WHO Poll
Q: 2021/22 What competition should we prioritise this season?
a. The league is our bread & butter, so this year let's have a club sandwich
b. We're owed an FA Cup after Gerrard nicked our last one in 06, our name's on it in 22
c. A bye to the League Cup 3rd round gives us a good start, let's make it count
d. The Europa is our best ticket to the Champions League, this is the one
e. What's wrong with you, let's do the lot, has the quadruple ever been done

Alan 2:27 Thu Oct 19
Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Tottenham striker Harry Kane, 24, and playmaker Christian Eriksen, 25, were being watched by Barcelona during Spurs' Champions League match against Real Madrid. (Mundo Deportivo via TalkSport)

Manager Jose Mourinho has held talks with Manchester United about a new contract but is in no rush to sign a new deal. (ESPN)

Leicester City will not rush to appoint a new manager as they seek a big name to succeed Craig Shakespeare who was sacked on Tuesday. (Daily Mirror)

Sam Allardyce has ruled himself out of the running for the vacant Leicester job but is interested in taking charge of the USA team. (TalkSport)

Amanda Staveley is expected to launch a quick bid for Newcastle United after the British businesswoman held a constructive meeting with the club's hierarchy. (Times)

Southampton were the first club to bid for Naples defender Kalidou Koulibaly, 26, this summer despite interest from other Premier League and Serie A clubs. (Calcio Mercato - Italian)

Juventus have joined Barcelona and Manchester City in the race for 22-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl. (CalcioNews24 via TalkSport)

Reading manager Jaap Stam has confirmed the club are interested in signing 21-year-old Manchester United striker James Wilson in the summer. (Reading Chronicle)

Inter Milan are tracking Manchester City midfielder Brahim Diaz, 18. (Tuttosport via TalkSport)

Arsenal and Liverpool have been boosted in their pursuit of Monaco forward Thomas Lemar, 21, after Bayern Munich ended their interest. (football.london via Kicker)

Newcastle and Stoke have sent scouts to watch 19-year-old striker Nordine Ibouroi, who plays for French non-league side FC Martigues. (The Sun)

Midfielder Rafinha, 24, a target of Arsenal and Chelsea, has no interest in leaving Barcelona. (TalkSport)

Aston Villa offered to pay Paris St-Germain defender Thomas Meunier, 26, more money than the French champions when he switched clubs in 2016. (Birmingham Mail via SportFoot)

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has dismissed rumours that West Brom and Wolves target Benik Afobe, 24, may be allowed to leave the club in January by insisting that the striker remains part of his plans. (Birmingham Mail)

West Ham goalkeeper Adrian San Miguel, 30, is looking for a move away from the club in January having lost his place to Joe Hart. (Marca - English)

Manchester United have opened contract talks with defender Phil Jones, 25. (ESPN)

Crystal Palace have increased their interest in Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun, 23, after he impressed in the Champions League. (Daily Mirror)

Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente, 32, failed to deny he would be interested in a return to Juventus. (Calcio Mercato - Italian)

Twenty-year-old striker Henry Onyekuru's immediate Everton future remains in doubt after claims the summer buy from Belgian side Eupen will not be allowed to move to Goodison in January. (Liverpool Echo via owngoalnigeria)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says summer signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 24, is not ready for a central midfield role at Anfield despite signing with the intention of playing there. (Daily Mail)

And Oxlade-Chamberlain, who moved from Arsenal in the summer, has admitted he will have to fight for a place in the starting line-up at Liverpool. (Daily Star)

Mesut Ozil has become "angry" over Arsenal's lack of spending in recent transfer windows, according to the club's former player Robert Pires. (London Evening Standard)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Barry Glendenning

Spanish sports news purveyors Don Balon say Gareth Bale could make a surprise return to Tottenham, despite his current employers, Real Madrid, having previously rebuffed advances from Chelsea and Manchester United. With Isco and Marco Asensio proving more than capable of filling his Adidas Predator Precisions, the injury prone Welshman is fast becoming surplus to requirements at the Bernabéu and has even been subjected to jeers and whistles from the cheap seats during some of his appearances this season.

Bale, 28, was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford during the summer and speculation persists. Nevertheless, Don Balon report that he would rather move to Tottenham, the club that helped make him a star. In May 2015, at a time when Bale was being heavily criticised for poor performances towards the end of his second season in Spain, Mauricio Pochettino said Tottenham were “open to receive” him back at White Hart Lane if he was “not comfortable” at Real Madrid. “Tottenham will always have a place in my heart,” said Bale a year after his move to Spain. “I hope the fans still love me even though I’ve moved on. I love Spurs fans; you never know, I could come back one day.”

Elsewhere in Spain, Mundo Deportivo report that Barcelona sent scouts to keep tabs on Tottenham duo Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane during Tuesday night’s match between Real and Spurs. While the quality of both players can hardly be questioned, neither man was at his absolute best during an outstanding Tottenham Hotspur performance in which several other players stepped up and caught the eye. Those Harry Winks and Hugo Lloris to the Camp Nou rumours start here. Still only 18, Ajax central defender Matthijs de Ligt is another man wanted by the Catalan club, who have also approached representatives of the Liverpool winger Ben Woodburn.

Chelsea are hopeful of securing the signature of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly come season’s end, but will have to fend off interest from – you’ve guessed it – Barcelona to bring the Senegal international to Stamford Bridge. Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has previously confirmed that he attempted to sign Koulibaly during the summer, but couldn’t afford Napoli’s £60m asking price. “Kalidou stayed because he has a strong contract and he knows that with these team-mates and this staff they can have important ambitions and try to win the Scudetto,” said the player’s agent, Bruno Satin, back in early September. So far, so good – Napoli lead Serie A and have yet to drop a point after eight matches.

Crystal Palace are ready to ramp up their interest in Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun, who scored twice for the Turkish side in their Champions League win at Monaco this week. Meanwhile in the Midlands, West Brom and Wolves are both hopeful of signing Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe, whose manager Eddie Howe has said the 24-year-old will not be going anywhere in the next transfer window. And finally, West Ham goalkeeper Adrián wants to find a new club after losing his place in Slaven Bilic’s first team to Joe Hart. Yet to feature in the league and aving made just two appearances in the Carabao Cup this season, the Spanish goalkeeper feels he needs a move elsewhere to boost his chances of making Spain’s World Cup squad.

Football London

The inside story behind Toni Martinez's rise from Valencia prospect to West Ham goal machine

Martinez has banged in 23 goals in 26 appearances for the Hammers U23s

Andrew Gaffney

The Premier League has often been the second home for many Spanish players but not when it comes to strikers.

They are generally considered too small or slight to succeed with the hustle and bustle of the English game, see Iago Aspas, but there are still players who buck the trend.

Diego Costa scored 20 League goals to help fire Chelsea to the Premier League title whereas at the bottom Fernando Llorente was key in Swansea avoiding relegation.

Could young Toni Martinez add his name to that list and become the Spaniard to lead West Ham’s forward line in the years to come?

Ever since Martinez swapped Valencia for London, he’s generated a fair amount of buzz.

In a time where it appears West Ham are in danger of losing their identity, moving to a new stadium and searching for big name strikers, the emergence of young talent such as Toni could mean their future will be brighter – if they’re crucially given a chance.

David Gold’s comments about it being hard for teenagers to get minutes were hardly encouraging to those youngsters desperate for a chance.

It isn’t like those ‘seasoned internationals’ set the Premier League alight either. While the loan system can be an important tool in a player’s development, it isn’t the only option. If they’re good enough, they’re old enough.

When Martinez left Valencia it left distinctive marks on both the fan base as well as the academy director Jose Ramos Alesanco. The fans were largely upset at the selling of a potential star as Valencia is a club steeped with history of bringing through youth prospects.

They also felt the fee was on the small side. Despite original reports putting the cost at €3m it turned out to be closer to €1m, plus a load of bonuses. They also have first option should West Ham wish to sell him.

On the other side, Alesanco, was happy to accept a decent fee for a player who he didn’t see as someone who could make it at the top in Valencia.

He saw potential but not enough to justify fighting to keep the player at the club. Martinez, perhaps in part due to this ‘it’s up to you’ attitude and a lack of minutes under Curro Torres, decided the chance to join a Premier League club was too good to turn down.

Anyone who has seen Martinez play will know he’s physically more suited to the Premier League than he was La Liga. After a bright start to his career at Valencia he struggled to have the same influence with Valencia Mestalla.

West Ham’s scouts saw the raw potential and after a positive response from the player’s representative made a bid for the young forward’s services. A deal suited both parties.

For a striker he didn’t score an incredible amount of goals at Valencia and that could’ve caused some people to think he isn’t a good forward. That would be short-sighted as he’s got plenty about him and with the right service knows where the back of the net is.

West Ham fans should be excited by the progression Martinez has made in his short time at the club.

Especially when you consider this is his first full season in England, adapting to a new system and learning a new language. His loan spell out at Oxford didn’t work out as well as intended but he did score against Middlesbrough and Newcastle in the FA Cup.

Not content with that he then returned to West Ham and scored a brace to see them defeat Newcastle and earn a place in Division One of the Premier League 2.

He's continued that form this season with a goal a game ratio, including a superb hat trick against Manchester United in PL2 last weekend.

The next logical question is: Could Martinez do a job for West Ham in the not so distant future?

Those who know the player from his time at Valencia would tell you yes. The biggest concern was adapting to the physical side of the game but that hasn’t proven to be an issue.

If anything, he’s embraced it and become a better player because of that. There’s an underlying confidence to Martinez and it’s serving him well in England.

The fact Ashley Fletcher gained valuable Premier League minutes this past season - before being sold to Middlesbrough - indicates that if Martinez continues his progression then he’ll be given a chance at West Ham.

While those who currently occupy the striker positions at the club cost a great deal more, none of them would fall into the ‘keep at all costs’ category. As an option off the bench, Martinez would be great.

No one at Valencia wishes anything but the best for the youngster. Valencia fans are always happy to see academy players do well but ideally at the club itself.

Although, of course, should he become a household name then that happiness might turn into anger towards the fact they let Martinez go on the cheap.

West Ham fans should be excited by the future and the success of their U23 side. Far too many have joined the club in recent years for a decent pay day and then wandered off into the wilderness.

Mark Noble is loved, flaws and all, because of how much representing West Ham means to him. If you give the kids a chance to impress you’ll only increase their own bond with the club. Ignoring them for more of the same would be disappointing.

Let’s hope the chairman’s comments prove to be the biggest motivational speech for the academy lads as opposed to sentencing them to loan deal after loan deal. The kids are alright.


West Ham Team News

Andy Carroll is serving a one-match ban for his sending-off against Burnley, otherwise, Slaven Bilic has almost a full squad to choose from for Friday night’s game against Brighton.

The only fitness doubt heading into the game is James Collins continued recovery from an ankle injury and Javier Hernandez who suffered a knock on Tuesday and didn’t train on Wednesday after being sent for a scan.

The first team squad will be training at the London Stadium today where all eyes will be on whether Chicharito returns to training today and a suspected hamstring pull at Rush Green on Tuesday.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Texas Iron 8:51 Thu Oct 19
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)

isca hammer 3:52 Thu Oct 19
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Takashi Miike 3:35 Thu Oct 19
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

happygilmore 3:31 Thu Oct 19
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 2:35 Thu Oct 19
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

claret59 2:59 Thu Oct 19
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
thanks alan
much appreciated

ted fenton 2:55 Thu Oct 19
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 2:35 Thu Oct 19

Thanks Alan 2:35 Thu Oct 19
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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