Sunday, July 9

Daily WHUFC News - 9th July 2017

Pablo raises a glass as old pal Messi ties the knot

Pablo Zabaleta will raise a glass to long-time friend Lionel Messi after attending the Argentina great's star-studded wedding. The duo made their international debuts in the same year, 2005, won Olympic Gold together in 2008 and reached the FIFA World Cup final as teammates in 2014. West Ham United's summer signing joined the likes of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique who travelled to the city of Rosario to witness Messi's marriage to Antonela Roccuzzo. "It was really good," Zabaleta told West Ham TV. "It was a special moment to be there with Lionel Messi, of course, and some of the players who have been playing with him for so many years with the Under-20s, Olympic Games and the senior national team. "This was one of the most-important moments of his life, as it is for everyone who gets married, and it was fantastic. "We saw Lionel so happy and enjoying himself with all the lads and also his wife and kids as well, so it was a really good time."
As a token of thanks, all 260 guests received a bottle of Leo Malbec, the wine created to raise money for the Barcelona superstar's charitable Foundation. Among them were many of the players who have shared in Messi's amazing career, including Argentina strikers Sergio Aguero and Ezequiel Lavezzi and Messi's former Barcelona teammates Xavi, Cesc Fabregas, Samuel Eto'o and Carles Puyol. "Lionel has a Foundation in Argentina which is really big, so some of the players have given some money to that!" Zabaleta proudly confirmed. "We got a bottle of really good wine, a Malbec, which Lionel has put his name on the bottle. It was a big, big bottle of Malbec which was hard to bring back to England, because I had too much stuff in the luggage. "Of course, I've kept that bottle of wine in Argentina so next time we go back there, I will open it and enjoy a few glasses with the family!"

Zabaleta also returned to his home town of Arrecifes, where he visited his very first club COAS Arrecifes, where he played between the ages of ten and 12, to speak to aspiring young footballers eager to follow in the full-back's footsteps. The club's home ground, the Estadio Municipal de Arrecifes, and football library in the town's cultural and educational centre have also been renamed in honour of West Ham's widely-respected new No5.

Hammers Ladies announce UEL partnership

West Ham United Ladies have teamed up with the University of East London (UEL) to launch a programme which offers a pathway for female footballers to higher education. As part of the link-up, players at West Ham United Ladies will be offered sports scholarships at UEL, giving them the opportunity to represent the University's team as they develop with the Hammers, alongside their education. Myles Smith, who has been appointed as the Ladies' Development Squad Manager, will combine his role with that of coach of the UEL side in the partnership, and he can't wait to get going. "I'm delighted to be a part of this project," he said. "The ambition from everybody involved has been apparent from day one and I'm extremely excited to have been given the opportunity to embark on this journey.
"The positive steps forward that have already been made are outstanding, and I'm confident, as a team, we can continue to do great things for West Ham Ladies."

Smith takes up the role of Ladies Development Squad Manager having worked closely with manager Greg de Caryns in the Sports Science department at the Hammers Academy. He gained further experience in coaching and management as Lead Football Coach at Notre Dame Sixth Form College in Leeds, and will also coach in the Ladies' Junior Academy. The partnership between the Ladies and UEL will allow the players to experience elite football and university life with the full support of staff from both sides.

For those players wishing to apply for scholarship support and a place on the West Ham United Ladies football programme, please visit

Hammers to face Fulham in pre-season clash
Filed: Friday, 7th July 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham have added another date to their pre-season schedule, this time against rather more local opposition. It has been confirmed that West Ham will face Championship side Fulham in a pre-season run-out on Thursday, 20 July in Graz, Austria. The match will be played at the Sportzentrum Graz-Weinzödl training complex, which is situated on the banks of the 300 mile-long River Mur. It is the fifth game the Hammers have scheduled to play in Germany and Austria this summer, with the final match of pre-season - against Manchester City on 4 August - to be played in Reykyavik, Iceland.

West Ham Utd: confirmed pre-season dates

17th July: SK Sturm Graz (a)
20th July: Fulham FC (n)
28th July: Werder Bremen (n)
29th July: Werder Bremen (n)
1st August: Altona 93 (a)
4th August: Manchester City (n)

The last meeting between the two clubs came in the Premier League three years ago, with Fulham recording a 2-1 win at Craven Cottage - just six weeks after the Hammers beat the Cottagers 3-0 at the Boleyn Ground.

Jota will only be sold if Brentford receive 'massive bid' from Premier League suitors, says Dean Smith
Evening Standard

Dean Smith has warned suitors for Jota that the Spanish playmaker will only depart if Brentford receive a "massive bid". As Standard Sport revealed would be the case Jota was left out of the matchday squad for the Bees' first friendly of pre-season at Aldershot. At least one bid from a Premier League side is expected shortly for the 26-year-old, whose contract expires at the end of next season and has been linked to Newcastle and West Ham. But head coach Smith warned that Brentford would demand a high price, believed to be in excess of £8million, before they considered parting with one of the Championship's brightest prospects.
"I had a chat with Jota yesterday," Smith said. "His agent has told him that there is a bid imminent from a Premier League team and it has to be a massive bid.
"He and his representatives know that. His affection for the football club is second to none "He won't go to a Championship team because, it sounds corny, but like John Terry he doesn't want to play against Brentford. "We understand that the Premier League is where a lot of young footballers want to play now and our aim is to get there. "He's been no problem at all. He's happy to play for Brentford, if nothing comes that is acceptable to the football club." Brentford ran out 5-1 winners as Reece Cole and Sergi Canos found the net twice before Florian Jozefzoon rounded out the scoring.

Pursuit of Andre Gray shows West Ham are getting smarter in the transfer market
Evening Standard

There may be the best part of two months left of the summer transfer window, but West Ham fans can be forgiven for feeling a familiar sense of dread at the news that neither Kelechi Iheanacho or Olivier Giroud are expected to move to the London Stadium. Co-owner David Gold has been vocal in his desire to bring proven firepower to the club this summer, and therefore faces a backlash from supporters should he not attract the players of the desired quality. It would be unfair to aim criticism at the club hierarchy for missing out on Iheanacho, who now looks Leicester City-bound, with the club having chosen to end their pursuit in the Manchester City striker. Their interest in 30-year old Arsenal striker Giroud remains very much alive, but club officials are not optimistic of convincing the Frenchman to make the short move, with Ligue 1 side Marseille keen to bring the target man back to his home country.
Jermain Defoe, Scott Hogan, Michy Batshuayi, Carlos Bacca, Wilfried Bony, Moussa Dembele, Alexandre Lacazette, Carlos Tevez and Jamie Vardy have all been linked to the club in the past 12 months in what have proven to be unsuccessful chases. Their need for frontmen is well documented and urgent. Both Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll are unreliable due to their proneness to injury, and young Ashley Fletcher is not ready to be shouldered with the responsibility of goals.
Andre Gray currently looks the deal most likely to complete, and some Hammers fans have expressed their disappointment at being linked to the Burnley striker having been promised top-level talent. This looks harsh as, for a few reasons, Gray could well be a shrewd acquisition. His nine Premier League goals from 26 starts is a fair return for a team who created the third fewest chances last season. He averaged a goal every 252 minutes which, translated over the course of a season, equates to just under 14 goals. He is also tactically flexible, able to both play as the runner off an Andy Carroll-type striker, as he has with Sam Vokes and Burnley, and play the lone role on the shoulder of the last defender.
Given the dynamic talents of both Manuel Lanzini and Andre Ayew, Gray would likely get the chances he craves to make the most of his fine finishing ability.
Chelsea's Batshuayi remains a target but, with Antonio Conte seemingly missing out on his main target Romelu Lukaku, whether a deal could be completed for the Belgian imminently is yet to be seen. West Ham's recent strategy of looking overseas for goal scorers has proven catastrophic. Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho and Simone Zaza have not plugged a hole that has been gaping for some time. An unwillingness to agree to unfavourable terms in the Iheanacho deal, and a pursuit of a solid if unspectacular striker in Gray are signs that West Ham may be maturing in the transfer market. They may not sign the household names that Hammers fans desire, but the strategy will likely bear more fruit than the scatter-gun philosophy that preceded it.

West Ham United now favourites to sign both Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez this summer
Slaven's men are leading the way according to the bookies
Football London
13:59, 8 JUL 2017

West Ham are now favourites to sign Stoke City's Marko Arnautovic ahead of the new Premier League season, according to the bookmakers. Reports suggest that Slaven Bilic will look to strengthen his side by bringing the Austrian winger to the London Stadium. Arnautovic only signed a new four-year deal last summer with the Potters but it looks like he could potentially leave the club he joined in 2013. AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain were believed to be interested in the player back in May, although it is the Hammers who are currently favourites for the player's signature with the bookmakers. SkyBet have priced Bilic's side at 5/2 to sign the 28-year-old, while Hamburg are second favourites at 12/1 to bring Arnautovic back to the Bundesliga. Former Premier League champions Leicester City are next at 14/1 to sign Arnautovic, with Wolfsburg just behind at 16/1. Everton, who Arnautovic was expected to join last summer, are 25/1 to continue their summer spending and sign the player. The Austrian is priced at 4/11 to remain at Stoke.
The Hammers are also favourites to sign Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen after the clubs held talks over a possible transfer. Although reports from Mexico suggested Chelsea would move for the 29-year-old, the striker is 5/4 to seal a move to the London stadium. Hernandez is 7/1 to return to his former club Manchester United, while he is 10/11 to remain in the Bundesliga with Leverkusen. Andre Gray is another player to be linked with the Hammers and the bookmakers have priced the club as favourites to sign the Burnley man.

Marko Arnautovic - what the West Ham target has said about his Stoke City future
The Potters midfielder has been tipped to join up with the Hammers this summer
Football London
12:12, 8 JUL 2017

Marko Arnautovic is the latest name to be linked with a move to West Ham ahead of the new Premier League season. Slaven Bilic is desperate to strengthen his Hammers squad and reports suggest he will make a move for the talented Stoke City winger. Arnautovic has impressed ever since joining the Potters in 2013 and a number of clubs have shown interest in him over the past few seasons. Everton were particularly keen to sign the Austrian last summer but Arnautovic elected to remain with Mark Hughes' side. With Sofiane Feghouli expected to depart the Hammers for Galatasaray, the 28-year-old would undoubtedly be a hit for the club's fans if Bilic brings him in to replace the Algerian. Here we take a look at what the player has previously said about a potential move away from the bet365 Stadium.

April 2015
"There is always interest in players - and I am no different. But I want to stay here and be part of this club moving forward. "I want to stay at Stoke and play for Stoke. Obviously in this profession you never really know what is around the corner. "But I am concentrating on ending this season in a good frame of mind and making sure we end it in a really good position. "All I think about is Stoke City and no other clubs. "We have many talented players in the team now and I am pleased to be part of it."

March 2016

"The thing is, Stoke City pulled me out of a situation where I was not playing, where I was not happy, and that was in Germany. "They have breathed new life into me. "I've been here for three years and always performed well and I have told them to speak to my manager, who is my brother, and not with me (about a contract). I want to focus on the season. "What happens then, nobody knows. Nobody knows if I will sign a new contract."

June 2016

"I cannot say if I will stay there (Stoke) or not. "First of all I want to play a strong European Championship, stay fit and then we will see where I play next season. I cannot rule anything out but my goal is to stay in England. "I feel very comfortable there and I've performed well. There I would be accepted. In Germany it was a bit different and I had ups and downs."

November 2016

"I'm always on the pitch with the goal of giving my best and helping my team. I have only just extended my contract so a transfer is not an issue for the time being. But the usual rumors will probably still exist. "Of course, if Real or Barca would ask, but the focus and concentration is 100 per cent on Stoke City and my team here."

April 2017

"Ronald Koeman tried to persuade me to move to Everton. Romelu Lukaku also phoned me to ask if I would join them, and I found that a great honour. "But nonetheless I rang Mark Hughes and told him: 'Get the paperwork ready – I'll extend my stay with Stoke.' "They had put a lot of faith in me, and rescued me from Germany. Werder Bremen was a bad place for me, and I had to leave them. "Stoke took me on, and my career took off with them. I thought to myself – it's a place where everything suits me, so why not stay put? "Stoke wanted to make me their best-paid player. Talks took place, and in the end everyone was happy.
"Okay, I don't know how satisfied Stoke were – but I certainly was!"

However, Austria legend Andreas Herzog has said Arnautovic should be playing at a bigger club . "With all due respect for Stoke, it is not the club in which Arnautovic should continue to play, with his qualities, for a long time. "With his potential, he belongs to Arsenal or Tottenham, in the Premier League, and he is. Marko is great, tactically top-trained, has a robust body. "I've been comparing Arnautovic with Zlatan Ibrahimovic for years and I'll stand by that, even though Marko is missing the goals."

West Ham to sign Ajax youngster
Posted By Admin On July 7th, 2017 10:27 PM | Eredivisie, News, Transfer News

According to Ajax Showtime, West Ham United have signed Ajax youngster Anouar El Mhassani. The left-back, who played last season for Ajax's U16 side, suffered an injury during the campaign and was then told that his deal in Amsterdam would not be renewed, El Mhassani will now sign for English Premier League side West Ham United on a three-year deal, according to Ajax showtime. El Mhassani is the third player to leave Ajax's academy for England this summer, with Daishawn Redan joining Chelsea and Kees de Boer signing for Swansea City.

West Ham United sign Anouar El Mhassani
Shane Callaghan

West Ham United have wrapped up the signing of Ajax teenager Anouar El Mhassani. According to Ajax Showtime, West Ham United have signed Anouar El Mhassani on a three-year deal. The Dutch outlet claim that West Ham wrapped up the signing earlier this week, but the Hammers have made no announcement regarding his arrival. El Mhassani was a regular for Ajax Under-16s but an injury hindered him from earning a new deal in the Dutch club's youth set-up - and the Irons have seemingly pounced, according to Ajax Showtime. Not much is known about the teenage left winger. What West Ham fans do know about him, however, is that he will not be much help to the senior side any time soon.

Steve @cheekychambers
Replying to @WestHam_Central @Ajaxshowtimecom
This is embarrassing. Just get on with signing players who can play now.
10:41 PM - 7 Jul 2017

Just Some Geezer @Juicedmoose
Replying to @WestHam_Central @Ajaxshowtimecom
Might get a game when hes 27 after 11 years on loan as @davidgold David has lots of 'internationals' to play instead...
10:25 PM - 7 Jul 2017

Cameron wilson @cameronwilson09
Replying to @WestHam_Central @Ajaxshowtimecom
Marquee signing 😂😂
9:42 PM - 7 Jul 2017

max brunke @MaxBrunkeTweets
Replying to @WestHam_Central @Ajaxshowtimecom
Ajax is a young gold mine. Contrary to what everybody else seems to think, I like this a lot.
9:45 PM - 7 Jul 2017

⚒⚒⚒ @ClinicalAntonio
Replying to @whufcphotos
who's el mhassani?
9:49 PM - 7 Jul 2017

McCordinho @Charliemccord16
@WestHamUtd announce el mhassani
8:37 PM - 7 Jul 2017

Kris Farrant @Farrantino11
Replying to @WHUFC_News and 2 others
Can he play as a striker too...? 🙄
8:36 PM - 7 Jul 2017

Coby Cotton Fan acct @MakasiFC
Replying to @WHUFC_News and 2 others
Who said we have no ambition
8:34 PM - 7 Jul 2017

Fans of the East London club have been crying out for transfers this summer but manager Slaven Bilic is yet to satisfy their cravings. The media have not helped matters, constantly linking Bilic with moves for a big-name striker, be it Olivier Giroud, Javier Hernandez or Kelechi Iheanacho. But Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho, Ashley Fletcher and Andre Ayew remain West Ham's only forward options for the moment and surely the Croatian boss will strengthen up front. It is a rather depressing situation for the club, but there is still plenty of time in which to get a big-name player through the door, though they don't have forever.

Karren Brady shifts focus and lifts lid on what is next for West Ham
Damien Lucas

West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady has revealed her major focus for the club. The Hammers have only made one signing so far this summer with ageing defender Pablo Zabaleta arriving on a free transfer from Manchester City. Slaven Bilic publicly stated he wanted to make four "game-changer" signings this summer with two strikers his main priority. But despite being linked with a plethora of players from Joe Hart to Olivier Giroud and Kelechi Iheanacho the club are yet to part with any money. A lack of action has been perceived as a lack of ambition by furious fans who are losing patience with co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold over broken promises with regards to transfers. Many feel links and grand statements were a ploy to sell season tickets - and if it was it certainly helped with 52,000 signing up for a second consecutive season, second only to Manchester United. But no sooner had it been announced that the club had sold out it's 52,000 season ticket allocation, than Karren Brady - who polarises opinion between supporters - lifted the lid on what her next focus will be... increasing the capacity at the London Stadium. "London Stadium sold out, 52000 season ticket holders," Brady posted on Twitter. "Now to focus on getting capacity increased. "Thank you to all our fantastic supporters."

Lady Brady ✔ @karren_brady
London Stadium sold out, 52000 season ticket holders. Now to focus on getting capacity increased. Thank you to all our fantastic supporters
12:54 PM - 6 Jul 2017

Due to the ugly scenes which marred many of the early matches at the club's new Olympic Stadium home, West Ham were forced to cap their 60,000 capacity to just 57,000 by Newham Council's Safety Advisory Group. That has meant only 2,000 or less tickets were available to non-season ticket holders after away fans' allocation was taken into account last season. The club wants to eventually operate a 66,000 capacity but Brady is fighting to have it restored to the full 60,000 initially after Gold admitted recently the 66,000 is proving more difficult to push through with the authorities than first thought. In the last update on the situation back in January, Brady said: "We are applying for the 60k capacity at the next SAG (meeting) and those supporters on the waiting list will be contacted and given first option to buy. "It is a safety license and EVERY club in the country - Premier League or otherwise - has to have one by law to operate a stadium." Brady did not make it clear whether the club is pushing for the 60k or 66k increase and whether she was doing so for the forthcoming season or the season after.

Should West Ham reignite interest in Andre-Pierre Gignac and demand Valencia swap after failed LA Galaxy bid?
Damien Lucas

West Ham United are reportedly close to selling Enner Valencia to Mexican side Tigres and Slaven Bilic could get an added bonus in return. The Hammers have made no secret of the fact they are desperate to sign two strikers this summer but so far only ageing defender Pablo Zabaleta has arrived on a free from Manchester City. Bilic has been strongly linked with moves for a number of strikers including Kelechi Iheanacho, Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi, Carlos Bacca, Anthony Modeste and Cedric Bakambu. The club appears to be making little headway in those deals, though, prompting talk of a move for back-up target Andre Gray. But could Bilic use Enner Valencia's impending move back to Mexico with Tigres to demand a swap deal for a striker he wanted to sign the last two years?
According to Sky Sports West Ham have agreed a fee of between £6-7m with Tigres for Valencia - relative small fry nowadays considering the Ecuadorian star is still highly rated at international level. And yesterday French media outlet L'Equipe claimed that LA Galaxy had failed with a bid to bring France and Tigres forward Andre-Pierre Gignac to MLS, as reported by Get French Football News. That could clear the path for West Ham to reignite their interest in a player Bilic has been keen on since taking over West Ham in 2015, as reported by the Metro at the time. So should Bilic demand the big forward, who has scored 53 goals in 81 appearances in Mexico since leaving Marseille, be included in any deal. While the 31-year-old would probably not be first choice when the likes of Andy Carroll are fit, he knows where the goal is and has a superb injury record, something which will count in his favour in East London. There may be one sticking point, though, Gignac famously fell out with former Marseille teammate Andre Ayew who is currently at West Ham, as reported by the Daily Star. That was two years ago, though, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since so old wounds could well be healed by now. And West Ham's desperation may leave them with little choice.

Has the door opened for West Ham United to re-attemt deal for Manchester United duo?
John Verrall

West Ham United want to sign Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial from Manchester United during the January transfer window. According to a report in the Telegraph, West Ham United plotted an ambitious loan swoop to take either Manchester United's Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial off Jose Mourinho's hands last January. West Ham wanted Rashford or Martial on loan, but were unable to complete a deal six months ago. However, with the Red Devils set to snap up Romelu Lukaku, they may have more luck if they made a repeat offer now. Lukaku's arrival at United has plunged Rashford's and Martial's first-team chances into further doubt, with the Everton man surely likely to become Mourinho's first choice up-front. Rashford and Martial may now be eager for regular game time, and West Ham could promise them that. West Ham have been frustrated in their search for a new striker all summer so far, with a new front man at the top of Slaven Bilic's transfer wishlist.

Of course, both Martial and Rashford would be very ambitious targets for the Hammers - but they had them on their radar only six months ago. And there would be no harm in checking whether United would be prepared to do a deal, as Martial and Rashford would have the potential to light up the Olympic Stadium, if they did join West Ham.


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