take long to
be convinced of joining the Hammers. "The manager gives me a good feeling
for the Club and for myself, that I can improve here. I didn't have to think
long to take this opportunity." Arnautovic told the club's official website.
"I spoke also to my family and everyone – everyone was happy that the
agreement was done with West Ham and now we can't wait to get started at
this club."

West Ham have also been linked with Senegal midfielder Badou N'Diaye but
free-spending Everton are also interested in signing the 26-year-old who
plays for Turkish club Osmanlispor.

Joe Hart is one of the best Premier League transfer deals so far, according
to ex-West Ham midfielder Lee Bowyer
By talkSPORT - @talkSPORT
Monday, July 24, 2017

Former West Ham midfielder Lee Bowyer believes the Joe Hart's arrival at the
London Stadium is one of the best deals in the league so far. The Manchester
City stopper joined the Hammers on loan for the season, after spending the
previous campaign playing in Italy for Torino. West Ham had problems in goal
last year, with both Adrian and Darren Randolph suffering from indifferent
form, and the England goalkeeper has been brought in to add presence and
organisational ability.
As a result Bowyer believes the addition of the two-time Premier League
goalkeeper is one of the best deals of the window so far. "Joe Hart is a
massive signing," the Charlton Athletic assistant manager told the Alan
Brazil Sports Breakfast. "I think he's probably one of the better signings
so far in the Premiership because to get a goalkeeper of his stature I think
that's what we lacked last season. "I think he's a great signing. "Obviously
Hernandez is your scorer, as your nine, but it just shows West Ham are going
to be playing football again next season."

West Ham open to Ashley Fletcher loan offers with four Championship clubs
interested - reports
The striker could be heading out on loan ahead of the new season
Football London
10:57, 24 JUL 2017

West Ham could allow Ashley Fletcher to go out on a season-long loan ahead
of the upcoming season, according to reports. The Daily Star claim that
Slaven Bilic is prepared to let the 21-year-old depart the London Stadium
temporarily as the club prepare to announce the arrival of Javier Hernandez.
Fletcher, who has been linked with a move to newly-promoted Huddersfield
Town, is believed to be attracting attention from Championship sides Leeds
United, Middlesbrough, Reading and Wolves. Leeds wanted the striker to
return to Yorkshire on loan back in January, while Middlesbrough could be
encouraged to go for Fletcher following Darren Randolph's permanent move to
the club on Saturday. Although Fletcher registered a goal and assist in
Thursday's 2-1 friendly win over Fulham, a loan move looks possible with
game time likely to be limited once again next campaign. The former
Manchester United man scored once last season in 20 appearances for the club
in all competitions.

A Stronger West Ham. But Are There More To Come?

Are things suddenly taking shape at West Ham and could there be more new
arrivals on the horizon?

What a difference a week makes as all of a sudden the mood has become far
more upbeat in the West Ham camp. The confirmed signing of Marko
Arnautovic, the anticipated arrival of Javier Hernandez , rumours of more
exciting recruits and a pre-season victory against Fulham has lifted spirits
to the point where talk of Europe is once again not purely limited to
Brexit. The increased optimism tempered only by a worrying injury to
Cheikhou Kouyate that threatens to keep him sidelined for the first month of
the season.

Assuming that the Hernandez deal goes through smoothly, and he is not
kidnapped at Heathrow by Daniel Levy, then many of us might have suspected
that the bulk of the summer business was now completed. After all the club
had been hinting at maybe two, three or, at a stretch four new signings as
the game changers required to contest the coming campaign. Despite this
speculation continues to throw up new West Ham bound names with several
players being regularly linked with a move to the London Stadium. Alleged
targets on the Hammer's radar include Keita Baldé Diao (Lazio), Raul Jimenez
(Benfica), Jota (Brentford) and Badou N'Diaye (Osmanlispor). It is
impossible to know whether any of the latest links have any substance but
with the new policy of 'keeping cards closer to their chests' there could be
a chance the Board may yet surprise us with a serving of ambition.

For me, strengthening central midfield and the centre of defence by the
injection of more pace remain priorities to produce a more competitive unit.
Further unless our new Head of Medical, Gary Lewin, has developed the most
miraculous of magic sponges for Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho then a second
striker option is also needed. A twin Mexican strike-force of Hernandez and
Jimenez, though, would surely put an end to any thoughts of future
pre-season tours to the USA.

The other persistent rumour is that of Jack Wilshere who seems to be nearing
the end of his time at Arsenal. Potentially a fit Wilshere would be a great
addition but there are, of course, serious concerns over his injury record
and troublesome ankles. Possibly some form of pay as you play deal would
make sense.

Going into the new season with better balance in the squad then raises the
question as to how these new riches will be deployed on the pitch. My
inclination is that with Pablo Zabaleta at right back the default will be
for a back four rather than back three with wing backs. Maybe that
assumption will be proved wrong but if not then it would require the wide
midfield players (two from Michail Antonio, Andre Ayew and Arnautovic) to
accept greater defensive responsibility. A reluctance to track back is one
of the criticisms, along with consistency, levelled at Arnautovic during his
time at Stoke. Similarly, it is not an obvious feature of Ayew's game and
the problematic trade-off between attacking flair and defensive cover is a
key challenge for the coaching staff.

The major pre-occupation of the summer has been, understandably, the search
for the elusive striker but last season was also notable for leaking goals.
The recruitment of Joe Hart and Zabaleta are positive upgrades but it was
the way that we defended as a team that is the wider problem, not just the
back-line personnel. Principally greater pace and discipline are required
in the centre of midfield; where Mark Noble lacks the pace and Kouyate lacks
the discipline to effectively support Pedro Obiang. West Ham have been
particularly vulnerable against the better footballing sides attacking
through the middle as witnessed in assorted capitulations last term.
Central defence during Winston Reid's periodic absences also remains a cause
for concern.

With Antonio and Arnautovic likely to be providing the width, the
play-making responsibilities in the central areas would seem to fall
squarely on the shoulders of Manuel Lanzini with the only backup coming from
Edmilson Fernandes. Possibly this is a position where Jota from Brentford
could provide more competition.

The transfer widow has also seen a steady flow of departures with Darren
Randolph the latest to leave while Sofiane Feghouli and Robert Snodgrass
should also be aware of the writing on the wall marked 'Exit' by now. All
of this has generated a tidy inflow of funds which can hopefully be quickly
re-invested to further strengthen the squad.

In the wider Premier League world there is certain to be a lot more money
changing hands over the coming weeks. To see Manchester City paying over
£120 million for three full backs shows just how insane the transfer market
has become and how fanciful the dream to become an established top four club
is. At least we can now feel that we have a shout in the top of the
mid-table mini league – and who knows there could even be a chance of a
welcome extended cup run..

Javier Hernandez ready to take his starting chance with West Ham
23 Jul, 2017
Stephan Uersfeld

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez is the all-time top scorer in Mexico's history
and third on the list of Mexican players to score in Europe (behind only
Hugo Sanchez and Carlos Vela). But as he prepares to join West Ham, his time
at Bayer Leverkusen has shown one thing: that he thrives when given a chance
to shine.

Hernandez never settled at Manchester United after spending five years at
the club having arrived from Guadalajara in 2010. And when Manchester United
coach Louis van Gaal and assistant Ryan Giggs exchanged a knowing glance
when the striker missed a second-half penalty in a 4-0 win against Club
Brugge in late August 2015, it was clear the Mexican's time at Old Trafford
was up.

Having only just returned to England after spending the previous season on
loan at Real Madrid (where he scored nine goals in 33 games), Manchester
United cut their losses and sold Hernandez to Leverkusen for around £7

After 103 matches and 37 goals -- with a league-high of 14 coming from the
bench -- his 44 appearances as a substitute had earned him a reputation as a
"super-sub" but given him little chance to cement his place in the XI.

But in Germany, for the first time in his European career, Chicharito was no
longer second-choice and became one of the key players in Bayer's attack
during a largely successful season that saw them finished third behind the
league's two powerhouses Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in 2015-16.

Mostly used as the left attacker in then-Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt's
hard-running 4-2-2-2 system, Hernandez, after a short period of adaptation,
started to clock up the goals: a total of 26 in 40 matches in all
competitions that season. Contrary to his time at United, Hernandez started
38 of them and over his two seasons he played the third-most games of all
Leverkusen players.

Though the goals did not come so easy in a difficult second term at the
Bay-Arena, he still managed a total of 39 goals in 76 matches. And, in
total, he had 87 shots on goal, more than any other Bayer player in those
two seasons, and nearly 45 percent of those shots made it past the keeper.

But his time at Leverkusen can't simply be qualified by the number of goals
he scored. The striker also boosted Leverkusen's profile in the United
States and Mexico, where the Bundesliga club became a household name, and
his selfless runs opened up plenty of space for his teammates.

Hernandez perfectly fitted into Roger Schmidt's idea of long-ball football.
He held the ball up between the lines, waited for the wingers to catch up,
distributed, and moved into the penalty box to find a position where he was
most effective. His one weakness remains tracking back and helping out when
his side need to recover the ball, but it's clear that he thrives when given
more games.

Yet, in his second season at the Bay-Arena amid the collapse of Roger
Schmidt's system, it became evident that Chicharito has not overcome a
certain weakness. While he works incredibly hard when his side's in
possession of the ball, tracking back and helping out his teammates trying
to recover the ball was until this day does not remain his biggest

The 29-year-old arrives back in the Premier League at the perfect time. He
still has some good years ahead of him, has the experience needed to success
in England and now has the confidence to showcase what he can as a starter.

West Ham came 11th in "goals scored" (47) in the Premier League last season,
15th in shots attempted (9.4 percent) and last in the ranking for shots on
target (26.9 percent), so they will certainly appreciate having a goal
scorer in their ranks.

Hernandez, for his part, will be seen to show Manchester United what they
missed when he lines up against his old side in the first match of the new
Premier League season on Aug. 13.

Information from ESPN Stats and Information was used in this report.

Leeds, Middlesbrough, Reading and Wolves want Ashley Fletcher: West Ham to
loan striker
WEST HAM ace Ashley Fletcher is attracting interest from four Championship
Daily Star
By Alex Harris / Published 24th July 2017

The Hammers are preparing to send the 21-year-old forward out on loan for
the season as a result of Javier Hernandez's imminent arrival at the London
Leeds, Middlesbrough, Reading and Wolves are all vying for his signature,
according to The Sun. Wolves are light in attack after selling Jon Dadi
Bodvarsson to Reading, who also have limited options up front. New Leeds
boss Thomas Christiansen is on the hunt for competition to Chris Wood while
Middlesbrough have already signed one player - Darren Randolph - from the
Hammers this summer. Fletcher joined West Ham last summer after his
Manchester United contract expired. But he managed just 20 appearances in
his maiden campaign, scoring just one goal. Despite his struggles last term,
a Hammers source told The Sun: "Ashley is well thought of at West Ham. "He's
going out to get some games." West Ham expect to complete the £16m signing
of Mexico international Hernandez tomorrow. He will jet to London for his
medical and is set to become the highest-paid player in the club's history.

Marko Arnautovic's move disappointing, leaves Stoke short
22 Jul, 2017
James Whittaker

Mark Hughes will start the season without one of his most prolific forwards,
having seen the Stoke hierarchy reluctantly agree to the club-record £20
million sale of want-away winger Marko Arnautovic to West Ham. It's a hammer
blow (no pun intended) to a manager who has found himself leaning heavily on
the maverick talent who cost him under £3m when he signed from Werder Bremen
in 2013. Sadly, in the end there was little he could do to change the mind
of a player who had firmly signalled his intention to leave with a transfer
request, having learned of the club rejecting an initial £15m bid from West
Ham for his services.

It is a move that has not gone down well among the Potteries faithful,
either, who are angry and disappointed at the way the player himself has
pushed for an exit. Just 12 months ago, when nearing the end of his contract
and having enjoyed his best season to date they were far more understanding
of him questioning his future.

He spent much of that summer waiting for potential suitors to make their
move but when push came to shove it was only Everton who showed serious
interest and while they were happy to meet his then release fee of £12.5m
they were unwilling to meet the player's own demands. The new season was
fast approaching and on learning how limited his options actually were a
contrite Arnautovic penned a new four-year deal with the Potters.

As recently as Nov. 2016 he was again asked about his future but was quick
to assure the fans of his loyalties by saying: "I'm always on the pitch with
the goal of giving my best and helping my team. I have only just extended my
contract so a transfer is not an issue for the time being. But the usual
rumours will probably still exist. "Of course, if Real or Barca would ask,
but the focus and concentration is 100 percent on Stoke City and my team

It therefore comes as somewhat of a surprise that what can only be described
as a sideways move to West Ham was enough to tempt him away; especially when
he had already turned down what would have been a step-up at Everton just a
year earlier to sign a long-term extension at Stoke.

He initially arrived in the Potteries an unwanted wild-child but soon found
a father figure in the shape of Hughes who saw beyond his bad-boy persona.
It was a relationship that benefitted both parties; the player got the
opportunity of a regular starting berth as a leading light in a good
mid-sized Premier League club and the manager reaped the benefits that
stability and continuity seemingly encouraged.

It wasn't an easy ride, though, and much of his early time on the pitch was
accompanied by moans from those in the stands who questioned his work rate
and temperament. His reluctance to track back having lost possession and his
petulant outbursts were enough to split the fans on his worth to the side
but they were parts of his game he would go on to markedly improve.

More recently his influence has been such that without him the side would
have almost certainly dropped out of the league. The form of others and some
questionable management saw the once-unreliable Arnautovic assume a crucial
and talismanic role over the last two seasons with his impact in terms of
goals and assists something that quite simply needs to be found elsewhere.
The question for the manager is whether that need can be met by anyone
within the current group?

Many have pointed to the exciting Ramadan Sobhi as a tailor-made replacement
but for all his undoubted promise it is not unfair to suggest that he would
struggle to make the kind of impact needed to cover the deficit left by the
Austrian. All eyes then switch to an already-under-pressure Hughes to work
the kind of magic he did by signing Arnautovic in the first place but he
will have his work cut out, much as he has in trying to replace another of
the mainstays he has lost in the past -- Steven N'Zonzi.

There's many parallels to be made between the two but in the end the
difference is that N'Zonzi left to further his career; taking a pay cut in
the process. Unfortunately, it's difficult to conclude anything other than
the exact opposite for Arnautovic who, when he rolls into town with his new
side on Dec. 16, will be left in no doubt whatsoever of his former fans'
feelings on the subject.

Jack Wilshere: Antalyaspor confirm approach for Arsenal ace… but West Ham
are first choice
ARSENAL have received an enquiry from Antalyaspor over Jack Wilshere - but
he is prioritising a move to West Ham.
PUBLISHED: 08:26, Mon, Jul 24, 2017 | UPDATED: 09:13, Mon, Jul 24, 2017
Daily Express

The Gunners are ready to offload the 25-year-old this summer and are open to
offers. West Ham, Swansea and Sampdoria have all been credited with interest
in the midfielder. Wilshere is currently recovering from a fractured leg
suffered in April at the end of his Bournemouth loan spell, and with less
than 12 months remaining on his Arsenal contract, a departure looks likely.
Reports have indicated Arsene Wenger values Wilshere at around £20million,
and the Gunners would prefer a sale over another loan. With the England
international available, Turkish side Antalyaspor have spoken with Arsenal
about a move. However, Wilshere's price-tag leaves them less optimistic of
being able to lure him across Europe. Antalyaspor president Ali Safak Ozturk
said: "We made an enquiry and are in talks but Arsenal want a lot for
Wilshere. "It will be a difficult move to pull off."
Sampdoria have already seen a £7.5m bid rejected by Arsenal this summer as
they hold out for a bigger fee. A switch across London to boyhood club West
Ham would be Wilshere's first choice, though. According to Football London,
joining Slaven Bilic's side is Wilshere's preferred option. However, the
Hammers will look to pursue a loan deal due to the player's injury record.
And it remains to be seen if West Ham will formalise their interest with a
bid, although Bilic is said to be an admirer.



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