Thursday, July 27

Daily WHUFC News - 27th July 2017

Jose Fonte: We're excited for the new season

Jose Fonte has endorsed namesake Jose Mourinho's observation that West Ham United should be excited for the upcoming Premier League season. Fonte and his Hammers teammates travel to Mourinho's Manchester United on the opening weekend of the 2017/18 campaign, fresh from the Red Devils manager claiming the east London side will be 'playing to win the Premier League' by bringing in four high-profile recruits. With Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez all signed up, the defender is sharing his compatriot's optimism. "Of course, when Mourinho says something like that it's always nice, but you have to always take it with a little bit of a pinch of salt," he observed. "But it's true we have done some good business in the market. "Credit to the Chairman, the manager and the sporting director, because they've done amazing in this transfer market and made four great signings. Mourinho is right when he says we've done good business because it's the truth. "We are excited for that first game against his team because Mourinho also has great players at his disposal and hopefully we'll get some points on the board."

The centre-back has spent the past three close-seasons in the colours of Portugal, first qualifying for and then winning UEFA Euro 2016, then finishing third at the FIFA Confederations Cup as recently as 2 July. While some players may have preferred a longer summer holiday, Fonte was only too happy to return to pre-season training with the squad in Germany after just three weeks off. "It was a busy summer," he told "We finished really late, on 2 July, so I had three good weeks off back in Portugal with my family, but now I'm excited to be back and for this new season. "It's vital to have a little break to clear my mind. For the last three years, I've not had longer than two or three weeks of rest and it does take its toll, so this summer I've had a few more days and I'm feeling good. "I'm feeling fresh and I want to show my true potential and my true value and hopefully the fans will be proud of me."

Fonte may have been forced to abandon plans for a long summer break but, having made his international breakthrough as recently as 2014, there is no chance of him turning down a Portugal call-up anytime soon. "I can't complain!" he smiled. "I only came into the national team at the age of 31, so I am happy with everything I am able to experience. "I have a few more years in front of me, but I arrived late, so everything I am able to experience, be it the Euros, the Confederations Cup or hopefully the World Cup next year, although I don't have much rest, it's a pleasure to be in there. "It's a learning experience going to these big competitions. You improve and you learn and I'm happy with that."

Now his international commitments are behind him, until they host the Faroe Islands in a World Cup qualifier on 31 August at least, Fonte's attention is now firmly focused on West Ham United. Having finished last season strongly and added four experienced and talented signings, the 33-year-old is in positive mood ahead of the big Premier League kick-off at Old Trafford on 13 August. "We ended up in a good way last season," he recalled. "We wanted to finish higher, obviously, but we finished eleventh and this is a new season and a new beginning and we're all excited and working hard on the training ground. "The fans are also excited by the new signings, so I was excited to get back to join the boys because I want to make sure that this year, together, we can accomplish something great."

Chicharito relishing prospect of Old Trafford debut

Javier Hernandez has admitted he is relishing the prospect of making his West Ham United debut against former club Manchester United on the opening weekend of the 2017/18 Premier League season. The Mexican striker spent five years at Old Trafford, scoring 59 goals in 157 appearances during his first four seasons before spending the final year on loan at Real Madrid, and is still fondly remembered by United fans thanks to his exploits in front of goal. However, Chicharito inisisted there will be no split loyalties when the Hammers travel north to face Jose Mourinho's men on Sunday 13 August. "Of course I will be very happy to go back there and play," he told West Ham TV. "Hopefully I can do as well in that stadium for West Ham as I did when I played for United. "And hopefully we can get the three points to make a great start to the season."

After completing his £16million move from Bayer Leverkusen on Monday, the 29-year-old will head back to Germany this week to meet up with his new team-mates at their training camp in Bremen. A return of 39 goals in just 76 games during his two years in the Bundesliga provided further proof of his goalscoring ability at the top level of European football and earned him huge popularity, but Hernandez admits the lure of returning to the Premier League proved irresistible when Slaven Bilic came calling this summer. "I am very excited," he said. "The last three years – the loan in Madrid and the two years with Leverkusen – were fantastic for me, and they helped me to improve a lot. "But before then I was in England for four years – it was my first chapter in my European career – and now to be back makes me very happy. "For me it is the most competitive in the world. There are no easy games, you can see that the top 10 can change a lot. The Premier League challenges you and that is why I am here – I want to improve. "I'm very desperate for the season to start now, and help the team to achieve their objectives next season."

Young Hammers edged out in Slovakia opener

A young and eager West Ham United U23 side kicked-off their two-match tour of Slovakia with a hard-fought 3-1 defeat at Super League club Spartak Trnava.

With six 16-year-olds in the starting XI, Terry Westley's team produced a spirited and eye-catching display against the five-times Slovak Cup winners.

Midfielder Joe Powell, the elder statesman in the team at 18 years and nine months, was West Ham's standout performer, creating chances and also scoring his side's goal with a fine finish.

"We had a very young team with six 16-year-olds starting, with many of the older boys having played in our win at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday and scheduled to play against FC ViOn Zlaté Moravce on Wednesday," Westley observed.

"Alongside Joe, Jeremy Ngakia gave a good account of himself at right-back, while all the younger players can be proud of what they put into the game.

"It was a very good exercise played in front of a good-size crowd and a real test for our players. We now look forward to the second game of our visit to Slovakia, when we will field a more senior starting line-up."

West Ham are staying in Trnava during their week-long stay, with the Hammers and Spartak players and coaches spending time training with one another in selected sessions. This exchange of expertise has also seen coaches from each club spend time with their respective counterparts in recent months.

The Hammers will continue their two-match, week-long tour with a fixture at FC ViOn Zlaté Moravce on Wednesday evening, kicking-off at 6.30pm local time. Admission at ┼átadión FC ViOn Zlaté Moravce.

Hammers on Tour: Rain doesn't dampen spirits in Germany

West Ham United's hosts for the majority of their stay in Germany are amateur club TuS Bothel 1920, whose three-pitch facility is situated just a short bus ride from the team hotel in nearby Rotenburg.

"Our club is 100 years old in 2020, and you can be sure that when we celebrate our centenary this moment will be remembered as one of the biggest in our history!" one TuS Bothel official proudly told us.

On Tuesday evening, Bothel held their own training session straight after the Hammers had completed a two-hour session, so it made perfect sense for the two squads to come together for a historic joint team photo.

Our hosts suggested we should 'Say cheese! Or spaghetti! Or whatever you say in England!', resulting in plenty of smiles from both sets of players, along with a witty refrain of 'Say we're soaking wet!' from James Collins.

Home of the Soca Warriors

According to the official website of West Ham United's team hotel in the town of Rotenburg, its guests will 'experience days filled with joy and relaxation, a world full of culinary pleasures, enchanting scents and a fabulous castle'.

For former Hammer Shaka Hislop, it would conjure memories of Trinidad & Tobago's appearance at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which was hosted by Germany.

The Soca Warriors qualified for their first finals eleven years ago by defeating Bahrain 2-1 in a play-off, before starting their Group B challenge by holding Sweden to a goalless draw in Dortmund – with Hislop being drafted in moments before kick-off after regular No1 Kelvin Jack was injured in the warm-up.

Hislop and his teammates returned to Rotenburg in the early hours of the morning as heroes, as they did following 2-0 defeats by England and Paraguay – leaving a lasting impression on the West Ham shot-stopper.

"It was a special, special time for Trinidad & Tobago," he recalled fondly. "We had to leave Rotenburg to play our three group-stage matches, but every time we returned afterwards the whole town was out in the streets to welcome us at two o'clock in the morning."

Aaron's 'handbag'

One essential piece of kit for every professional footballer is the ubiquitous washbag, which they will inevitably be holding every time they step off the coach for a Premier League fixture.

Aware that his accessory will be caught on camera many times this season, Aaron Cresswell went shopping in London and came back with a rather fetching faux-leather version, pictured above.

"Have you seen Cressy's new washbag?" asked one player, who shall remain anonymous. "He carries it around everywhere. It's got a handle and is the size of a handbag!"

The 2015 Hammer of the Year himself is unrepentant, describing his new washbag as 'well smart'.

A fruity welcome

Staff at West Ham United's team hotel have pulled out all the stops for the squad since their arrival on Monday, but nothing they will do throughout our two weeks in Rotenburg will outdo the fruity welcome awaiting them in the restaurant!

There, dotted around a large bowl of fruit were large, juicy apples emblazoned with the Hammers crest and the message #WelcomeHAMMERS.

It seemed such a shame to ruin the work – the design was etched onto the apple using a mini laser – that nobody was actually willing to taste any of the eye-catching produce.

Wet weather challenge

The relentless rain which has fallen on Rotenburg since West Ham United's arrival has presented an extra challenge for kit manager James 'Jamo' Saban and his assistant Andy 'Megabus' Tyson.

The wet weather not only means every piece of kit needs to be thoroughly washed after each training session, but that each player and member of the backroom team requests extra jackets and jumpers to keep them (semi) dry.

On both Monday and Tuesday afternoons, the group got through more than 300 pieces of the smart new 2017/18 Umbro trainingwear and accessories – rain jackets, jumpers, shirts, shorts, socks, underpants, bibs, boots, trainers, flip flops and a woolly hat for manager Slaven Bilic – all of which needs to be washed and dried for the following day.

"When it rains, the boys always ask for rain jackets and jumpers to keep them as dry as possible, but the funny thing is that after they've done a lap or two of the warm-up, they normally take them straight off!" laughed Jamo.

Everton linked with Collins
Filed: Wednesday, 26th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

A tabloid newspaper is linking free spending Everton with a move for veteran West Ham defender James Collins. According to Mike McGrath, writing for The Sun, Everton boss Ronald Koeman is keen to lure the 33-year-old Welsh international, whose contract expires next summer, to Merseyside before the start of the new season. And according to the story, the Toffees are prepared to pay up to £2million to land the popular central defender, who has spent two spells at West Ham and recently indicated that he would like to end his playing career at the club. The defender was close to leaving West Ham two year ago, shortly after Slaven Bilic had been introduced as the replacement for Sam Allardyce. At the time, Collins claimed that he was being forced out of the club against his will. However a u-turn by the new manager saw Collins rewarded instead with a new two-year contract some four months later. According to the tabloid report, Crystal Palace and Stoke are also monitoring Collin's situation.

Fletch reviewing options
Filed: Wednesday, 26th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Ashley Fletcher is almost certain to leave West Ham on loan before next month's transfer deadline. And a string of clubs in the Premier League and Championship are keeping tabs on the former Manchester United striker, who signed for West Ham last summer but has barely featured since. Recently-promoted Huddersfield, Brighton and Watford have all been linked with a season-long loan move for the 21-year-old, who is yet to score a single goal for the first team - as have Leeds United, who are also said to be interested in Robert Snodgrass. The Hammers were ordered to pay Manchester United £1million for Fletcher by a tribunal last April, with a further £1million to follow should certain performance-related conditions be met. He made 20 appearances for West Ham last season; 16 in the Premier League, two in the EUropa League, one in the FA Cup and one in the EFL Cup.

Play it again, Sam
Filed: Wednesday, 26th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Former Hammer Sam Howes has joined Hampton & Richmond Borough on a season-long loan. The England youth international was given a free transfer by West Ham back in May and within a matter of weeks, had secured a contract with Watford. However he has returned to Hampton for a second spell, having spent the latter half of last season at The Beveree. Hampton boss Alan Dowson was delighted to secure Howes' return for a second season. "I've been on tenterhooks for a couple of weeks now," he told "I'd told the chairman he was my No.1 target and I was confident of getting him, but it's been a tense few days. He will be brilliant for us, and I'm already convinced he's the best in the division." Howes, who has represented England at all levels from Under 16 to Under 19 will remain at Hampton until January, when he is scheduled to return to his new parent club.

Adrian set for Palace
Filed: Wednesday, 26th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United's former number one goalkeeper Adrian is close to joining Crystal Palace. The Spanish stopper is on the verge of becoming the FOURTH goalkeeper to leave West Ham this summer following the recent departures of Sam Howes (Watford), Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough) and Raphael Spiegel (Boavista). And whilst reports in the national media have suggested a fee in the region of £3million has been agreed, KUMB understands that it is in fact considerably higher. Palace are in the marker for a new 'keeper having lost Steve Mandanda to Marseille back in June - although they still retian the services of Wayne Hennessey and veteran Julián Speroni. Adrian has been linked with a move away from West Ham since being dropped by Slaven Bilic following some erratic performances at the tail end of last year. The club recently exercised an option to extend his contract, which had been due to expire this summer.

Joe Hart exclusive: England goalkeeper says West Ham are aiming high this season
By Nick Lustig and Paul Gilmour
Last Updated: 26/07/17 4:47pm

Joe Hart believes West Ham are capable of at least a top-eight finish this season after a busy summer in the transfer market. The England goalkeeper completed his season-long loan move to the Hammers last week and has since been joined at the club by Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez. Hart, who has also linked up with former City team-mate Pablo Zabaleta, feels his new side must repay the faith shown by co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan. "Our intention is to be inside the top eight in the Premier League and even higher than that," Hart exclusively told Sky Sports reporter Paul Gilmour. "The chairmen have backed the team with the money that they've spent and we have to aim high. "Realistically, winning the league is going to be extremely tough, but we're going to aim for the highest we can do and compete at every level. "We've got an interesting start to the season, away at Manchester United, and that will be a good test for us."
He added: "I can only speak for myself, I have still got a lot left in me. I love football and I just want to play. I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to try and play at West Ham. "I am going to train hard every day and push myself. I have obviously got all those experiences, I've got the titles and medals [at City], but I want more and if we can do that here, I am going to give it all that I've got."
Hernandez will join up with Hart and the rest of the West Ham squad at their pre-season training camp in Germany on Thursday and take part in his first training session on Friday. The Mexico international joined West Ham from Bayer Leverkusen earlier this week in a £16m deal and Hart is excited about the prospect of teaming up with the former United forward. "He's a finisher. Sir Alex Ferguson over the years was a genius at having players like that and using them at the right time in pursuit of winning titles," Hart said. "He probably felt he should have had more game time, but you have to balance that with some of the players that United have had over the years. "He went to Real Madrid and then Leverkusen, still scoring goals in the Champions League and still showing what a top player he is. "Now is his time to come back to the Premier League and show he should be a No 1 striker."

STE HOARE @Stehoare

Galatasaray have agreed a deal to sign Sofiane Feghouli from West Ham, according to reports in Turkey. The winger has apparently agreed to a deal from which he'll earn roughly £57,000 a week and he is expected to undergo a medical in the near future. West Ham are expected to get a fee of around £4.4million for the player they signed last summer as Slaven Bilic looks to revamp his squad after a rather disappointing season. Having already brought in Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez, Bilic is looking to make further additions but in order to do so, he needs to free up some space in his squad. Despite Feghouli impressing at times last year, it looks like the manager has decided to move on from the player and it will not be a huge shock to see the Hammers sign at least one more winger before the window closes.

Ashley Fletcher still at West Ham training camp despite rumours of £7m bid being accepted
The striker has been linked with a move away from the London Stadium
Football London
19:58, 26 JUL 2017

Ashley Fletcher is still at West Ham's training camp in Germany despite rumours that a £7million bid has been accepted for the striker from Middlesbrough. The Hammers are currently on a ten-day training camp in the small German town of Bothel as their pre-season preparations begin to ramp up with three weeks to go until the start of the campaign. Ashley Fletcher's future at West Ham has been uncertain all summer, with rumours rife that the striker could be loaned out - especially after the arrival of Javier Hernandez. But, multiple reports this evening have suggested that the striker could be on his way out of the club on a permanent basis, with Middlesbrough reportedly having a £7 million bid accepted.

Sam Inkersole ✔ @Sam_InkersoleTM
Re the Fletcher stuff - nothing being confirmed here in Germany but he is still here. He hasn't left the camp. #WHUFC
7:42 PM - 26 Jul 2017
1 1 Retweet 6 6 likes

However, can confirm that Fletcher has NOT left West Ham's training camp - so any possible move may not be as close as some have suggested.
The Hammers are still expected to be in Germany for another seven days, and it is not yet clear whether the striker will be released early from the club's pre-season plans. Fletcher made 20 appearances in all competitions for West Ham last season, scoring one goal.

Joe Hart exclusive: West Ham goalkeeper eager to keep England No 1 spot
By Nick Lustig and Paul Gilmour
Last Updated: 26/07/17 9:41pm

Joe Hart admits the desire to keep his place as England's No 1 motivated his move to West Ham. The England goalkeeper joined West Ham from Manchester City on a season-long loan last week and is currently away on the club's pre-season tour of Germany. Hart was deemed surplus to requirements by City manager Pep Guardiola last summer and spent the 2016-17 campaign on loan at Serie A side Torino. With the 2018 World Cup in Russia less than a year away, the 30-year-old was keen to ensure he was not left out in the cold with Jack Butland, Fraser Forster and Tom Heaton all pushing to dislodge him as England's No.1. "I've said before there's absolutely no chance I'd play for England without playing for a team," Hart exclusively told Sky Sports reporter Paul Gilmour. "To be playing for the national team you have to be playing, especially for a team as high quality as England. "That was part of the thought process, but it's a short career and I love football. I didn't really stand a chance of playing at my previous club, so there was no point hanging around. Joe Hart says West Ham are capable of at least a top-eight finish after a busy summer in the transfer market. "I want to play for a team that wants me, wants me to play and I want to give that back to them."
Hart, who has two years remaining on his contract at City, also revealed that he expects to go out on loan once again next summer. "My career is in a bit of a weird situation at the minute as far as permanent things go," he added. "It's a hard one to work out for me. I'd love to be permanent at a club, but that's not the case, I'll have to go out on loan again which isn't difficult for me because I give 100 per cent wherever I am. "I'm 150 per cent committed to West Ham - they're the only team for me. West Ham and the national team are the only teams I care about this season."

Hernandez's arrival & Holland's impact - the latest from West Ham's training camp
Our Hammers writer went on Facebook Live to give the latest updates from Germany
Footbal lLondon
21:45, 26 JUL 2017

Football.London is currently out in Germany with the West Ham squad as they continue with their ten-day training camp in the small German town of Bothel.
Day three for the Hammers - day two for us - saw the players separated for the majority of the morning session once again into defenders/defensive midfielders on one pitch and attackers on the other. The emphasis on Wednesday's session was more on attacking play, with the defenders joining in passing drills, shooting drills, and the wing backs such as Pablo Zabaleta, Arthur Masuaku and the others, perfecting their wing back play.

Joe Hart squad number revealed: New West Ham goalkeeper explains why he chose 'special' shirt
The new Hammers stopper has chosen a shirt number that means a lot to him
Football London
17:30, 26 JUL 2017

West Ham have confirmed that Joe Hart will be wearing the No. 25 shirt for the upcoming 2017/18 season. The goalkeeper has arrived on loan from Manchester City for the coming campaign and is set to battle Adrian for a spot in the first team as it stands. Hammers fans might be surprised that the England international hasn't taken up the vacant No. 1 shirt with his new club - which was recently vacated by Darren Randolph. But, Joe Hart has worn the No. 25 shirt at different clubs for almost half of his professional career so far - and has explained why the squad number is so special to him. Hart told the official West Ham website: "The No25 shirt will always be special to me as I wore it on my Premier League debut for Manchester City in 2006, when I got into the Team of the Season with Birmingham in 2010 and when we won the title at City in 2012!" "Having enjoyed so many fantastic moments with that number on my back, I thought why not go back to 25 and see what happens! "I've asked the kit man to design me some special short-sleeved shirts which I like, too, which he has had made, so I'm really looking forward to pulling on my West Ham United jersey for the first time."

Werder Bremen vs West Ham: Betway Cup 2017 prediction, team news, line-ups, start time, live, TV
Hammers face pre-season double-header in Germany
Evening Standard

West Ham continue their preparations for the 2017-18 season in a two-legged Betway Cup encounter against Werder Bremen in Germany this weekend.
The Hammers face the Bundesliga club on Friday and Saturday in back-to-back matches as Slaven Bilic builds his squad's fitness for the coming campaign.
Bilic says the Betway Cup format has been designed to ensure "perfect preparation" for the season opener at Manchester United on August 13. West Ham fans will be optimistic this term given the club's recent transfer window business, with £16million Javier Hernandez joining Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Pablo Zabaleta - and lifting some pre-season silverware would be a welcome boost as the Hammers look to a brighter future. West Ham take on Werder Bremen at the Osterwald-Stadion at 17:30 on Friday. The second leg will take place at the Heinz-Dettmer-Stadion at 14:30 on Saturday.

TV and online live coverage

The matches will not be shown live on television in the UK, but Standard Sport will be bringing you news and reaction after the final whistle on Friday and Saturday.

Team news and line-ups

Summer signings Hart, Arnautovic and Zabaleta are all training with their new team-mates in Germany.

Former Bayer Leverkusen striker Hernandez is yet to join up with the squad, and is unlikely to start anyway given his Confederations Cup exploits with Mexico this summer.

Familiar faces are arriving at West Ham, but will their short-termism backfire?
The Guardian
Jacob Steinberg
Wednesday 26 July 2017 17.21 BST First published on Wednesday 26 July 2017 16.59 BST

West Ham United are feeling very pleased with themselves at the moment. Relieved, too. After making a spectacular show of themselves in the transfer market last summer, when they started out with hopes of luring Alexandre Lacazette to east London and ended up convincing themselves that Simone Zaza was the answer, this time they have been assertive. In the past fortnight alone they have signed England's No1 on loan, one of their rivals' finest talents and a striker who scored 59 goals in 156 games for Manchester United.

"A great window," David Gold tweeted after Javier Hernández's arrival on Monday – and for once supporters did not rush to complain about broken promises. Last year David Sullivan said that signing a top striker was his biggest priority, before the man who fancies himself as West Ham's director of football produced Zaza, Jonathan Calleri and Ashley Fletcher. This time he can show off Hernández, an established poacher with international pedigree. The Mexican will be serviced by Marko Arnautovic, whose wing wizardry should get bums on seats at the London Stadium after his arrival from Stoke City, and at the other end Joe Hart will prove Manchester City were wrong to ditch him.

It looks like an excellent plan on paper. Last summer West Ham conspired against themselves by buying in bulk, opting for cheap quantity over quality. Now they appear to have strengthened by signing proven Premier League performers. With fees growing ever more exorbitant, paying Bayer Leverkusen £16m for Hernández is regarded as canny business, while spending £24m on Arnautovic is simply the kind of thing that happens in 2017. In the context of Everton's willingness to offer £45m for Gylfi Sigurdsson, Arnautovic almost looks like a bargain.

Yet Stoke bought him for £2m four years ago. Now the Austrian is West Ham's record signing. André Ayew previously held that mantle. The Ghanaian had been at Swansea for a year before they made a £20m profit on him.

Amid the excitement, it is also possible to have misgivings about the profile of West Ham's recent signings. Arnautovic is 28, Hernández is 29 and Hart is 30. The window began with the arrival of the 32-year-old Pablo Zabaleta on a free from City, and an uncharitable way of framing this frenzy of activity is that West Ham are in danger of becoming a destination for players looking for their last big payday.

If there was one moment that encapsulated West Ham's mediocrity last season, it was the sight of their players during the 4-0 home defeat to Liverpool in May. A flowing Liverpool counterattack culminated with an insultingly simple goal for Philippe Coutinho. Slaven Bilic knew that something had to change.

Aside from the obvious gulf in class, what really troubled Bilic was how leaden his team were in comparison to Jürgen Klopp's flyers. While Liverpool boasted strength and speed, qualities that are indispensable in the modern era, West Ham looked ponderous, slow and old, and Bilic did not allow the absence of several key players to blind him to the fact that a lack of energy was a problem all season. It could not be right that Michail Antonio was his only pacy prominent attacker, which is why the manager spoke pointedly about wanting to inject more athleticism into his squad while discussing his summer plans in May.

When they signed the 33-year-old José Fonte and the 29-year-old Robert Snodgrass for a combined £18m in January, the outlay could be justified as retail therapy after Dimitri Payet's return to Marseille. Bilic's comments about the Premier League's physicality hinted at an awareness of the need for more athleticism. Then West Ham signed Zabaleta.

"We had a policy up to now to buy players for tomorrow, not today," Sullivan said this week. "We made a decision with the manager to buy players proven in the Premier League, who've been here before and who are of an age where they're not being bought for tomorrow – but today. Long term it's not a great strategy but short term it is. Hopefully we'll buy one or two more players, investments in the future, while at the same time doing what's best for the club."

West Ham were desperate for a right‑back and the Argentinian was one of the best in England for many years. He is a good professional and they loved him at City. But he has not been the same since a serious knee injury; Jesús Navas was above him in the pecking order by the end of last season.

There is a sense that West Ham are locked in a spiral of almost making the right decision with their money. They want to make it to the next level, but are unsure of the clearest route. Hart is a glamorous signing, a star name. At his best, he is an outstanding goalkeeper, yet his form has been worryingly indifferent for a while. He struggled at Torino last season and he might only be at West Ham for a year, at which point they will have to contend with an unhappy Adrián, who has paid a heavy price for a poor patch last autumn.

Hernández, meanwhile, is a lethal finisher who excelled in his first year at Leverkusen, but the former United forward had less joy in Germany last season, and it remains to be seen whether he possesses the physical attributes to lead the line every week for a mid-table Premier League side.

Perhaps the strategy of targeting established talent will enable West Ham to consolidate themselves as a top-half club before aiming higher. Yet it is worth pausing to consider that Snodgrass, signed as Payet's replacement six months ago, has been replaced by Arnautovic after half a season. That is the price of short-termism: it exposes the lack of a plan. Identity disappears. It is why West Ham have signed 33 strikers in the past seven years. Bilic wanted them to think and act faster, but they run the risk of always playing catch-up.

West Ham consider move for Montpellier's Ryad Boudebouz as Dimitri Payet replacement
Danny Owen

Ryad Boudebouz shone in Ligue 1 last season and has piqued the interest of West Ham United, as well as Everton, Newcastle United and Southampton. Dimitri Payet was headhunted by West Ham United in the summer of 2015 after a stellar season at Marseille, famously creating more chances than any other player in Europe's top leagues the previous season. And though the controversial nature of his exit in January somewhat tainted his cult hero status, it's fair to say Payet was one of the most inspired finds of recent Premier League seasons. Whether Ryad Boudebouz would make the same impact in claret and blue remains to be seen. L'Equipe reports that the Montpellier playmaker is the latest name on West Ham's radar after being granted permission to leave the Ligue 1 side. And a quick glance at the statistics will certainly get supporters hoping he could replicate the influence of the last Ligue 1 creator to make the journey across the channel to West Ham. Boudebouz scored 11 goals and set up nine more last season to virtually save Montpellier from relegation and starred in a 3-0 trouncing of reigning champions PSG in December. The 27-year-old, who has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs since bursting onto the scene with Sochaux as a teenager, enjoyed the most prolific season of his career last time out. He's a slow burner but it appears that, like Payet, he is finally starting to fulfil his potential in his mid-to-late 20s. The report adds that West Ham still need some convincing with Montpellier's £13.5 million asking price sewing a few doubts. However, with The Mirror reporting in May that Boudebouz was also being tracked by Everton, Newcastle United and Southampton, West Ham could benefit from making their move quickly. The Hammers have done excellent work this summer on paper, bringing in proven Premier League talent in Javier Hernandez, Marko Arnautovic, Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart. Boudebouz, however, could be the icing on the cake.

Darren Randolph: Joe Hart arrival prompted Middlesbrough switch

New Middlesbrough keeper Darren Randolph says the arrival of Joe Hart prompted him to leave West Ham for his World Cup ambitions. The Republic of Ireland international, 30, spoke with Hammers boss Slaven Bilic, who confirmed Hart would be first choice at London Stadium. Randolph joined Boro for £5m and is likely to be first-choice goalkeeper at the Championship club. "I wasn't going to hang around and warm the bench," Randolph told BBC Tees. "It's a World Cup year, the Republic of Ireland have a good position in the group and if I have any kind of dreams to play in the World Cup then I need to be playing games."

Randolph made 22 appearances at West Ham last season while sharing duties with Spanish goalkeeper Adrian, but made himself a prominent fixture in Martin O'Neill's plans for the Republic with nine international outings. "It wouldn't have happened so often if I stayed at West Ham as it was made clear, so I wasn't going to just sit on the bench and take up a place and possibly miss out on chance to playing at a World Cup," he added. "I had to do what that was best for me and that happens in football so I had to leave."

Exclusive: Behind the scenes at West Ham's pre-season preparations in Germany
We take a look at West Ham's pre-season training ahead of the new season
Football London
13:00, 26 JUL 2017UPDATED13:42, 26 JUL 2017

West Ham's third day of training in Germany distinctly ramped up a notch from yesterday as the players were put through their paces once more as they continue to prepare for the season ahead. continued our coverage of the club's pre-season tour as we attended the latest training session near Schneverdingen. Defence and attack was separated once again but on Wednesday morning, the defenders were tested on their passing and attacking drills and not on their defensive shape. Games of one-touch, two-touch and rondo were led by assistant boss Nikola Jurcevic, while Slaven Bilic took charge of some 7v7 games on the other pitch. Mexican journalists have descended on the camp hoping to get a glimpse of new signing Javier Hernandez today but his arrival has been delayed until Thursday. Bilic is clearly trying to install a much quick passing game in his players ahead of the new campaign and that in turn has led to some fiery challenges being thrown in. Angelo Ogbonna left the session early after complaining of a pain in his knee he injured last season, while Manuel Lanzini is not training after injuring his ankle yesterday. He is alongside Sofiane Feghouli in working in the gym on Wednesday.

JOSHUA HARDY @joshuahardy_

According to French news outlet Republicain Lorrain, West Ham are set to join Lyon, Leicester City and Stoke City in the race to sign former Chelsea youngster Thorgan Hazard from Borussia Monchengladbach. After selling Alexandre Lacazette to Arsenal, Lyon have cash to burn and are keen on bringing the former RC Lens standout back to French football, but they will have to fend off interest from the Premier League West Ham have been busy this window, bringing in Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart in from Manchester City, Marko Arnautovic from Stoke and Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen but Hazard could become the fifth addition this summer. Eden Hazard's younger brother Thorgan played 33 games for Gladbach last season, scoring 11 and assisting seven times in all competitions.
West Ham and Gladbach have already done business with each other this summer transfer window, with talented English youngster Reece Oxford joining the German side from West Ham on a season long loan.

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic shares request he's recently made of Karren Brady and David Sullivan
John Verrall

West Ham United have been training in Europe over pre-season so far. West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic has told the Daily Mirror that he is thankful to Karren Brady and David Sullivan for granting his wish this pre-season. West Ham have had their pre-season preparations hindered by match in European qualifying for the last two campaigns. However, the Hammers have had a free pre-season this time around. And Bilic wanted to keep his players on tour, to prepare them for the competitive action in the best manner possible. "I have been here for two-years and both of the last two pre-seasons were taken up by us having Europe League qualifiers," Bilic said. "We had to come back early and it was not a proper pre-season. I asked the Chairman and Karren Brady and they understood the situation.
"They said 'let's do it your way'. We are just concentrating on training and resting. We have been to Austria and are going to Germany. I have to thank the board, especially the chairman and Karren for letting us have this kind of pre-season which is crucial."

West Ham have taken on Sturm Graz and Fulham so far during pre-season, and they are yet to taste defeat. Bilic's men also have games coming up against Werder Bremen, Altona 93 and Manchester City, before the Premier League action starts up. When Bilic's side do start the season they are thrown in at the deep end, with a match against Manchester United at Old Trafford first up. West Ham have made four new signings so far this summer, with Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez all arriving.

Exclusive: Nathan Holland defends West Ham youth policy as he makes huge impression in pre-season
Day three of the West Ham training camp in Germany saw speak exclusively to the teenager
Football London
14:00, 26 JUL 2017

One moment on day three saw Nathan Holland draw gasps from the attending media at the West Ham training camp in Bothel, Germany. The end of the morning session was drawing to a close and during a game of 8v8 to round it off, the extremely talented teenager executed a quite brilliant, lofted 15-yard through-ball perfectly on to the head of James Collins, who buried his header past Joe Hart. Not only did it lead to stunned faces among the press, but screams of delight from Pablo Zabaleta and Pedro Obiang, plus a swear word or two from Hart. The 19-year-old is really standing out at the Hammers training base about 35 minutes from Bremen, having made his first team debut in the 0-0 draw with Sturm Graz II in Austria earlier this month. But it was against Fulham later in that trip where Holland really came to the fore, with Hammers fans lauding his performance. If they had seen him training today, they'd be doing it all over again. chatted to Holland exclusively in Bothel straight after the training session and the England U19 international said he is thoroughly enjoying his time with the first team having been promoted from the Hammers U23s. He told us: "Yeah, definitely. I think going to Austria was really good, we did some team activities and they [the first team] welcomed me really well, I'm enjoying myself. "It's similar to the U23s, the standards are the same but it is in front of the gaffer so I can show what I can do. "It is going well, I feel I performed in the two games in Austria and I have adapted quite well but with more games brings more confidence, too.
"Obviously, against Graz I made my debut and against Fulham I played well and it brings me confidence and hopefully I can do it again."

The Hammers made the headlines earlier this summer when co-chairman David Gold posted an ill-judged tweet about the youngsters finding it hard to break into the first team. A teenager got just two minutes of top-flight action last season - Declan Rice during the final day victory at Burnley - but manager Slaven Bilic has reacted by taking Holland, Josh Cullen, Reece Burke, Toni Martinez, Moses Makasi, Rice and U18 stopper Joseph Anang on both training camps so far.
Holland defended the youth policy at the club when asked if it is too hard to break through. "It's not the case," he said. "At the end of the day we have got a very strong team and the gaffer always speaks to us. You need a little bit of luck along the way and but if the chance comes along, you have to take it. "But look, the gaffer definitely believes in us, I know that. "We have made a few great signings and it can only make us better by showing us [youngsters] what they can do and if the opportunity comes for me, I have to take it. "I am loving it at West Ham."

JOSHUA HARDY @joshuahardy_

According to the Mirror, Middlesbrough are set to join to race for Ashley Fletcher and are prepared to offer £7m to sign him on a permanent basis. New Boro manager Garry Monk wants Fletcher to help bolster his squad as he looks to get them back to the Premier League at the first time of asking since getting relegated last season. Monk is such a big fan of Fletcher that he is prepared to bid £7m for him after failing to land the former Manchester United striker on a free transfer last summer whilst he was manager of Leeds. Watford, Brighton and Huddersfield are other clubs who want Fletcher but they only want him on loan. Boro have already brought in £24m worth of attackers in Martin Braithwaite and Britt Assombalonga and are prepared to bring in West Ham's Fletcher to take that sum up to £31m. It doesn't look likely that Fletcher will get first-team football at West Ham, with the recent arrival of Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen for £16m, as well as Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho being ahead of the 21-year-old and West Ham's business is not done yet. Middlesbrough have already signed a West Ham player struggling for first team football in Darren Randolph for £5m so could Fletcher be the next player to make the switch?


If the transfer window closed today, West Ham would consider themselves one of the bigger winners of the summer with the business they have done so far – but they aren't done yet. Still eager to reinforce the attack, West Ham have had a club-record bid accepted for Lazio's star attacker Balde Keita, but their ambitious effort is likely to end in vain. Football Italia report that despite the Premier League offer, Keita wants to continue his young career in Serie A amid interest from both Juventus and Inter Milan. With just a year left on his contract, Keita is likely to be sold this summer by Lazio but neither Juventus or Inter Milan have come close to meeting their asking price, something the Hammers have done. The 22-year-old attacker netted 16 goals last season for Lazio and is regarded as one of the best young forwards in Italy today. While a move to West Ham is looking increasingly unlikely, the Hammers will not give up in their pursuit of the former Barcelona academy graduate until he signs on the dotted line for someone else.

Brighton, Huddersfield & Watford Targeting Loan Move for West Ham Striker Ashley Fletcher

Brighton, Huddersfield and Watford are all interested in signing West Ham striker Ashley Fletcher on loan, Sky Sports have reported. A number of sides in the Championship are also believed to be interested in acquiring the services of the 21-year-old. Fletcher signed for the Hammers following the expiry of his contract at Manchester United last summer. The youngster made 20 appearances in all competitions last season, 17 of which came as a substitute. And he is expected to find his chances of starting limited further by the arrival of former United striker Javier Hernandez. That has led to the option of a loan move, although Fletcher does still have the option of staying at West Ham to fight for his place. Fletcher only last month expressed his hope of establishing himself next season in a similar vein to Marcus Rashford at United. "I look at Marcus Rashford, for example, who has taken his chance and stayed in the team and he's probably now one of the best strikers in England," Fletcher said, quoted by the Evening Standard. "The same can be said for Harry Kane as well. "There aren't many young English strikers playing in the Premier League, so hopefully this season I can get even more game-time, as my ambitions are to play and do well for this massive club. "Last season was a learning year for me, so I've been away and worked on getting fitter and stronger over the summer as I want to come back firing in pre-season."

Stoke City: 'We are disappointed in Marko Arnautovic because we resurrected his career'
By ChrisTravers | Posted: July 26, 2017

Chairman Peter Coates says Stoke City are "disappointed" by Marko Arnautovic's decision to join West Ham after the Potters "resurrected his career". The Austria international joined Stoke's Premier League rivals last week in a £25m deal... just 12 months after signing a new long-term contract to stay at the bet365 Stadium.
Arnautovic, aged 28, joined Stoke from Werder Bremen for £2.6m in 2013 to become one of Mark Hughes' first signings as manager. And his exit has left a bitter taste in the mouth, according to Coates. He told talkSPORT this morning: "We are disappointed in him personally and the people around him. "We resurrected his career. Our managers and coaches worked very hard to improve him and made him a name in the game. "Last year we spent so much effort into giving him a long-term contract and the first thing we get in the summer he comes back he wants to leave. "But the team is more important than the individual."
Arnautovic had arrived on the back of difficult spells at Inter Milan and Werder Bremen, who will receive about £440,000 as part of a sell-on clause, and credited Hughes with reviving his career. Emerging 18-year-old persuaded Mark Hughes to sell Phil Bardsley He scored six and set up a further five in the league last season as Stoke finished in 13th spot, two places and one point behind West Ham.

Crystal Palace target West Ham keeper Adrian in £3m deal after failing in initial move for Jasper Cillessen
Transfer news: All the latest moves from the Premier League and Europe
Adrian could be set for a £3million move from West Ham to Crystal Palace
Spanish goalkeeper's first-team chances at the Hammers have become limited
Palace boss Frank de Boer initially wanted to add Jasper Cillessen to his ranks
By Sami Mokbel for MailOnline
PUBLISHED: 05:06 EDT, 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 05:22 EDT, 26 July 2017

Crystal Palace are in talks over a £3million bid for West Ham goalkeeper Adrian. Frank de Boer wants to add a new goalkeeper to his ranks and has moved for Adrian after his move for first-choice Jasper Cillessen hit the skids. Adrian is keen to leave the London Stadium with his first-team chances limited following the arrival of Joe Hart on loan. The Spaniard has been at the Hammers for four years since arriving on a free transfer from Real Betis in June 2013. He has made 123 appearances for the club but only made 19 starts last term. Palace have already spent £8m on Ajax defender Jairo Riedewald and have signed Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan from Chelsea for the season.

Andy Caps It All Off!
Submitted by nevillenixon on Wed, 26/07/2017 - 10:12

Those Hammers fans of a certain age will remember that before the internet and Sky the only news source for sports was the back page of newspapers, in those papers there were cartoons. One of the most popular and least reverent was Andy Cap, everything used to end up with either him having a scrap in the pub or him being 'taken out' from the pub by his long suffering wife....Fast forward to a time when social media is prevalent and invasive, no longer can things just be swept under the carpet, people aren't interested in cartoons when they have their own pantomimes choreographed in front of them by players of their football team. So, the latest pictures of Andy Carroll looking to all and sundry as if he had been doing some hard partying in Magaluf last weekend will be quite shocking but will come as no surprise, he is missing from the first team squad in Germany as they prepare for the start of the new season but was supposed to have been 'rehabilitating' from his 'injury'. Perhaps it was a typo from the club and in fact they meant he was going to rehab! Therefore the picture doing the rounds might of been Carroll enjoying his last night of freedom, although a certain TOWIE star might want to have a word in his shell like about the company he was keeping!
Realistically Carroll probably knows the writing is on the wall, if a club came in for him this transfer window West Ham would snap the potential buyers arm off, the problem for the West Ham hierarchy is who would want to buy him? Now there are some fans who would say "yes but he will go to another club and start banging in goals for fun after we have spent such a huge amount of time and money getting him fit". Hello, wake up, Andy Carroll is NEVER going to be fit enough to play a whole season nor any where near that, it is just the way it is. Of course Carroll has not helped himself with his lifestyle choices in the past, and it was hoped that having 'settled down' he would be able to concentrate on getting fit, unfortunately that doesn't appear to be the case.
It would be incredibly imprudent to base or design any team structure that relied upon Carroll, it would just be plain folly, the stats don't lie and West Ham United cannot afford to carry Andy Carroll any longer. - Ed

Exclusive: Masuaku says West Ham will target "at least" top six in Premier League
The Hammers defender is aiming high for next season after an excellent transfer window
Football London
21:30, 25 JUL 2017

West Ham left-back Arthur Masuaku says there is no reason the Hammers can't finish sixth in the Premier League next season after bringing in four quality signings this summer. Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart and Marko Arnautovic have arrived at the club during the window and the Hammers have also captured the £16m signing of Javier Hernandez, who is set to join up with his new team mates on Tuesday. With the start of the season a little more than three weeks away, the squad is shaping up nicely and it is currently being put through its paces in Germany for the second part of their pre-season tour of Europe. Speaking exclusively to from the training ground in Bothel, the Frenchman said that with the calibre of players the club has brought in, all the player are looking at a big improvement from last season. "We can challenge, of course," he said. "We have great players, made great signings and if we start well, we can do something big. We have the team to be in at least the sixth position, in my opinion. I am optimistic for this season. "This type of player, they give you the advice and great things to go forward in your career." Masuaku will battle with Aaron Cresswell for the left back slot in the team this season the two are certainly slugging it out in pre-season to impress Bilic the most ahead of the Premier League opener at Man Utd on August 13. "Everyone asks me this, we are teammates," he said. "We both want to play but the season is long but I want to help the team much as I can, so does he. The best will play, that's it." The latest on Javier Hernandez's West Ham arrival and behind-the-scenes training camp updates from Germany The 23-year-old suffered an injury-hit campaign last time out but it didn't stop him from knowing he made the right choice in leaving Olympiakos for the Hammers in a £6m move last summer. "For me, there were many injuries for the first time in my life so I hope this year, I will be lucky and avoid them and be healthy all the season. "For me, I was wanting to play in the Premier League and when I got the opportunity, I didn't think twice. I want to improve myself and play more games. "I am definitely improving. Its a tough league, you learn a lot and I am only 23 so I have plenty of time to improve even more. We keep working to be ready for the first match its gonna be a tough game but we are looking forward to it.
I am OK, I feel good, our preparation is good, I just need to keep working to be fit and start the first game. I cant wait to play games, we have to go through pre-season first but I am just looking forward to Man United now."

West Ham transfer news: Marko Arnautovic gets lost in games - Matthew Etherington
NEW West Ham signing Marko Arnautovic can get lost in games and doesn't track his runners.
PUBLISHED: 07:00, Wed, Jul 26, 2017

That's the damning verdict from former Hammer Matthew Etherington, who is still sure the £25m record signing will be a hit at the London Stadium. Arnautovic scored seven times in 35 games in all competitions last season before signing a five-year deal with West Ham. Etherington told talkSPORT: "He goes to sleep at times, he gets lost in games, he doesn't track his runners. "He doesn't do things that a manager would want him to do, that's the only concern. "But there's no doubting that for any given 90 minutes, there's a sensational player in there, definitely." Ray Parlour too has reservations about the former Stoke star - although he too is sure he'll be a hit. He said: "Arnautovic is a little hit and miss, but when he is on his game, he is a very good player. "I have seen him live quite a few times, and he is strong. He goes past a player, he is good on the ball, so if Slaven can get the best out of him in the right position, and say to him 'Look, you can be a superstar here', then he could be a really good signing for West Ham."

By Sean Whetstone

I've reached the end of my tether with Andy Carroll.

In 2013 we made him our record signing investing £15.5m in the striker, made him our top earner with a basic of £85,000 per week and an overall package understood to be closer to £100,000 per week.

We have been patient, we have been tolerant, we have turned a blind eye but the excuses are getting boring now and there is only so long a club and their fans can keep faith in one player.

According to he has missed 851 days of training for West Ham since joining and been absent for 109 competitive matches so far.

We have been told of countless various injuries being just bad luck but we have also told that an operation would fix a long term problem once and for all.

His injury record is one thing but then his social life is too often in the headlines.

We are told he is a reformed character since meeting his fiance Billi Mucklow and having a child with a second on the way.

Despite his insistence, he is now a family man social media pictures all too regularly pop up. He was pictured drinking pints in the Slug and Lettuce pub in Canary Wharf as the Hammers beat Crystal Palace in October last year, with that tabloid story coming after he allegedly pulled an all nighter with Darren Randolph in Shoreditch after a team bonding session authorised by boss Slaven Bilic.

The latest pictures of Carroll allegedly partying in Magaluf last weekend come at a time when he is missing from the first team squad in Germany as they prepare for the start of the new season.

Despite posting social network photos from around the world on his holidays over the summer it appears he will not be match ready for the start of the season.

Of course, he has the right to a personal life and has the to go out for a beer if he wants but until he can pay back the Hammers faith in him he needs to be discreet and not allow himself to be exposed on Twitter or elsewhere.

Personally, I've reached the end of the line with Carroll and were I Chairman I'd try to negotiate to cancel his contract by mutual consent thus allowing him to join another club as a free agent assuming he could find one.

With just under two years remaining on his contract that would save almost £9m in wages alone. I hope I am proved wrong and he makes a miraculous recovery but I won't hold my breath.

Exclusive: Javier Hernandez's arrival at West Ham pre-season training camp to be delayed
Javier Hernandez completed his £16m transfer to West Ham from Bayer Leverkusen last week
Footbll London
08:30, 26 JUL 2017 has learned that Javier Hernandez's arrival to the West Ham training camp in Germany has been delayed. The £16m signing was due to meet up with his new teammates today (Wednesday) but we now understand he is not likely to be in the country until Thursday afternoon. The 29-year-old was in Paris on Tuesday to sort out a visa to allow him to play in the Premier League next season. Visa issues are not thought to be the problem of the delay however, but the club has not been able to inform us of the reason his arrival has been pushed back by 24 hours. Hernandez is the fourth signing for the Hammers this summer on a three-year, £140,000 a week contract which was confirmed on Monday night. Hammers co-chairman David Sullivan said on Tuesday of the Mexican front man: "I think he is potentially the best player who has ever come to the club. "In recent years, he is probably the best proven goalscorer we have signed since we have been at the club."


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