Wednesday, July 5

Daily WHUFC News - 5th July 2017

Ogbonna praises 'incomparable' West Ham United fans

Angelo Ogbonna says West Ham United's 'incomparable' fans will inspire him to start the new Premier League season strongly. The Italy international celebrated his return to action after undergoing successful knee surgery by signing a new long-term contract with the Club last week. Now, as Ogbonna and the Hammers squad prepare to return for pre-season training, the No21 is already looking forward to running out in front of the Claret and Blue Army to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday 12 August. "The fans are really important for us," confirmed the centre-half, who assumed hero status after scoring a memorable last-gasp FA Cup winner against Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground in February 2016. "I cannot compare our fans with other fans because we are West Ham, we are more than a club and we are a family. "For us, it's important that we have people behind us. It makes things much better for us."

Ogbonna had an operation to rectify a long-standing knee issue in January, before returning for the final-day win at Burnley. Having played just one Premier League game in six months, the 29-year-old is understandably excited at the prospect of returning to action against Jose Mourinho's side. The former Juventus star has faced the Red Devils seven times since his arrival in east London in summer 2015, most notably when he started the unforgettable 3-2 victory in the final game at the Boleyn Ground in May last year. However, Ogbonna and the Hammers have not tasted success in any of the other six meetings – a record he is determined to improve next month. "I'm very excited for the start of the season," continued the Cassino-born star, who has won 21 and lost just 13 of the 48 Premier League matches he has played in Claret and Blue. "I cannot wait for the Manchester United game, not just me but also our whole team. "Everyone wants to show themselves but we have to be focused and prepare for that game by working hard in pre-season."

Despite missing four months through injury, Ogbonna still totalled 26 appearances in Claret and Blue last season, including 20 Premier League starts. The two-time Serie A winner is one of a stable of experienced international centre-halves at the Club, including Euro 2016 champion Jose Fonte, long-serving James Collins and Winston Reid. While some players may have been perturbed by the fierce competition for places in Slaven Bilic's team, Ogbonna appreciates from personal experience that big clubs need big squads to be able to compete at the highest level. "I think without competition, everything is boring!" confirmed the defender, who has kept 13 clean sheets in 48 Premier League appearances. "For my ambition, for my position and career, it's better to be around lots of people, lots of experience and to do really good in my work."

Byram returns early from summer holidays

Sam Byram has returned from an eventful summer in the United States to start his pre-season training at Rush Green a week early. The West Ham United full-back travelled to Los Angeles with his brother Mike, where the duo visited Universal Studios, the Walk of Fame, Santa Monica Pier and Dodger Stadium. However, the highlight of Byram's trip to The Golden State was the hike from Griffith Park up the Mount Hollywood trailhead to the world-famous Hollywood sign – despite the fact the siblings got lost! "Summer has been really good," the No22 confirmed, having returned to Rush Green ahead of the official start of pre-season training on Wednesday 5 July. "It is an important time to go away and rest your legs and have some fun and do some things with your family and friends. I've had a good four or five weeks, but it's time to put the work in now. "We had a really good time in Los Angeles. It's pretty chilled over there and the weather was nice and there's lots of stuff to do, so we kept busy and it was a really good trip. "We got up to all sorts! We'd never been there before, so we did all the tourist stuff, went to a few beaches and just enjoyed ourselves. "It was a tough walk up to the Hollywood sign! We got a bit lost at the start because there is one track that is pretty easy but longer, so we ended up [taking a different track] and going up the side of a cliff and were on our hands a fair bit trying to climb it! It was good fun and we got to the top!"

Byram's Hollywood trek came on his second visit to the United States, as he had previously headed to Las Vegas for Michail Antonio's stag do, where he witnessed more examples of the winger's unique dance moves! "It was really good. It was my first time in Las Vegas as well and Ashley Fletcher was there as well. Darren Randolph was also meant to be there, but he was with Ireland, which was a shame. "I really enjoyed it and will definitely go back again in the future as it was a great trip. Michail is an all right dancer to be fair! He's not bad!"

Having enjoyed his holidays, Byram returned to Rush Green last week, where he is one of a number of first-team players working on their fitness and rehabilitation. "We've got a programme to do over our holidays and I only live 15 minutes from the training ground, so it's easy for me to just pop in and use the facilities here to keep me in shape," the right-back explained. Slaven Bilic and his coaching staff and the remainder of the squad will be back at Rush Green on before flying to Austria for a warm-weather training camp – an experience Byram is not exactly relishing. "I think anyone who says they enjoy the first week [of a pre-season camp] is probably lying!" he smiled. "It is very tough but you need it to condition you for the rest of the season. "I've been to Austria every summer for the last four or five years so I pretty much know what to expect. "Before that, I'm looking forward to meeting back up with the group and catching up with everyone."

West Ham United set for pre-season return

West Ham United's 2017/18 campaign formally gets underway on Wednesday when the first group of first-team players report back to Rush Green for pre-season training.

While those involved in international action during the summer have been handed an extended break and will report for duty at a later date, manager Slaven Bilic will welcome back a significant number of his squad, including new signing Pablo Zabaleta, captain Mark Noble and the likes of Michail Antonio, Angelo Ogbonna and Andy Carroll as they continue their recovery from injury.

New Head of Medical Services Gary Lewin, who has already spent much of the summer at Rush Green planning for the return of the players and assisting those continuing their rehabilitation, will oversee the thorough medical testing that plays a big part on the first day of the pre-season programme.

The players will all be working in the new range of Umbro training wear - now available exclusively from our official online store.

Ambassador Antonio welcomes Amber the Hammer

West Ham United Ladies ambassador Michail Antonio has welcomed new signing Amber Stobbs to the Club. The Hammer of the Year was on hand at Rush Green to meet fellow London-born winger Stobbs, who will combine her role as a first-team player with that of Women and Girls Officer with the West Ham United Foundation. The pair spent time touring the training ground and talking about their respective careers and ambitions, as well as their shared target of increasing female engagement and participation in the sport. Stobbs told Antonio she hopes the Hammers can challenge for the FA Women's Premier League Southern Division title this coming season. "Obviously we have got goals as a Club to climb the ladder in women's football coming up in a few years," she explained to the No30. "This year, the aim is obviously to get good results and get the foundations that we need to get to where we want to be." Former non-league star Antonio has always been keen to promote the game's grassroots, whether that be by coaching youngsters at his first club Tooting & Mitcham, running his own soccer school or in his new role encouraging more girls to take up football. "It was just one of those things where growing up, I came through the non-league route and I am always intrigued by grassroots football and their foundations," he told Stobbs. "I started up my own soccer school, and I always want to give back. "I'm not just thinking about the boys, it's also for the girls. I like to see how West Ham have taken the step forward in bringing the women's team as part of the Club. I like that they've asked me to be a part of it and to try and help and to boost the popularity of the women's team."

The attacking duo also discussed their respective targets for the 2017/18 season, long-term ambitions and approaches to football in a revealing West Ham TV interview.

Giroud seeking Arsenal stay
Filed: Tuesday, 4th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham transfer target Olivier Giroud insists that he wants to stay and fight for his place at Arsenal. The 30-year-old French international has beeen strongly linked with a move to West Ham in recent weeks after it was revealed his current club were seeking to replce him. But speaking to the Arsenal website today, Giroud insisted that his time at the Emirates is far from over - and that he has no intention of walking away from a contract that has a further three years yet to run. "I won a few titles in my career, that is an important thing, but there is another thing which is important for me," he said. "That is, that people [see you as a] loyal warrior on the pitch and that you always give your best for the team. "That's why I want to carry on my good journey at Arsenal. I always want to give my best. "I would love to win another title, or maybe more until the end of my contract. The motivation is here, always doing your best to make your family proud."
Arsenal are currently close to signing former Hammers target Alexander Lacazette, which would leave Giroud as clear second choice. Free-spending Everton are also monitoring the situation.

Feghouli heading for Gala?
Filed: Tuesday, 4th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham winger Sofiane Feghouli is close to sealing a move to Turkey. Turkish giants Galatasary are reported (Bein Sports) to have had an offer - worth in the region of €4.5million - accepted by the Hammers for the Algerian international following talks. And Feghouli is said to be considering his options, despite having two years of the three-year contract he signed last summer upon moving from Valencia left to run.

* West Ham's interest in Sevilla captain Vicente Iborra is over after the 29-year-old midfielder agreeed to join Leicester City. West Bromwich Albion and Watford had also expressed an interest in signing the former Los Rojiblancos captain, who is set to become a City played after the two clubs agreed a deal worth around €12million.

New pre-season date announced
Filed: Tuesday, 4th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham are set to play an additional friendly in Austria this summer. The Hammers, who are already due to face Werder Bremen (twice) and Altona 93 at the end of July/beginning of August have added a fourth European friendly into their schedule. And the latest team to sign up to a summer friendly against the Hammers are Sturm Graz Amatuers, who are set to face the Hammers on 17 July in Bad Waltersdorf.
West Ham previously visited the training camp, based in Styria, back in 2012 when they were beaten 3-1 by Austria Wien in a pre-season friendly. They were also scheduled to play Werder Bremen at the same venue back in July 2009, but the game was cancelled due to heavy rain.

West Ham Utd: confirmed pre-season dates

17th July: SK Sturm Graz
28th July: Werder Bremen (n)
29th July: Werder Bremen (n)
1st August: Altona 93 (a)
4th August: Manchester City (n)

West Ham offload Enner Valencia to Mexican club Tigres as Slaven Bilic turns his attention to two new forwards
Bilic was happy to part with the striker who managed just 10 goals in 66 outings for the Hammers
The Mirror
22:17, 4 JUL 2017

West Ham have finally offloaded Enner Valencia to Mexican outfit Tigres. After a fortnight of protracted negotiations, the Hammers struck a deal to sell the Ecuador striker for an undisclosed fee. The 27-year-old spent last season out on loan at Everton. But after a poor return of three goals in 23 appearances, Toffees boss Ronald Kidman opted not to keep Valencia. West Ham boss Slaven Bilic was happy to part with the striker, however, three years after he arrived in east London from Mexican club Pachuca for £12million. In 66 outings for the Hammers, Valencia managed just 10 goals. West Ham will now turn their attention to bringing in two new strikers. The Hammers are willing to spend £15m on Burnley forward Andre Gray, while they remain interested in Arsenal frontman Olivier Giroud, Bayer Leverkusen ace Javier Hernandez and Manchester City starlet Kelechi Iheanacho. A £22m bid for Cologne striker Anthony Modeste was rejected, with the German club demanding as much as £40m for the 29-year old former Blackburn Rovers player Villarreal forward Cedric Bakumbu is on target for Bilic as he looks to bolster his squad in time for the new Premier League season.

Date: 4th July 2017 at 7:29pm
Written by: Forever Westham

Rumours are circulating today that West Ham are ready to listen for offers for both Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho. The whispers come as the club search for a high profile striker ahead of the new season, after having struggled in front of goal in the last campaign. The club's top scorer was Michail Antonio with 9, which is extremely disappointing – not on Michail's part as he was excellent – but seeing firstly he spent a chunk of the season out injured, but mostly because he played as a right-back for the majority of it too. The need for a striker is obvious. However, to sell both of the club's main attacking options too seems ludicrous. Sell one, yes. Sell both, no. But who to sell? For me, as it should be for you, the answer is very clear.

Since arriving at West Ham for then a club record fee of £15 million, Andy Carroll has ultimately failed to deliver. While he cannot be condemned for his desire (and his over-head kicking ability of course) when it comes to goalscoring and ability, the big man does not have what it takes to lead the line for the Hammers. 30 goals in 5 seasons, that is 6 a year, is not good enough, regardless of injury problems. Add to that that Slaven Bilic's side turn significantly more one dimensional with Carroll in the side, and I would be happy to see him leave the London Stadium this summer.

Diafra Sakho, however, tells a slightly different story. The Senegal striker has been plagued with injury since his arrival at West Ham, even more so than Carroll, but has still managed to find the net 20 times in 54 appearances in Claret and Blue. Many of those were from the bench. In his only real 'full' season for the club in 14/15, he managed 10 in 23 top flight appearances, and 14 for the season – a solid record.

Big, strong and aerial presence – just like Carroll – Sakho is the target man the club want, but also so much more than that. His ability on the ball, distribution and running in behind all supersede the Englishman.

As a club with a record of signing poor attackers of the years, Sakho can be considered an exception to that rule, and you cannot help but feel that if he was to stay fit he could be the man to fire in the goals for the club, or at the very least be a good second option.

Keep Sakho. Sell Carroll. Do you agree?

Date: 4th July 2017 at 7:27pm
Written by: Forever Westham

West Ham are hoping Pablo Zabaleta can help lure Kelechi Iheanacho to the club for £25 million, says The Sun. Zabaleta joined the Hammers on a free transfer following being released from the Sky Blues after nine seasons in Manchester, while Iheanacho is rumoured to be on his way-out of the Etihad this summer amidst interest from West Ham and Leicester City. The Argentine and Nigerian pair were allegedly good friends when together at City, and the club hope that that kinship could be the clinching factor when it comes to the young striker deciding his next destination. A source close to the club said: "West Ham think Zaba can help get Kele to the club. They know each other pretty well. "Zaba took the young lad under his wing during their time at the Etihad and they have a good relationship." Iheanacho made only eight starts for City last season after falling behind in the pecking order to Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero, yet still managed to find the back of the net an impressive 9 times.

West Ham's top transfer target this summer isn't a player - it's a director of football
West Ham transfer news is dominated by possible player incomings but the addition of a director of football could aid manager Slaven Bilic
Football London
19:00, 4 JUL 2017UPDATED20:33, 4 JUL 2017

The summer months are always something of a guessing game in football, hypothesising upon who will end up where, but the guessing at the London Stadium has been wilder than anywhere else in recent months. Nobody, perhaps not even the people involved themselves, truly knows how West Ham will shape up next season. Barely a day passes without the Hammers being linked with a new transfer target. Olivier Giroud is the subject of this week's speculation, with Theo Walcott, Javier Hernandez, Anthony Modeste and Michy Batshuayi, just to name a few, all reportedly on West Ham's radar. In isolation, these are targets of a reasonable calibre, but together the conclusion is much more muddled. What exactly is West Ham's transfer strategy? Is there a holistic vision for the future of the club? Because if there is, it's difficult to see it through the players being targeted this summer. They might be in the market for a centre forward, but the approach to finding one has been scattergun.
Rather than closing their eyes and pointing at transfer targets, West Ham should prioritise the employment of a figure who can do the pointing for them. They need a director of football, someone to devise a transfer market strategy and oversee the implementation of such a blueprint. This lack of direction is symptomatic of where West Ham find themselves in general at the moment. As a club, they are drifting, which too many boardroom and outside influences pulling them in different directions. Last season, this manifested itself in the furore over life at the new London Stadium.
West Ham's identity crisis is down to much more than just the decision to leave the Boleyn Ground, though. The self-proclaimed academy of football, for starters, has shown a complete disregard for its academy in recent years. Mark Noble is the only academy graduate currently in the West Ham senior squad, illustrating how the once strong links between the club's youth ranks and its first team have disintegrated Once renowned for their distinctive personality, both on and off the field, West Ham are on the brink of becoming the most generic, stereotypical of Premier League clubs.

Slaven Bilic might have been given the benefit of the doubt for a below-par season last season, but the Croatian can hardly claim to have imposed any kind of recognisable style on the Hammers over the course of his tenure, even taking into account his impressive first year. West Ham fans expect better, and with good reason. This isn't the club that they fell in love with, this is a club that has been warped by the modern mould of the Premier League and everything that comes with it.

For so long, the Hammers longed to compete financially with some of their rivals. Now that they can, it doesn't seem so important. A director of football decides much more than just transfer strategy, providing another reason why West Ham are in desperate need of such a staff member. They don't just need someone to identity transfer targets and potential signings, but someone to guide the club in a certain direction, any direction. English football still hasn't fully embraced the concept of the Director of Football, but West Ham should look across London to White Hart Lane (or what's left of it) for a precedent on how such a model can work. Daniel Levy isn't a director of football by name, with his role at the club encompassing even more responsibility, but he has guided Spurs, both in the transfer market and in a wider sense, to their current success. Chelsea have Michael Emenalo as their technical director too, with the Nigerian arguably turning the Blues into one of the shrewdest transfer market operators around in recent years. West Ham must look to implement a similar model. Because there's very little that links Giroud, Walcott, Hernandez, Modeste and Batshuayi

Birmingham City boss Harry Redknapp urges ex-Manchester United, West Ham and QPR man Ravel Morrison 'not to waste all that fantastic ability'
The troublesome playmaker, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Loftus Road, has been invited to St Andrews for a month in order to earn himself a contract with the Blues.
Football London
14:30, 4 JUL 2017

Former QPR manager Harry Redknapp has told Ravel Morrison "there is only one mug who will take a chance on you now and that's me", after taking the midfielder on trial at Birmingham City. The troublesome playmaker, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Loftus Road, has been invited to St Andrews for a month in order to earn himself a contract with the Blues. Morrison has an undoubted level of quality but has failed to show this on a consistent basis, despite having played for Manchester United, West Ham, Lazio and Cardiff City. But Harry Redknapp is keen to give the 24-year-old one final chance to prove he can be a top player. Speaking to TalkSport, Redknapp said: "He's such a talent. His ability is up there with the best there is around. "I have taken him for a month on trial and said to him: 'Come and show what you can do, earn yourself a contract, don't waste all that fantastic ability, and prove to people that you can produce and behave'. "He is not a bad lad. He is not a nasty boy in any shape or form. He has been easily led by the wrong people, but he trained yesterday and some of the stuff he does is fantastic. I love watching him play."

West Ham star returns for pre-season a week early as he hopes to challenge new signing
Sam Byram knows he must impress Slaven Bilic after
Football London
12:30, 4 JUL 2017UPDATED12:53, 4 JUL 2017

Sam Byram has returned to pre-season training a week early at West Ham as he prepares to challenge Pablo Zabaleta for the right-back spot at the club. The Hammers players are not due to report back to Rush Green until tomorrow but the 23-year-old is already well underway in his pre-season preparations. Slaven Bilic had a number of problems at right-back last season and he has brought in Zabaleta in an attempt to solve the issues ahead of the upcoming campaign. The former Leeds United player, who missed a large chunk of last season through a hamstring injury, will now be hoping that his extra work can put him in pole position for the right-back position when the Hammers travel to Manchester United on the opening day. Byram, speaking to the club's official website, said: "We've got a programme to do over our holidays and I only live 15 minutes from the training ground, so it's easy for me to just pop in and use the facilities here to keep me in shape. "I think anyone who says they enjoy the first week [of a pre-season camp] is probably lying! It is very tough but you need it to condition you for the rest of the season. "I've been to Austria every summer for the last four or five years so I pretty much know what to expect. "Before that, I'm looking forward to meeting back up with the group and catching up with everyone."


Turkish outlet BeinSportsTR are reporting that West Ham's Algerian winger Sofiane Feghouli is close to completing a €4.5m move to Galatasaray. Feghouli has been linked with a move away from West Ham this summer after a sub-par season after his free transfer from Valencia last summer although he did show his potential with goals against the likes of Crystal Palace and Burnley on the last game of the season. Next season Feghouli will be facing competition from Andre Ayew, Michail Antonio, Robert Snodgrass, Manuel Lanzini and any new forward signings for playing time, so a move away could interest him According to the report, Galatasaray's CEO Cenk Ergun is in London looking to secure a deal for the winger after he was successful in signing Bafetimbi Gomis from Swansea City.
Feghouli has insisted he is happy to remain at West Ham this summer but it looks like he may be on his way if these reports are to believed.

Javier Hernandez deal will prove whether West Ham owners are serious about making progress
Damien Lucas

West Ham United are desperate to sign a striker or two this summer but have not had much luck so far. The Hammers have made signing two top strikers a priority this summer after their failure to land a big name marquee forward last summer. Slaven Bilic has been linked with moves for the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Kelechi Iheanacho, Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud but it seems the club are no closer to adding to their solitary signing of Pablo Zabaleta so far this summer.
And now the East Londoners have been linked with a move to bring Mexico striker and former Manchester United star Javier Hernandez back to the Premier League, as reported by Sky Sports. It shocked many when Chicarito was sold to Bundesliga also rans Bayer Leverkusen for just £7.5million back in 2015 following a loan spell at Real Madrid. What didn't shock anybody was the fact he has gone on to continue his superb goalscoring record in Germany, notching 39 goals in his two seasons, maintaining his ratio of a goal every two matches. That kind of potency in front of goal - which Hernandez has displayed in becoming Mexico's all-time leading goalscorer - and the fact he is proven in the Premier League with 40 goals in 100 games for the Red Devils, is exactly what Bilic is looking for this summer as the manager has publicly admitted.
The Hammers were linked with Hernandez after Bilic was appointed but were allegedly put off when the 29-year-old demanded £90,000 per goal, as reported by The Mirror at the time. But even if he bagged 20 goals in the claret and blue that would cost West Ham just £2 million - small fry in today's cash rich football world.
Hernandez is into the last year of his three-year deal and Sky Sports reports that he has a rather paltry release clause of £13million in his contract. Hammers owners David Sullivan and David Gold have bemoaned the fact they have not had much luck luring a top striker to East London in the past year. Well with such a low release clause and money burning a hole in the club's pockets, there can be no excuse for West Ham's hierarchy not to get the deal over the line. West Ham's star playmaker Manuel Lanzini would undoubtedly relish playing with his fellow South American and it would transform the East Londoners, making them a real threat to the top six.

Why West Ham & Newcastle United target Cedric Bakambu is simply perfect for the Premier League
The Villarreal man is in demand this summer
Football London
09:33, 4 JUL 2017

The pool of pure, natural strikers is ever decreasing in football. The forwards in the moulds of Alan Shearer and Matt Le Tissier are nowhere to be found as the sport continues to create multifunctional, jack of all trades players to fit systems, not formations. Wingers are converted into full backs, strikers are converted into wingers and midfielders are converted into centre. To find a natural, out and out striker, is tougher than locating Carmen Sandiego. West Ham United have been desperately searching for a striker to end their unlucky run of signings. They picked up Andy Carroll, a throwback to the burly centre forward who would harass defenders, but he seems incapable of staying fit.
Diafra Sakho initially did well but has scored just six league goals over the last two seasons, injuries crippling his influence also. Only Demba Ba in recent memory stands out as truly good enough – and he was around for just six months! The past year has produced yet more failures. Simone Zaza, like Ba, was only at the club for six months. However this was due to how disappointing his performances were as opposed to a bigger club whisking him away. Jonathan Calleri, another South American punt, turned out to be no better than the rest. He only mustered four starts in the league and scored just a single goal. That's simple not good enough if you have ambitions of challenging the top six or eight sides.
It should be stressed that because of the limited quality strikers available it's by no means an easy task. The elite forwards are often already at bigger clubs than West Ham and should they seek pastures new they tend to aim higher than restoring the Hammers further up the table. So the task is simple, yet difficult, and that requires them to search for those players with potential to become star strikers but who, at the moment, aren't quite there.
News filtered through this week that West Ham are interested in the services of Cedric Bakambu. The Congolese striker, currently on the books of LaLiga side Villarreal, impressed a lot of people in his debut season in Spain as he scored 22 goals in all competitions. Alongside former Tottenham Hotspur striker Roberto Soldado the pair formed a fine partnership.
In the Europa League Bakambu scored four of Villarreal's six in the semi-final clash against Sparta Prague. In the previous round against Bayer Levekusen he also scored the only goals of the two-legged quarter final. His fine exploits in Europe caused a lot of clubs to keep an eye on the striker's progress. Villarreal, in a way, are similar to West Ham. They can't afford to compete with the richest teams but can instead offer an opportunity to those either overlooked or discarded by them. Bakambu's record In Ligue 1 was pretty forgettable but his form in the Turkish Super Lig attracted the Yellow Submarine's interest. 21 goals in 39 appearances for Bursaspor earned him a move to LaLiga for a mere €8m. Now I know what you're thinking, there's a lot being said about what Bakambu did before joining Villarreal and in his debut campaign but less so about last year. That's because it wasn't his best. He missed the first couple of months of the season due to an injury he picked up in preseason. In his first two starts following that time out, he scored in both games. However he wasn't fully match fit and then it was time for him to leave for the African Cup of Nations.
That isn't to say his performances were poor either. Towards the end of the season he scored seven goals in his last seven matches including a consolation against Barcelona. This saw Bakambu finish with double figures for the second consecutive year and just two shy of his tally in the previous campaign. Without injuries or international tournaments, it isn't a stretch to say he would've scored more. So what's Bakambu like? Physically the guy is suited to the Premier League. He often uses his power to gain a yard of space or send a defender to the ground. He combines his strength with a quick turn of pace which means if he gets beyond the last man no one is going to catch him. More often than not Bakambu is clinical in front of goal too which makes marking him a tough prospect.

There is a downside to the Congo striker though: he's a streaky player. Think of him like West Ham old boy Jermain Defoe in that regard. He's capable of scoring seven or eight goals in a ten-game period then score none in the next set of fixtures. You can't rotate Bakambu in and out of the side either, he relies on continuity and understanding with his teammates. When he's good, he's very good, but there will be drop-offs from time to time. That's why he's currently at Villarreal and not say an Atletico Madrid or a Sevilla.

However the good far outweighs the bad when it comes to Bakambu. He is a pure striker in that he has a sixth sense of where the ball is likely to drop or be played to. So often you see him peel off the back of his marker to fashion a yard of space making it easier for the crosser to get the ball to him. Also, Bakambu displays great technical ability and his first touch allows him to either shoot or find a teammate straight away.

Date: 3rd July 2017 at 11:52pm
Written by: Forever Westham

Watford have joined the race to sign West Ham striker Ashley Fletcher, says the Hertfordshire Mercury. Fletcher, 20, signed for the Hammers on a free transfer from Manchester United last summer, but has since struggled to make an impression at the London Stadium, making just two starts all season and scoring once – that being against his old club in November. With West Ham looking to recruit a high profile striker this summer, Fletcher could be allowed to leave the club should the right offer come in. Watford join a number of clubs interested in the former Barnsley loanee, with Burnley and Huddersfield also keen to take on the striker. The Terriers are thought to be preparing a £5 million bid for Fletcher as they look to bolster their attacking options ahead in their inaugural season in the Premier League. Fletcher will re-join his team-mates at West Ham for pre-season on July 15th.

Javier Hernandez: West Ham want deal done quickly, negotiations underway
WEST HAM want to seal a move swiftly for Javier Hernandez so they can begin fixing their frontline, reports claim.
PUBLISHED: 06:30, Tue, Jul 4, 2017

Slaven Bilic's top priority in the summer transfer window is to add more firepower. The Hammers are looking to bring in two strikers capable of leading their attack next season. With injury-prone Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho having proved unreliable, attention has recently turned to Hernandez. The former Manchester United striker has Premier League experience and a solid record in front of goal. While Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi, Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho and Arsenal's Olivier Giroud have been targeted so far, West Ham have been forced to remain patient while their rivals find replacements first. At Bayer Leverkusen though, The Telegraph claim West Ham have been given encouragement a deal can be struck for Hernandez. The Mexico star, who is now finished with his international duty at the Confederations Cup, has a £13million release clause in his contract. The Hammers can comfortably meet that fee, and Leverkusen have not made any move to offer Hernandez an extension. He has just 12 months remaining on his current deal, but the 29-year-old has few clubs chasing his services. As a result, the Mirror say West Ham want to move quickly to land Hernandez, having been left frustrated in the market up to now. Talks are said to be underway with Hernandez over a return to England, with wage demands potentially the only sticking point. The relatively cheap fee, though, would mean West Ham could still pursue another permanent deal for a striker. The Telegraph add Alexandre Lacazette's imminent arrival at Arsenal has left the Hammers optimistic Giroud can be lured to the London Stadium too.

West Ham fans left disappointed as Tottenham Hotspur react quickest to recruit Scott Parker
Damien Lucas

Former West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur star Scott Parker announced his retirement from football last week and has quickly been snapped up as a coach.
The three-time Hammer of the Year and former England international is the only player to represent five different London clubs. It is perhaps even more remarkable that he is fondly remembered and respected by the majority of fans at all of them despite the intense football rivalry between fans in the capital.
A section of Hammers fans will never forgive Parker for leaving their club for bitter rivals Spurs after their relegation. But when it was revealed Parker has been taking his coaching badges after his retirement this week, The Sun reported Spurs were keen to recruit him as a youth coach. West Ham fans took to online forums and social media to demand owners David Gold and David Sullivan act fast to beat their rivals to the punch and bring the former favourite back to East London instead. But they have been left disappointed after Mauricio Pochettino's side got the jump on the Hammers, as Spurs have announced Parker as their new Under-18s coach and club ambassador on their official website.
The 36-year-old was reportedly in talks with Spurs for the past few months about the possibility of beginning his coaching career with them as part of their academy team. But after Gold angered Hammers fans with controversial comments over the prospects of young players in the Premier League, supporters wanted to see the club be proactive and prove they are serious about their academy. One way of doing that would have been to recruit the three-time Hammer of the Year as he embarks on a new phase of his career in the dug-out. West Ham either did not react quick enough or felt Parker was not needed. But John McDermott, Spurs' Head of Coaching and Player Development, says Parker will be influential in shaping the careers. "Scott will need no introduction in terms of his playing credentials. He's been planning a career in coaching for a number of years and during his time here he was not only completing his coaching qualifications but dealing with players in real life situations," McDermott told "Scott's role within the Academy will be to manage the Under-18s players and to instil the standards required to be an elite international and Premier League player. "I know how passionately Scott feels about the personal qualities Mauricio needs from players to be a success in our first team and I know he will develop these qualities in our players on and off the training pitch."

Newcastle United enter race for £28m West Ham target Cedric Bakambu
The Hammers face competition for the Villarreal striker
Football London
07:00, 4 JUL 2017

Rafa Benitez is reportedly interested in signing Villarreal frontman Cedric Bakambu this summer and wants to gazump West Ham. The Hammers have reportedly had a £22m bid for the Congolose striker snubbed by his current employers as they aim to keep hold of their prized asset. Our colleagues at the Mirror are believe the Toon are in the race but - like West Ham - they will have to break their transfer record if they want to sign the 26-year-old. Their current record is the £17m they paid to sign Michael Owen from Real Madrid 12 years ago, while West Ham's is the £20.1m they paid to Swansea for Andre Ayew's services last summer.
The Hammers put in bids for Bakambu and Cologne striker Anthony Modeste at the same time last week but saw both of them rejected, with their attentions now turning to Bayer Leverkusen and former Man United striker Javier Hernandez. Moves for Kelechi Iheanacho and Olivier Giroud have stalled, with the Hammers waiting for others to do business before they try to complete deals of their own this summer. Just one new face has arrived in E20 during this window, that of Pablo Zabaleta who has joined from Manchester City on a free transfer.


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