Saturday, July 8

Daily WHUFC News - 8th July 2017

West Ham keeper Adrian keen to hit the ground running

West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian is keen to hit the ground running and perform in pre-season as he means to go on when the Premier League campaign begins in August. The Spanish stopper will travel to Austria, Germany and Iceland with Slaven Bilic's squad as part of their European Tour this summer as the Hammers face German sides Werder Bremen and Altona 93, as well as Manchester City. The east Londoners returned to their Rush Green base to report for the first day of training on Wednesday before they jet off to mainland Europe on Monday. And the 30-year-old sees the pre-season campaign as a chance for the team to reach their top levels before the domestic season kicks-off against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday 13 August. "We are really looking forward to pre-season and heading to first Austria and then Germany," he said. "We really want to train well, train hard and start our best form before the start of the Premier League.
"Of course it's a chance to get as fit as possible, as soon as possible. The start of the season is coming very quickly, and I think we need to train very well and to play strong in the friendly games that we have. "Everyone is pleased to be back in training. I'm happy to see the boys again and to see everyone. I think everyone is the same; we're all pleased to see our teammates."

It was the first chance for many members of Bilic's outfit to meet new signing Pablo Zabaleta, who arrived from Manchester City earlier this summer. Adrian 363And though Adrian has played against the full-back in the past, the No13 was delighted to welcome him to the Club. "It was a chance to meet Pablo properly too, which was great," he continued. "He's new for the lads and for the group in the dressing room. "It's always a happy moment to be back in training and it's exciting to meet any new lads. Pablo did very well in his first session! "He is very professional, has lots of experience at good clubs and for us, it's a very good player to come and help us out. To give the squad his experience and his quality is brilliant for us."

And over the summer, while many of his teammates were unwinding, Adrian was far from relaxed as he dealt with the arrival of his second child Eric. "Summer was a very busy time for me," the Spaniard laughed. "It was a different kind of break, but always to be back in Seville – this time having our second baby – is good. "The family is all-round fine, but when you have your second one, and the other one is a baby still too – 17-months-old – we are very busy! But I enjoyed a lot spending time with my family."

West Ham fans set for record-breaking Pride in London Parade

The Pride of Irons supporters' club will live up to their name when they take part in the Pride in London Parade this weekend. The group, which represents and supports West Ham United's LGBT+ fans, will be among the tens of thousands of people proudly marching through the centre of the capital on Saturday afternoon.
Pride of Irons treasurer Al Holmes is delighted not only to be taking part in the event, but also that the 50-strong party will be joined for the first time by the Club's eye-catching mascot Hammerhead and popular Supporter Liaison Officers (SLOs). "We have got 50 places in Pride, which we have filled easily, and we are pleased to be being joined by Hammerhead and some of our SLOs!" Holmes told "We will be walking right through the centre of London, down Oxford Street, promoting not only Pride in London but also West Ham United. We want to see and meet as many Hammers fans as we can, so if anyone is out in central London on Saturday, come over and say 'Hello'! "This year's event is going to be the biggest Pride in London March that's ever been held in London, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, so it is a very significant one."

Holmes said Pride of Irons, which was formed in early 2015, continues to grow rapidly, with more and more LGBT fans and their families and friends getting involved. The supporters' club has held a number of successful social events, while Holmes also believes its existence has encouraged lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender fans to attend matches in person, when they might previously have not. "We attended a few matches at London Stadium as a group last season and a number of fans have said they wouldn't have come along if we hadn't held social events beforehand," Holmes explained. "We have also worked with the Club's supporter services manager Jake Heath and held a session with the SLOs to raise the profile and their awareness of our LGBT supporters. We will look to repeat that session with the stewards in the new season."

While Pride of Irons are making things easier and more comfortable for supporters in and around London Stadium, Holmes is also hopeful of a positive start to 2017/18 on the pitch. "Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini promise so much and it will be good to see them back in action when the season gets underway," he said. "I'm sure there will be some exciting signings made before the Premier League kicks-off and I'm confident we will have a good year in our second season at London Stadium. "We have a strong squad and I and my fellow Pride of Irons members are certainly excited about the new season."

Hammers legend McAvennie's back in town!

West Ham United legend Frank McAvennie made his first visit to London Stadium on Friday morning and admitted he can't wait to get back again for a match next season! Frank, now 57 and living back in his native Glasgow, was in town to attend the opening of a new restaurant in Stratford and couldn't resist hopping across the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to get his first taste of the Hammers' home. "I'm delighted to be here," said Frank. "It's the first time I've had a chance to get to the stadium because I've been so busy over the past year. "It's obviously very different to what I was used to at the Boleyn Ground, but it's the future of West Ham United and the fans are getting more and more used to it. "I'm really looking forward to getting back here for a few games next season and meeting up with the fans again."

The former Scotland international, who joined the Hammers from St Mirren for £340,000 in August 1985, became an instant Upton Park crowd hero during his debut campaign, and insists the claret and blue faithful are still as special as they were then. "I watched the Tottenham game at the end of last season and the atmosphere was great," he said. "Hopefully next season will bring a lot more memories like that. "If the team give 100% every week, the fans will back them. To have sold out 52,000 Season Tickets six weeks before the start of the season is fantastic, and tells you everything you need to know about West Ham supporters."

Frank, who famously bagged 28 goals during that record-breaking 1985-86 season, keeps a close eye on the Hammers' fortunes from north of the border, and is hoping that a new goalscoring hero goes on to emulate his achievements next season. It's no secret that the Club are looking to bring in a striker or two," he said. "There are obviously a lot of names being mentioned but I'm sure that the manager has got his targets and the Chairmen will be working hard to get deals done.
"Part of the reason for moving to London Stadium was to attract better players and if I was a young player now, I'd be desperate to ply my trade here. "West Ham are a club who should be up there challenging in the top half of the table, and if they can bring in a couple more new faces then I'm sure they can achieve that target next season."

Hammers fans can meet Frank today at the opening of a new restaurant in Stratford, GDK, at 50 The Broadway, E15 1NG. Frank will be there from 1pm until 7pm, signing autographs, posing for photos, and sharing memories of his goalscoring glory days!

Valencia completes medical
Filed: Friday, 7th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

Enner Valencia has completed a medical ahead of his planned move to Mexican side Tigres.

The West Ham striker is set to leave the club three years after moving to London in a £12million switch from fellow Mexican side Pachua.

The two clubs are understood to have agreed a fee in the region of £7million for the 26-year-old striker, who spent last season on loan at Everton.

Valencia is currently locked in talks with representatives of Pachua in order to thrash out contractual terms.

OS to host mid-season rugby match
Filed: Friday, 7th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

The Olympic Stadium will host a rugby match between North London club Saracens and rivals Harlequins on Saturday, 24 March - slap bang between two West Ham home games. On Saturday, 17 March West Ham play Manchester United at the venue in a Premier League fixture whilst Southampton are the visitors a fortnight later, on Saturday, 31 March. However it was announced this morning that on the weekend between the two fixtures (Saturday 24 March), the stadium will be converted to host the Aviva Premiership fixture which, in recent years, had been staged at Wembley. "As a visionary and innovative club we are delighted to be teaming up with a stadium and team that matches our ambition to create a landmark showpiece event, "said Saracens CEO Heath Harvey. "London Stadium has become synonymous with delivering great entertainment and sporting spectacles and this opportunity is one that both parties are very excited about."

And Stadium Chief Executive Linda Lennon added: "We are delighted to announce our partnership with Saracens and look forward to welcoming their supporters for a fixture of such prestige. "We take immense pride in delivering a diverse calendar of events and look forward to building a strong bond with Saracens and their supporters."

Why Javier Hernandez could be a success for West Ham United
By Ben McAleer,
Last Updated: 07/07/17 6:30am

West Ham have been linked with a move for former Man Utd striker Javier Hernandez - and the Mexican could be what they need, explains's Ben McAleer...

West Ham's hunt for a striker has been a long-drawn out affair. The Hammers pressed and pressed for a big-name frontman last summer and pursued Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Michy Batshuayi, Alexandre Lacazette and Carlos Bacca, but were disappointed as the former duo moved to Manchester United and Chelsea, respectively, while the latter pair remained at Lyon and AC Milan. In the end, West Ham signed Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri. Both, as one might expect, disappointed. Zaza only lasted six months before a switch to Valencia. Calleri netted just one goal and it was no shock that the club opted against making his loan move permanent. It's back to square one then as far as Slaven Bilic and the side is concerned, with Andy Carroll the Croat's only viable option up front. However, the England international's ongoing fitness concerns means Bilic is unable to consistently call upon the 28-year-old.

He was the Hammers' top scoring frontman with seven goals to his name last season, a respectable return considering injury disrupted his campaign, but the striking department is an area that needs addressing this summer. They can't expect to launch an assault on a European finish without strengthening in the final third and it's looking increasingly likely that the Hammers will dip into the market again sooner rather than later.

West Ham have already landed right-back Pablo Zabaleta to improve Bilic's defensive options and - according to reports - Javier Hernandez could be the next to arrive at the London Stadium.

In an inflated summer market, Chicharito is believed to have a paltry £13m release clause in his contract. Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen would be reluctant to lose their top scorer, but are powerless to stop the Mexico international from departing if he sees fit.

Their poor showing in Germany's top tier last season has already prompted a minor exodus, with Turkish pair Omer Toprak and Hakan Calhanoglu having already left for Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan, respectively, while Kevin Kampl is widely expected to follow the pair out of the BayArena exit. Chicharito is set to take his leave after a season that saw Bayer Leverkusen finish just four points above the Bundesliga's relegation playoff spot.

For his price and goalscoring expertise, he could be the ideal pickup for a West Ham side gunning for a European finish in the coming campaign. At 29 years of age, it might be now or never for Chicharito to secure a return to the Premier League where he impressed when handed the opportunity for Manchester United. While his final full season at Old Trafford returned just four Premier League goals, it was a campaign that is best remembered for David Moyes' ill-fated spell as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor.

His good form in Germany's suggests he still has the means to succeed in England, particularly in a side that would look to build the attack around the Mexican forward. Indeed, in the last three seasons in Europe's top five leagues, Chicharito has a conversion rate, excluding penalties, of 23.6%; only Luis Suarez (25.1%) has better of those to score 30 or more non-penalty goals over the same period. He's developed a statistically calculated strength of 'finishing' and for good reason considering his respectable return in front of goal.

Should West Ham make Chicharito the main man and task him with scoring goals and nothing else, then the Hammers would have at their disposal the ideal striker to fire them up the Premier League table towards the European spots. Considering his price tag and experience in England's top tier, it's remarkable that there is not a longer list of potential suitors for Chicharito, but a lack of interest could well be West Ham's gain.

An average of 9.4 key passes per game was a mid-table return for the Hammers in England's top tier last term, but that figure dropped to 8.4 key passes per game once Dimitri Payet departed at the turn of the year.

It's of the utmost importance, then, that they bring in a striker who is more than capable of tucking these chances away on a regular basis and having averaged a goal every 56 touches in the last two Bundesliga seasons, the fourth-best return of players to score 10 or more goals in that time, Chicharito can be seen as the perfect frontman for Bilic's side.

Provided he can replicate his best form, Chicharito has the means to take to the Premier League with ease for a second time in his career.

As the top teams play more and more games per season, a striker of his ilk would make for a solid deputy in attack, though you wouldn't blame Chicharito for turning down a bench role for a more prominent position in a team and it's perhaps for this reason why West Ham is a great fit for the player.

He'll be first choice at the London Stadium and the Hammers would solve their striking shortcomings without having to break the bank to improve up top. If West Ham can push this deal over the finish line, their chances of a return to Europe increase significantly.

Brentford star Jota out of Aldershot friendly with Premier League bid imminent
By Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 07/07/17 2:16pm

Brentford star Jota will not play in their friendly against Aldershot on Friday with a bid expected imminently from a Premier League club, Sky sources understand.
The Spaniard held a meeting with head coach Dean Smith and Bees officials on Thursday in which it was collectively agreed he should not take part in the game.
Sky sources understand Huddersfield, Everton, West Ham and Newcastle have all shown interest in the 25-year-old - and he would be available for around £8m.
Sky Sports News HQ understands that, unless an offer comes in around that mark, the Bees will continue with their plans for him to be part of the first team this coming season. Jota is about to enter the last year of his contract - a year-long extension the club recently triggered - and the Bees have held talks with the forward about a new contract. But Brentford are equally as prepared to let his contract run down if no Premier League club matches his valuation. Jota joined the Bees from Celta Vigo in 2014 and thrived under former boss Mark Warburton, but became unsettled because of family reasons the following year, and left on an 18-month loan to Eibar. Brentford recalled him in January because he was not getting many first-team minutes, and he scored 12 goals in 27 appearances, helping the Bees to a mid-table finish during the second half of the campaign.

West Ham pull out of £25m Kelechi Iheanacho race after Slaven Bilic doubts
Evening Standard

West Ham have pulled out of a bid to sign Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho after Slaven Bilic expressed doubts about the striker. Co-chairman David Sullivan and director of player recruitment Tony Henry had been pursuing the 20‑year-old for more than a month and were ready to meet City's £25million valuation. Bilic recognised the striker's potential but was understood to be less sure about committing a large chunk of West Ham's summer transfer budget on a player who had a bit-part role at the Etihad last season. Although the Nigeria international made 29 appearances last season only nine of those were starts.He signed a five-year deal last summer but his playing time was limited by the arrival of Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus in January. City were also insisting on a buy‑back clause which was another factor against the deal although that had been agreed by Sullivan. Leicester are now in pole position to sign Iheanacho, which has upset some West Ham fans who thought he would be the club's marquee signing this summer. Bilic however, has other, more tried-and-tested potential targets in mind and will hope to complete at least one signing in the near future.

Feghouli "agrees" Galatasaray move but West Ham signing on fee holding up deal - report
Reports in Turkey claim the winger has agreed to a move but there is a hitch
Football London
15:54, 7 JUL 2017

Hurriyet in Turkey are claiming West Ham have accepted a €5m bid from Galatasaray for Sofiane Feghouli but there is an issue holding up any deal for the time being. The report claims the Algerian winger is close to agreeing personal terms with the Turkish side bt his signing on fee when he joined the Hammers is causing an issue - all €4.5m of it. That's the fee the Hammers gave to Feghouli last summer and it was agreed he would receive it over three seasons, with the Hammers already handing over €1.5m of it. The rest of it has been asked to be paid for by Galatasaray but they are refusing to do so as they are willing to pay a transfer fee and Feghouli wants the Hammers to pay him off. So far though, West Ham are refusing to do that. Hürriyet add that if Gala can sort the problem out then he will sign.

Good news for increasingly desperate West Ham as Marseille cool interest in Carlos Bacca
Damien Lucas

West Ham United have endured a frustrating transfer window so far as they hunt for two strikers. Hammers boss Slaven Bilic has prioritised bolstering his forward line with proven goalscorers and pace after growing fed up of relying on injury-prone duo Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho. The likes of Kelechi Iheanacho, Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud have been heavily linked with the East Londoners so far this summer. Defender Pablo Zabaleta is currently West Ham's only arrival of the summer so far. Bilic has already missed out to Everton for Henry Onyekuru while Leicester City are now favourites to land Iheanacho and Giroud has pledged his future to the Gunners this week. The transfer window already has alarming shades of last summer when the East Londoners failed to lure new Gunners signing Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, Batshuayi from Marseille and Carlos Bacca from AC Milan. Bacca is reportedly on the club's lists of targets for this summer and it looked like they would miss out on the Colombian for a second time after reports from France said he was interested in a move to Marseille, where he could link up with former Hammers star Dimitri Payet. But could there be some rare good news for the East Londoners after fresh reports that Marseille are considering other options. According to reports in France, the Stade Velodrome side are hesitating to sign the 30-year-old who has been made available for transfer at around £25m by Milan, as reported by Get French Football News. The report stats that even though Marseille are confident they can work the price down, they are cautious to be 'cost effective in this market and are considering other options at present'. Bacca has scored 34 goals in 76 appearances for the Italian giants since signing from Sevilla, hitting 14 in Serie A last term.
But the San Siro side's acquisition of Portuguese star Andre Silva and Sunderland striker Fabio Borini has cast further doubt on the 30-year-old's future. With West Ham struggling to make any headway in their hunt for forwards they could swoop to finally land the player they have been chasing for the last 12 months.


No comments: