Friday, July 28

Daily WHUFC News - 28th July 2017

Winston Reid approaching return to full West Ham training

Winston Reid is 'on schedule' and hoping to return to full training with West Ham United soon. The centre-back missed the final two Premier League fixtures of last season to undergo surgery on a painful shin condition, but has put in the hard yards over the summer, with successful results. Reid travelled with the squad to Austria earlier this month and is stepping up his rehab work after arriving in Germany with his teammates on Monday afternoon. "Hopefully in the next week or so I should be back, which we were sort of aiming for," he revealed. "Generally, the rehab has been really good and the surgery has fixed the problem, which is the most important thing. I'll be able to go out there and play pain-free, which is a blessing. "It was just one of those things that you get every now and then. You get various knocks and bruises and you fix them and this one has been fixed now."

While his physical condition is forever improving, the New Zealand international is also feeling refreshed mentally after enjoying a relaxing family holiday during his month-long summer break. "You get to spend quality time with them and you do what your family wants to do, rather than perhaps what you would choose to do yourself!" said the No2, who took his wife and two young twins to the United States and the Caribbean. "It's just about going out and getting away from football because it can be a long old year, like the one we had last year, so it's good to go away and relax a little bit. "During the season you cannot escape football, especially around Christmas time, when you need to find that inner strength to push through. I'm used to it now, but it can be difficult for players when you first come from abroad. For that reason, a summer break is certainly good!"

The summer has also been marked by the arrival of four proven Premier League performers in east London. With 290 caps and numerous trophies to their names, Reid believes Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez will add quality and experience to Slaven Bilic's squad. "We finished the season on a good note, apart from the Liverpool game, and we really did well," he recalled. "We hope to take that form into the new season and we've also welcomed some new players into the fold. "When you combine them with the ones who are still here, we want to make sure that what happened at the beginning of last season doesn't happen again and we get off to a strong start. "To get them in at this stage so we've still got time ahead of the season for them to gel with the team is massively important. They are all players who have done well in the Premier League and played in England for numerous years, so it has been a brilliant bit of business done by the Club so far."

Five-star Hammers U23s win in Slovakia

West Ham United U23s produced a five-star display to thrash Slovak Super League club FC ViOn Zlaté Moravce on Wednesday evening. The young Hammers were in irrepressible form as they swept aside their hosts 5-1, with striker Jahmal Hector-Ingram helping himself to a hat-trick. Academy Director Terry Westley may have been without the likes of Josh Cullen, Reece Burke, Toni Martinez and Moses Makasi, but his team still had far too much for their opponents. "It was an outstanding display, following on from our victory at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday afternoon," said Westley. "Our goals were all superb, with Jahmal back to his best with three fine finishes, a penalty from Dan Kemp and a good goal from Grady Diangana, who was very good on the night. "We played the way we want to play, with really dangerous forward play and our great movement and passing helping to open up their defence time after time."

West Ham were also boosted at the back by the return of goalkeeper Nathan Trott, fresh from winning the UEFA European U19 Championship with England earlier this month. Norway winger Martin Samuelsen was also in action following off-season surgery to rectify a breathing issue, winning the penalty successfully converted by Toulon Tournament winner Kemp. "Nathan played his first game back after his success with England and he made some great stops late on," Westley observed. "Vashon Neufville was back to his best at left-back, too, which augurs well for the season ahead. "Martin also got a welcome 25 minutes during which he was very lively and got fouled for our penalty after a good dribble."

The U23s will spend the remainder of the week training in Slovakia before returning to England to take on ambitious Isthmian League club Billericay Town at the AGP Arena next Tuesday evening. In the meantime, the young Hammers also received their Premier League 2 Division 1 fixture list on Thursday, with the Hammers hosting Everton in their season opener at Dagenham & Redbridge on 11 August..

Marko Arnautovic: The Big Interview

Marko Arnautovic will make his West Ham United debut in front of two groups of fans on Friday evening. The first will be the travelling Hammers eager to see the Austrian attacker in Claret and Blue for the first time, while the second will be the supporters of West Ham's opponents and the club he represented between 2010-13, Werder Bremen. With an expectant capacity crowd expected in the town of Scheverdingen 50 miles east of Bremen – Bundesliga club Werder like to play pre-season matches in areas where their large and widely spread fanbase can attend with ease – Arnautovic will undoubtedly be the star attraction.

On Wednesday evening, the Austria international held a press conference as West Ham's team hotel in Rotenburg, which attracted journalists from England, Germany and even Mexico!

Marko, why did you choose West Ham United?

"First of all, the coach gave me a good feeling about this Club. This club is a big club and playing in a big stadium with very good players, so for me it was not hard to choose this Club. I'm happy to be here and I can't wait to get started."

How did Slaven Bilic sell this transfer to you?

"He did well because otherwise I wouldn't have signed! I know for all these years that West Ham has been a big club and the last few years it has been mid-table, aside from two years ago when they finished seventh.

"I know in this club there are a lot of good players in this squad and the potential is there to be in the top six, top seven. But we know the Premier League is a hard league, a competitive league and it isn't going to be easy."

West Ham fans are getting excited about this transfer window and the signings of yourself, Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Javier Hernandez, so what do you think of the Hammers' summer business?

"Yeah, I think West Ham already had very good players and now the signings that we did with Joe, Zabaleta, myself and Chicharito are very good signings.
"Personally myself, I hope I can give everything for this club and I will try to do my best. I can't say how we're going to finish the season because we didn't even start, but we are training hard and now we have two games on Friday and Saturday and we will see how we are feeling. "Of course, I think everyone just can't wait to be started against Manchester United."

Can you talk more specifically about Chicharito?

"We know Chicharito has had a very good career. He started at Man United and then got away from them to Real Madrid for six months, then did very well in Leverkusen. "He's the perfect striker. You can't say anything about Hernandez because we know he's a very good player and we're happy he has joined us now and we hope he's going to score as many goals for us as he did for Man United, Leverkusen, Real Madrid or even for his country. "I will be happy when he is coming to join us in the training. Like I said many times, we can't wait to get the season started."

How do you feel about being West Ham's record signing?

"I think it would feel the same if I had come for less money. It is of course an honour for me to be the record transfer, but it's nothing for me in my head.
"I just came to this club to give my best, to show the fans that every penny was worth it for me. I want to give everything."

As a former Werder Bremen player, you have received a warm welcome back in an area where you played for three seasons…

"I was a little bit surprised because I went away from Werder Bremen not as good as you normally go away from a club, but I still had good moments here, I have to say. "In football terms, we didn't have good years, but I think I had some games where I showed my quality and I had a good relationship with the fans. "Some of the media didn't like me but the people here know what they had from me. We couldn't give our best because those three years were not a good three years."

And finally, are you looking forward to making your debut against your old club on Friday and showing them the player you have become?

"I can't wait for it and to play against them. I have a lot of friends still at the club there and I'm happy to see them again. "It's going to be a good game and we will play against them and of course we want to win against them, but we know it will be tough because German teams are always very fit and they can run a lot.
"We will show our quality and try to win these games on Friday and Saturday."

Chicharito arrives at West Ham's German training

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez has arrived at West Ham United's team hotel in Germany.

The Mexico star was personally greeted by manager Slaven Bilic, who ended his two-year pursuit of the Little Pea when Hernandez completed his move to the Hammers on Monday.

The striker waited patiently in Paris for 48 hours for his UK Visa to be processed – applicants must leave the country to complete the process – before flying directly into Hannover on Thursday afternoon, where he was met by a Club delegation.

Hernandez then headed to the Hammers' training base in the quiet town of Rotenburg, where he was met by Bilic and a large and enthusiastic corps of Mexican broadcasters.

The manager was delighted to welcome his new centre forward to Rotenburg, saying: "He's very important to our project, he's a very important player.

"When I signed for West Ham two years ago, then Chicharito was on his way out from Manchester United and I wanted him then. I contacted him and spoke to him a few times and he was very keen, even then.

"When he decided to go to Leverkusen, he was very polite and he called me and said 'Sorry coach, I've opted for Leverkusen' which was a really nice gesture from him.

"So now, after two years, when I found out he may leave Leverkusen, I called him again and we didn't have to start from zero. We were laughing and said 'We spoke two years ago' and all that!

"It probably helped him to make his mind up that he wanted to join us that he knew that I wanted him two years ago and still we want him."

Bilic is clearly a huge fan of Hernandez's all-round qualities and his excitement at seeing how the 29-year-old will fit into his team is palpable.

"He's a fantastic player," he enthused. "He's very experienced. He's been everywhere and has scored goals for Manchester United first then for Real Madrid, for Bayer Leverkusen and for Mexico, and he's still a boy. You can see it in every game he is happy to play football.

"His game is not only about goals. He runs, he presses and he does everything so he was our number one target on the list of centre forwards and we're all extremely happy that he opted for us and I'm sure it's going to be a really good move for him as well."

The manager's admiration for Hernandez goes back to the very start of his senior career with Manchester United, who he joined in 2010, and grew as he scored regularly for the Red Devils, Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Mexico.

Indeed, Bilic's love for Chicharito was not even affected when his goal helped knock his native Croatia out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup!

"When Chicharito started playing for Manchester United, I was at that time Croatia national team manager so I couldn't transfer him to play for Croatia, but we spoke with friends and colleagues and said he was a great player," Bilic confirmed.

"Then I was in Russia or Turkey and we didn't talk about him because it was impossible to get Chicharito to Besiktas at that time, let's say.

"When I signed for West Ham, I was talking with the Club, the Board, the Chairmen and my staff about which striker we could get. At that time, it was in the papers that Manchester United wanted to release him and we straight away tried to get him. He was always kind of a player that I wanted."

The manager confirmed that Mexico's all-time record scorer will not feature in this weekend's Betway Cup double-header with Werder Bremen, as he played for his country at the FIFA Confederations Cup until 2 July, and will instead begin his own pre-season training schedule.

Mexico celebrates Chicharito's arrival at West Ham

The Mexican media has hailed Javier Hernandez's arrival at West Ham, with many figureheads in the press taking to social media to voice their approval.

The reporters were unanimous in their assertion that the return of the striker to the Premier League was good news and described the Hammers as 'one of its historic sides'.

The most effusive was perhaps Luis Garcia (@garciaposti), a former Mexican international striker, who played for Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad and is a columnist in the best selling sports newspaper Record.

He said: "You arrive to West Ham United and old and historic club, with a history of 122 years, and you'll also move to fascinating London, a city that lives in another dimension.

"From your new club emerged great footballers like Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Michael Carrick, and what about the icon Bobby Moore, captain of the English national team who were crowned World Champions in 1966 and who led the Hammers for more than a decade."

Garcia, who is also an analyst for TV Azteca, also said that Chicharito's decision had been 'a well-thought one' and that West Ham should be happy to have him because the striker 'guarantees goals'. He also noted that Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris was also a fan of the club.
He was not the only one. Mexican journalist Leon Krauze (@LeonKrauze), the main presenter for Univisión, the largest Latino television network in the United States, celebrated the arrival of Chicharito to West Ham in the below tweet: 'The great Chicharito continues to make history. Great football player, even better person. All the best with the Hammers!'

León Krauze ✔ @LeonKrauze
El gran @CH14_ sigue haciendo historia. Gran futbolista, mejor persona. Éxito con los 🔨!!!
9:52 PM - Jul 24, 2017
35 35 Retweets 227 227 likes

Raoul Ortiz (@Raoul_Ortiztd), a commentator for Televisa Deportes, Mexico's largest television network, said that his arrival to the Hammers was 'a good decision from every point of view, I think he will do very well '.

Another voice that spoke in favour of Hernandez's next move was that of ESPN commentator David Faitelson (@Faitelson_ESPN), who remembered that "West Ham is the club of the legendary Bobby Moore" and said the return to the Premier League was 'a good step' for the striker.

David Faitelson ✔ @Faitelson_ESPN
Regresa "El Chicharito" a Inglaterra y lo hace en el club del legendario Bobby Moore, el West Ham United.
Volver a la Premier, buen paso.
4:02 PM - Jul 20, 2017
423 423 Retweets 2,249 2,249 likes

The columnists were not alone. The biggest national newspapers also celebrated the transfer on its covers. Record led with "What an improvement! by 'Chicha'. Meanwhile, ESTO, put on its front page 'West Ham welcomes Chicharito'.

Fletcher heading for 'Boro talks
Filed: Thursday, 27th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Ashley Fletcher is on his way to Middlesbrough for talks over a permanent switch. The 21-year-old, Keighley-born striker joined West Ham on transfer deadline day last summer but has only been used as a bit-part player since. And it was confirmed this lunchtime (Thursday) that Fletcher had left the club's training camp in Rotenburg in order to fly back to England, so that he may hold talks with the Championship side. "Boro have agreed a deal in principle with West Ham United to sign striker Ashley Fletcher," read a statement on the Championship club's website. "The former Manchester United youth player has left West Ham's training camp in Germany and is heading to Boro for talks." News of Boro's interest was also confirmed by Slaven Bilic from the club's training camp in Germany. "He got a fantastic offer last night," said Bilic. "Ideally I wanted to have a different scenario but the offer was so good and I told him to be proud. "The step that he made from coming here as a no-name to being a player a lot of Championship clubs want is a big bonus for him so he's gone to discuss personal terms. He is a very good and promising player."
Fletcher was a member of the touring party that flew out to Austria with Slaven Bilic and the first team last week for pre-season fixtures against Sturm Graz and Fulham. The two clubs are understood to have agreed a fee in the region of £6.5million. Fletcher cost the Hammers just £1million just 12 months ago.

Chicharito set for debut, confirms Bilic
Filed: Thursday, 27th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham's latest signing, Javier Hernandez, is set to make his debut in one of the two fixtures against Werder Bremen this week, according to Slaven Bilic. The Mexican international in on his way to Germany in order to meet up with the rest of the squad, and is expected to arrive later this afternoon (Thursday). However he very is unlikely to feature in BOTH friendlies against the Bundesliga outfit which are scheduled for Friday and Saturday. "Chicharito won't play both games in the Betway Cup," said Bilic, speaking from Germany today. "We won't jeopardise our plans in these pre-season games as these are not important games for us.
"The idea is to play two teams. Now we have come to the stage ideally it is 60 mins one team and 30 mins the other and then vice-versa the next day, so they will all get 90 minutes."
Bilic also confirmed that he had been chasing Chicharito for some time, as revealed on KUMB earlier this week. "When I came to West Ham two years ago and he was leaving Man United, I wanted him then," he confirmed. "When he decided to go to Leverkusen, he told me 'sorry'. Now, after two years, I found out he may leave so I called him again. He is a fantastic player. He is very experienced and has scored goals everywhere he's been."

Antonio to miss start of season
Filed: Thursday, 27th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Michail Antonio is almost certain to miss the opening game of the season against Manchester United at Old Trafford, according to Slaven Bilic. The 27-year-old winger, who was injured during the 1-0 win over Swansea at the Olympic Stadium back in April has not travelled with the rest of the first team squad as he attempts to recuperate from a hamstring problem. Bilic, speaking from the club's training camp in Rotenburg confirmed the bad news during his press conference this morning ahead of tomorrow's meeting with Werder Bremen - the first of two games against the Bundesliga side in 24 hours. "Michail [Antonio] and Andy [Carroll] are in London," he told the assembled media. "He is ahead of schedule, but the plan is for him to miss the first game of the season."
And with regards to Carroll's rehabilitation, he added: "Andy is still not able to train with the team but he is working hard at Rush Green with the physios."
"I am frustrated he cannot play, he is still injured and it is a big loss for us."

Slaven Bilic on how West Ham signed Javier Hernandez
By Stephen Turner
Last Updated: 27/07/17 3:06pm

Slaven Bilic has revealed how a phone call two years ago laid the foundations for Javier Hernandez's transfer to West Ham this week. Hernandez completed a £16m move from Bayer Leverkusen, the German club he joined from Manchester United in the summer of 2015. Bilic was in the market for Hernandez back then, and the relationship he formed with the Mexico striker meant he was able to get the deal done at the second time of asking. "When he decided to go to Leverkusen he called me," said Bilic, speaking at a press conference on the club's pre-season tour of Germany. "He was very polite. He told me 'coach, sorry but I opted for Leverkusen'. It was a really nice gesture from him. "Now, after two years, when we found out he might leave Leverkusen I called him again and of course we didn't have to stat from zero. "We were laughing and he said 'we spoke two years ago' and all that, so it probably helped that he knew that we wanted him."

Hernandez is one of four summer recruits along with Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and £25m Marko Arnautovic, while Bilic remains on the lookout for further signings.
He said: "We've done really well without spending crazy money, so if something extraordinary happens I'll still be able to do it, I hope." Bilic also revealed Michail Antonio is ahead of schedule as he recovers from hamstring surgery and could return for the second game of the Premier League season - away at Southampton.
But Andy Carroll remains sidelined and his frustrated boss said: "Unfortunately he's still injured and it's a big loss for us."

Ashley Fletcher set for Middlesbrough as West Ham accept £7m bid
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 27/07/17 12:35pm

Middlesbrough have agreed a £7m deal with West Ham to sign striker Ashley Fletcher. Fletcher left West Ham's training camp in Germany on Wednesday to have a medical and discuss personal terms on Teesside. If the deal goes through he will be a ninth summer signing for Boro, who are rebuilding under Garry Monk ahead of their return to the Sky Bet Championship. Fletcher joined West Ham last summer when his Manchester United contract expired and made 16 Premier League appearances, but only started two of those games with fourteen coming from the bench. The Hammers have since spent more than £40m on two forward players, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez.

West Ham's Javier Hernandez 'the perfect striker', says Marko Arnautovic
By Nick Lustig and Paul Gilmour
Last Updated: 27/07/17 1:34am

Javier Hernandez has been hailed as the "perfect striker" by new West Ham team-mate Marko Arnautovic. The 29-year-old became manager Slaven Bilic's fourth summer signing earlier this week when he completed his £16m switch from German side Bayer Leverkusen. Hernandez, who scored 39 goals during his two seasons in the Bundesliga, will join up with the rest of the West Ham squad on their pre-season tour of Germany on Thursday and train for the first time on Friday.
Is 'Chicharito' the answer to West Ham's striker struggles? We look back at how the Mexican's predecessors have fared in east London. "Chicharito has had a very good career. He was at Man United and then when he left, he went to Real Madrid and then Leverkusen. He is the perfect striker," Arnautovic said. "You cannot say anything about Hernandez because we know he's a very good player and we're happy that he join us now.
Joe Hart believes West Ham are capable of at least a top-eight finish this season after a busy summer in the transfer market. "We hope he'll score a lot of goals like he did in the Bundesliga, Man United, Real Madrid or even for Mexico. "I will be happy when he's here in the next days and when he joins us on the training pitch. Like I said we cannot wait to get the season started."

Antonio Martinez makes West Ham's £7m Ashley Fletcher decision a no brainer
Dan Coombs

Ashley Fletcher is set to leave West Ham. HITC Sport reported last night West Ham have accepted a £7 million offer from Middlesbrough for Ashley Fletcher.
Fletcher's departure will come as a surprise just 12 months after he signed for the club, but he is being squeezed out at the Hammers, in part due to outstanding prospect Toni Martinez. While West Ham have signed forwards Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic to compete with Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho, Martinez has been carving out a place for himself as the club's most exciting prospect - overtaking Fletcher. After signing from Valencia, he scored at a prolific rate for West Ham's under-23 team last season before impressing on loan at Oxford United. He scored to dump Newcastle out of the FA Cup, and is hoping to earn a spot in West Ham's squad for the season ahead. Martinez is currently with the first team in Germany on their pre-season training camp, where he is hoping to catch Slaven Bilic's eye. With the strength in depth West Ham suddenly have available up front, the £7 million offer from Middlesbrough for Fletcher is a no brainer. If they did not have Martinez in reserve then Bilic may be more tempted to hold onto Fletcher, but there may not be enough room for one, let alone two next season, and taking the money is a smart decision.

Marko Arnautovic labels West Ham 'a bigger and more ambitious club' after move from Stoke
By Nick Lustig and Paul Gilmour
Last Updated: 26/07/17 9:58pm

Marko Arnautovic says he has joined a "bigger and more ambitious club" by leaving Stoke for West Ham. The Hammers, who have also signed Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Javier Hernandez this summer, splashed out a club-record £25m to secure the services of the Austria winger last week. Since completing the move, Arnautovic has come in for criticism from Stoke chairman Peter Coates and midfielder Charlie Adam, with both expressing their disappointment at his decision to leave the bet365 Stadium. But the 28-year-old is convinced he has made the right choice for his career by joining West Ham and believes Slaven Bilic has put together the "perfect team" ahead of the new Premier League season. "To the fans I was let's say the hero and now I am zero. But that's football. The one thing I can say is, I am happy to be here and happy to play for West Ham," Arnautovic told Sky Sports News. "Of course it was tough for me because the fans over the years were very supportive of me, but I came to a point where I wanted to see something different. "I wanted to join West Ham because, for me, it's a bigger club and more ambitious. We can see with the signings that we've made and the players that are already at the club.
Joe Hart believes West Ham are capable of at least a top-eight finish this season after a busy summer in the transfer market. I think we have a perfect team and now we have to show it on the pitch." Arnautovic, who scored 26 goals in over 100 appearances for Stoke, also insisted he is not feeling the pressure of being West Ham's record signing and is determined to deliver for the club. "I think I'll feel the same when I am playing, even if I came for more or less money. It's of course an honour for me to be the record transfer, but it will do nothing to me," he added. "I have just come to this club to give my best and to show the fans that every penny was worth it for me. I want to give everything."

West Ham's Javier Hernandez out to show Manchester United what they're missing
Evening Standard

New West Ham signing Javier Hernandez is out to spoil Manchester United's start to the season as he prepares to make his Hammers debut at Old Trafford.
Hernandez, who joined West Ham for £16million on Monday, is set to make his first competitive appearance for his new club against Jose Mourinho's side on Sunday August 20. The Mexican striker scored 59 goals in 157 appearances for United between 2010 and 2015 and the two-time Premier League champion is a popular figure at Old Trafford. That might not be the case if he spoils Jose Mourinho's start to the new campaign but he is desperate to ensure his new club get a healthy reminder of what they're missing. "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."

Hernandez, recruited from Chivas de Guadalajara to United as a 21-year-old, has largely spent the last three seasons away from the Premier League, first on loan at Real Madrid before two years at Bayer Leverkusen where he averaged better than a goal every other game. "For me it is the most competitive [league] in the world," he said. "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."

Ashley Fletcher leaves West Ham camp to complete £7m Middlesbrough move
Evening Standard

Ashley Fletcher is closing in on a £7million move to Middlesbrough after leaving West Ham's Germany training camp to complete a move to the Championship side.
Standard Sport understands the 21-year-old was given permission to fly back to England on Thursday after West Ham and Boro agreed a £7m fee for the striker.
Boro confirmed the news on Thursday morning and Fletcher is now expected to undergo a medical and negotiate personal terms with Garry Monk's side, with the transfer set to be completed within the next few days. Fletcher only joined West Ham last summer after his contract at Manchester United, where he spent six years coming up through the ranks, expired. But his chances of first-team football with the Hammers were delivered a blow last week when West Ham signed striker Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen for £16million. With Marko Arnautovic also arriving from Stoke in a club-record deal, Fletcher has decided to leave Slaven Bilic's side in search of regular game time. The striker admitted to Standard Sport back in December his decision to join West Ham was down his belief Bilic would be able to resurrect his career. The 21-year-old did enjoy a positive start to life at the London Stadium and, indeed, scored his first West Ham goal against his former side Manchester United in the Hammers' 4-1 EFL Cup quarter-final loss at Old Trafford in November. But he found himself restricted to a mostly substitute role as the season progressed, with the striker failing to score a Premier League goal in 16 appearances last season.

West Ham's Michail Antonio to miss start of the season but ahead of schedule, confirms Slaven Bilic
Evening Standard

Slaven Bilic has said Michail Antonio will miss West Ham's first game of the season against Manchester United. Antonio's 2016/17 campaign ended in April when he suffered a hamstring injury in the early stages of a crucial victory over Swansea. He subsequently underwent surgery. But the 27-year-old, voted Hammer of the Year last season, signed a new four-year deal at West Ham in May and has been working towards a return to first-team football since. Both Antonio and team-mate Andy Carroll were left out of the squads for pre-season trips to Austria and Germany, but are fighting for full fitness. "Michail and Andy are in London," said Bilic, speaking during the club's pre-season trip to Germany. "He [Antonio] is ahead of the plan." "The plan is for him to miss the first game of the season." The West Ham manager's update on Carroll was less optimistic, however. He added: "Andy is still not able to train with the team but he is working hard at Rush Green with the physios." "I am frustrated he cannot play, now he is still injured and it is a big loss for us."

Slaven Bilic: Middlesbrough's offer for Ashley Fletcher was too good to turn down
Evening Standard

Slaven Bilic has admitted West Ham couldn't turn down Middlesbrough's "fantastic" offer for West Ham striker Ashley Fletcher. As reported by Standard Sport on Thursday, Fletcher was given permission to leave the Hammers' training camp in Germany to fly back to England and undergo a medical at Boro ahead of completing a £7million move to the Championship side. Fletcher only joined West Ham last summer after his contract at Manchester United, where he spent six years coming up through the ranks, expired. But after the club signed striker Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen and Marko Arnautovic from Stoke, Fletcher fell down the pecking order. Bilic, who played a key role in bringing the forward to the club last summer, admitted that despite the new arrivals he wanted Fletcher to stay at West Ham - but conceded Boro's offer was too good to turn down both for the Hammers and the player himself. "He got a fantastic offer last night," Bilic told a press conference on Thursday. "Ideally I wanted to have a different scenario but the offer was so good and I told him to be proud." Fletcher is now expected to discuss personal terms with Garry Monk's side before completing a move to Boro within the next few days.


West Ham United have been linked with highly-rated German midfielder Maximilian Arnold after the VfL Wolfsburg star confirmed that his future at the Bundesliga club wasn't certain, according to a report by Kicker, as cited by Sport Witness. The German International led his country to glory in the U21 European Championship this summer as they overcame Spain in the final to showcase their new breed of young stars. Arnold is considered as one of the brightest talents from them all and the 23-year-old has been monitored by various clubs, including West Ham. Arnold currently has a contract with the Bundesliga club which runs through to 2020 but when asked about his future, Arnold didn't rule out the possibility of leaving the club sooner in an interview with MDR. I cannot say I will stay in Wolfsburg until 2020. In football, a lot of things can happen in one month. The transfer window will be opened for so long time. I don't want to say that I will be here until 2020 and then to look a liar if I'm transferred sooner. The Hammers are not ready to make an official bid for the player yet as they are still monitoring his situation. Arnold may prefer to stay in his home country for this season with the World Cup in Russia coming up next summer as he would like to do everything he can to be selected in the German squad for the tournament. The move would be an ambitious one from West Ham as Kicker magazine's writer Thomas Hiete also confirmed that Schalke were interested.

West Ham and Newcastle swap: Bilic and Benitez interested in Adrian and Darlow deal
WEST HAM could be open to selling Adrian to Newcastle if they can land Karl Darlow in return.
PUBLISHED: 10:51, Thu, Jul 27, 2017 | UPDATED: 12:08, Thu, Jul 27, 2017

The Hammers goalkeeping department has been shaken up this summer. After the arrival of England's No1 Joe Hart on a season-long loan from Manchester City, Darren Randolph left in a £5million switch to Middlesbrough. And Adrian now looks likely to depart too as he eyes regular game time away from the London Stadium Crystal Palace have been in talks with West Ham over a move. But Frank de Boer's Eagles face competition for the 30-year-old Spaniard from Premier League rivals Newcastle. And Rafa Benitez's side have an advantage in negotiations. According to The Chronicle, Slaven Bilic's side are interested in taking Darlow from Newcastle as part of a swap deal. The Magpies' 26-year-old shot-stopper was left out last night's 4-0 friendly victory at Bradford in case he picked up an injury that would scupper any potential move away. With West Ham set to be in need of experienced support for Hart this term, Darlow is on their radar. The Chronicle add Benitez has identified Adrian as a player who can challenge for the No1 spot at Newcastle following their return to the top flight. And with Benitez having been left frustrated so far in his hunt for a new goalkeeper, he is prepared to offload Darlow. Newcastle could now re-enter talks with West Ham, which would deal a blow to Palace's pursuit of Adrian.


West Ham United officials have watched Benfica striker Raul Jimenez during a training session as the London club ponder a move for the Mexican striker to partner Javier Hernandez, according to a report from Sport Witness. Benfica opened their training session at St George's Park to English clubs and the Hammers had representatives there who were reportedly keeping a close eye on Jimenez as manager Slaven Bilic is looking for a striker to partner new striker Hernandez.
Benfica are keen to offload the Mexican forward as he only has one year remaining on his contract with the Portuguese club, but they have slapped a whooping €40m price tag on the striker. Benfica signed Jimenez from Spanish La Liga club Atletico Madrid for €10m and the striker has won back-to-back Portuguese league titles in his two seasons with the club. Jimenez was impressive during this summer's Confederations Cup as he netted against New Zealand. The Hammers are still considering whether to make a move for the player, but with Benfica placing such a high price tag on him, it could mean that Bilic eyes other targets. The forward only started nine games last season for Benfica and the club are hoping to recoup almost quadruple the amount which they paid to secure his services, which on the face of things, looks a bit far-fetched to say the least.

Marko Arnautovic hits back at Stoke after joining 'more ambitious' West Ham in £25million deal
Stoke chairman Peter Coates had previously condemned his lack of loyalty to the club that had resurrected his career
The Mirror
11:56, 27 JUL 2017UPDATED11:57, 27 JUL 2017

Marko Arnautovic has hit back at Stoke, claiming new club West Ham are bigger and more ambitious. Arnautovic was responding to Stoke chairman Peter Coates' jibe that he had been disloyal to the Potters after they had resurrected his career. The Austria forward accepts Stokies will hate him because of his record £25million move to West Ham, but insists he has joined a better club. "To the fans I was, let's say the hero and now I am zero," he said. "But that's football. The one thing I can say is, I'm happy to be here and happy to play for West Ham. "Of course it was tough for me because the fans over the years were very supportive of me, but I came to a point where I wanted to see something different. "I wanted to join West Ham because, for me, it's a bigger club and more ambitious. We can see with the signings that we've made and the players that are already at the club. "I think we have a perfect team and now we have to show it on the pitch."
Arnautovic, 28, claims he does not feel under pressure because of his record transfer fee. "I think I'll feel the same when I'm playing, even if I came for more or less money," he told Sky Sports News. "It's of course an honour for me to be the record transfer, but it will do nothing to me. "I have just come to this club to give my best and to show the fans that every penny was worth it for me. I want to give everything."

Revealed – Why West Ham Ended Their Interest In Man City Kelechi Iheanacho
July 27, 201703

The real reason why West Ham United ended their interest in Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho has been revealed by a very reliable source of the London based side. According to the very informed @ExWHU‎employee in a radio show monitored by London based Michael James, coach of West Ham United Slaven Bilic pulled the plug on the deal. Bilic said no to the signing of Iheanacho after hearing of the availability of former Manchester United striker ‎Javier Hernandez, who will cost less and has a better Premier League experience than the Nigerian. Secondly the FA rule forbidding teams from loaning more than one player also played a role, as Bilic was still keen on Iheanacho despite signing Hernandez from Bayern Leverkusen, but had to make a choice between goalkeeper Joe Hart and the striker. The manager settled for Hart as the goalkeeping area is a priority for the manager than the striker, hence opt to loan the shot stopper ahead of Iheanacho from Manchester City.

Marko Arnautovic's brother in `garbage' attack on Stoke City chairman
By Martin_Spinks | Posted: July 27, 2017

Marko Arnautovic's brother and agent has launched into a furious war of words with Stoke Citychairman Peter Coates by telling him he should "clean up his own garbage within the club walls." In an astonishing attack, Danijel Arnautovic defends his brother's decision to leave for West Ham and calls for more respect from the club towards his brother. His outburst follows Coates' complaint yesterday that Arnautovic should have been more loyal to a club resurrecting his career and giving him a new long-term contract only 12 months ago. But this afternoon Danijel Arnautovic blasted: "I can only say that Mr Coates should clean up his own garbage within the club walls before pointing finger at anyone outside of it. "What exactly I mean is up to the club to reveal, as this is the last time I will comment on anything Stoke City says. "I'd personally like to thank Stoke for the courage they had four years ago when they signed my brother. "I would, in my own and Marko's names especially, like to thank Stoke fans and Mark Hughes for all the love they have shown. "But to be honest, I was expecting a little bit more respect from certain people within the club instead of reading attacking articles."

Arnautovic has already admitted he has gone from hero to zero in the eyes of Stoke fans after joining what he considers a bigger and more ambitious club in West Ham. And now his brother, in an interview with The Sun, continues: "My brother gave his whole heart to Stoke City and as an agent I pointed out earlier this year that this transfer window was crucial to show Marko and other players in which direction the club was heading. "I pointed out very clearly that it looked to us the club showed no ambitions in climbing in the table and that we thought that the club was happy just to stay in the league. This was and still is my opinion. "Now Marko has left and in a record transfer for Stoke City (£25m in total). I'm very happy that my brother made a huge profit for Stoke and that's our way of paying back for all the love the fans have shown. "He could've left last summer for a smaller amount than Stoke City got now, but Marko chose to stay and extend his contract. "This summer it was time to leave and he left Stoke with a huge transfer profit. They bought him for £2.5milion and sold him for ten times more. "I really hope that they will make the same profit on any other player in the future as I can't remember they have done it in the past. "Marko left Stoke City with his head held high feeling proud that he is the record sell in the long history of Stoke City and he is now fully focused on his new club and climbing the Premier League table. "Marko is not and never has been a person who looks back. He now has new targets and new fans to please at West Ham. "Together they will forever blow bubbles."

Real change in West Ham training mentality as Zabaleta and Hart make huge impact
The two experienced players have come in and there is a marked difference in the attitudes of the players around them to training sessions
Football London
08:17, 27 JUL 2017UPDATED08:20, 27 JUL 2017

It wasn't that long ago when Reece Oxford - who had just joined Reading on loan for six months - hinted that all was not what it was cracked up to be at West Ham's Rush Green training ground. He didn't say it as such, but his then manager Jaap Stam did, saying Oxford was "surprised" at the intensity of the training at Reading compared to what it was under Slaven Bilic. The manager himself even called out the players in training after their 5-0 thumping by Arsenal at the London Stadium last year, in the midst of that barren run where the Croat looked like he was ready to throw in the towel. Fast forward six months and the mood, intensity and attitudes at the training camp in Bothel couldn't be more different - it's almost a polar opposite - and that's down to two players. The tweet above demonstrates just how much of a perfectionist Zabaleta is and from's experience at the German training camp in Bothel so far this week, it's not the only time the Argentine has done that. He is demanding absolutely 100 per cent from his teammates, he was a winner with Manchester City and while this is not an Abu Dhabi training camp like he may have been used to, the standards should still be the same.
We have seen Zabaleta get angry as misplaced passes - his own as well as others - if a teammate isn't doing something right, he will call them out, but he is also offering advice to the younger players as well. Not only them, Aaron Cresswell has become a very shouty chap indeed. He is one of the first to hit the grass for training and one of the last to leave and is also showing his jovial side by taking part in some of Betway's commercial videos they want to film out here (they have a big presence in Austria, in case you didn't know).
The other major influence is Joe Hart, who despite only potentially being here for one season, is having a major impact.

Sam Inkersole ✔ @Sam_InkersoleTM
I'm up the other end of the training pitch from Joe Hart and can hear him screaming instructions crystal clear. Such a big help. #WHUFC
5:23 PM - Jul 25, 2017
30 30 Retweets 134 134 likes

Hart is an angry, angry man when he is on the training pitch. If he concedes a goal, he is livid with himself and often throws in a curse word or seven. He is an absolute perfectionist when it comes to goalkeeping. Whether it is 8v8 games or 11v11 games to end the session, you can always hear one voice - Hart's. Criticism that was levelled at Adrian and Darren Randolph last season is they both didn't communicate with their defence enough. There is no danger of that being the case with the England international. The communication is clear, constant, loud, to the point. There's no messing around - "NO SHOT" is the most commonly heard phrase on the training ground.
It certainly has had an effect on the other players too. There have been some tasty challenges flying about in the past few days, no-one is holding back and it really does look like there has been a momentum shift at West Ham. When Javier Hernandez eventually arrives, optimism will grown even more but the groundwork is being laid for a very good season ahead. Compared to last year, the difference is incredible.

Date: 26th July 2017 at 11:45pm
Written by: Forever Westham

David Sullivan has revealed his club are not done yet in the summer transfer market, and eyes one or two more signings before the new Premier League season starts in August. The West Ham co-Chairman says that despite his club's already busy summer window – in which they have signed all Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and most recently Javier Hernandez – the Hammers still want to make some signings 'for the future'. Sullivan told talkSPORT (via the Daily Express): "We had a policy up to now to buy players for now, not tomorrow. "We made a decision with the manager to buy players proven in the Premier League, who've been here before and 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, make investments in the future, while at the same time doing what's best for the club."

Date: 26th July 2017 at 11:30pm
Written by: Forever Westham

West Ham are 'pressing the hardest' of any of the Premier League clubs' interested in Celtic ace Moussa Dembele as they look to continue their summer spending, reports the Daily Express. Arsenal and Chelsea are amongst those interested in the Frenchman, but it is West Ham who are most keen to sign the striker who scored an impressive 32 times last season for Brendan Rodger's side. Dembele has been heavily linked with a move away from Scotland this summer after his terrific debut campaign, and manager Rodgers said despite wanting to keep hold of the player, he would 'assess any offers' that do come in for the former Fulham forward. West Ham have already had a busy summer, making four signings in the form of Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and most recently Javier Hernandez, who joined the Hammers in a £16 million deal from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen. Despite their business however, it is believed the Hammers are not done, and are expected to make one or two more signings before the season starts in August.

Ashley Fletcher set for £6.5m move to Middlesbrough after Championship club hold talks with West Ham
Fletcher is set to become the second player to move between clubs this week
The 21-year-old striker has been a loan target for Brighton and Huddersfield
West Ham manager recognises his chances will be more limited this season
By Simon Jones and Sami Mokbel
PUBLISHED: 00:34, 27 July 2017 | UPDATED: 00:34, 27 July 2017

Championship side Middlesbrough have made a £6.5million bid to sign West Ham striker Ashley Fletcher. The 21-year-old has been a loan target for Premier League sides Brighton and Huddersfield Town but Boro manager Garry Monk is a confirmed fan after trying to sign him for Leeds United last season.
Talks between the clubs are at an advanced stage and a deal could be agreed in the next 24 hours. The former Manchester United striker is well liked by manager Slaven Bilic but the West Ham manager recognises his chances will be more limited this season following the arrival of Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic.
Fletcher is set to become the second player within a week to move between West Ham and Boro after Darren Randolph left the London Stadium. Fletcher made 21 appearances last season having arrived on a free transfer from United.


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