WHO Poll

Alan 1:08 Wed Sep 19
Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Manchester City have not yet started contract negotiations with 23-year-old winger Raheem Sterling, but they are now keen to hold talks over extending a deal that ends in summer 2020. (Sun)

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has been mentioned as a possible next chairman of the Premier League during informal discussions at the most recent clubs' meeting. (Mail)

Brighton want to appoint Football Association technical director Dan Ashworth to the same role at their club. (Sun)

Leicester's 25-year-old England defender Harry Maguire has denied a report that claimed Foxes players were unhappy at having to travel to Saturday's match at Bournemouth by car rather than by plane. (Leicester Mercury)

A former West Brom scout quit the club over the decision not to buy Virgil van Dijk from Celtic despite his recommendation. (Scottish Sun)

*Belgium striker Christian Benteke, 27, is facing a fight to revive his Crystal Palace career. (Mail)

Mesut Ozil's agent has criticised Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos over comments they made in the wake of the Arsenal midfielder's decision to quit international football with Germany. (Guardian)

England manager Gareth Southgate went to watch Derby's home match with Blackburn Rovers in the Championship instead of Liverpool's Champions League tie against Paris St-Germain on Tuesday. (Times - subscription required)

Ex-Sunderland boss Gus Poyet says he would be keen to manage again in England. (South China Morning Post)

A Uruguayan investor with a 20% stake in Sunderland says he has an aggressive "three-year plan" to help return the club to the Premier League. (Northern Echo)

A judge has criticised Swansea's Kristoffer Nordfeldt and Martin Olsson after they failed to appear in court over speeding charges because they were involved in an away game at Stoke. (Wales Online)

Real Madrid's 32-year-old Spain defender Sergio Ramos said "ignorance is always bold" when asked to react to Antoine Griezmann's claim he was "eating at the same table" as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. (Mail)

Ex-Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov believes Juventus will play Manchester City or Barcelona in this season's Champions League final. (Mirror)

Milton Keynes Dons fans have been offered the chance to buy tickets for the Tottenham v Watford EFL Cup tie that is being held at their ground, as Spurs are struggling to sell them to their own supporters. (Mail)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Michael Butler

There is nothing that quite perks the interest of the Mill and its followers quite like a £35m Brazilian that you’ve never heard of. But despite the fact that Lucas Paquetá was recently called up by Tite for the Seleção’s recent international friendlies, unless you’re Jorge Mendes or a nerdy scout of Shakhtar Donetsk, you probably don’t recognise Flamengo’s 21-year-old.

In previous years, it would have taken a while to have coaxed Brazil’s next big thing over the Atlantic, with Europe’s elite reluctant to show their hand too early. It took years for Neymar (and Ganso) to arrive. Not so now. Thirty-five million is cheap, reader! That’s why Manchester United have joined Barcelona, PSG, and Milan at the front of the queue, with the Parisian club already believed to have held talks.

Ivan Gazidis hasn’t even left Arsenal yet – he is set to become Milan new chief suit on 1 December – but he is already plotting a January move for Aaron Ramsey, if reports in Italy are to be believed. Ramsey is out of contract next summer and playing the Will He/Won’t He Game very well, thank you very much, before he inevitably signs an outrageous bumper new deal around Christmas.

After Keita Baldé came off the bench to help Inter beat Tottenham in the Champions League on Wednesday night, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted that he tried and failed to sign the Senegalese forward. “Yes, it’s true,” said the Argentinian. “I’ve been following him since he grew up in Barcelona while I was at Espanyol. He is a player with an interesting profile for us, I wanted him but then he chose Monaco. But he remains an excellent striker.”

Six goals in eight games in the Championship this season – including two in the 4-2 win over Bristol City on Tuesday – means that when West Brom received Burnley’s latest £13m bid for Jay Rodriguez, which they threw straight in the bin.

In more breaking suit news, Tony Blair - yes, that one – has reportedly held informal talks to become the new chairman of the Premier League. That seems like a good place to end today’s Mill.

Transfer Tavern

Transfer Battle: Diop vs Zouma

By Bill McLoughlin

For both West Ham, and Everton, it was a summer of massive change as the two clubs not only spent heavily in the transfer market but also brought in new managers.

Everton invested heavily in their backline as they brought in Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina and Kurt Zouma. Similarly, West Ham also spent well in the transfer market and brought in two new centrebacks in Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop.

While Diop has steadily risen up through the ranks in France, Zouma has seemingly been playing first-team football for years but is still only 23.

So, which club has got the better deal?

Kurt Zouma

Playing first-team football since the age of 16, Zouma became an instant first-team regular for the Ligue 1 side and was snapped by Chelsea in 2014 for a reported £12 million fee. Unlike at Saint-Etienne where he was an integral first-team player almost instantly, Zouma only made 15 appearances for the club in his first season.

In his second year, however, Zouma began to establish himself as a regular in the side. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he suffered a serious knee injury against Man U in February in 2016, which has stalled his progression and caused him to be sent on loan to Stoke last year and then again to the Toffees for this season.

If it hadn’t been for his knee injury, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the Frenchman would probably be starting for Chelsea now and be filling the void left by John Terry. His pace and physical attributes are all ideally suited to the fast-paced nature of the Premier League, the only question is if he can return to somewhere near his best following his injury.

A loan move is a good low-risk move for the Toffees, who if they can get him back playing at his best, have got a top quality defender who’ll add some crucial depth.

TT Grade: B

Issa Diop

Highly regarded during his time in France, Issa Diop was a product of the Toulouse academy, much like Zouma, Diop was an instant regular since making his debut at the age of 18.

Along with Malang Sarr, Diop was arguably the best young defender in the league and joined West Ham for a then club record, £22 million fee. Despite only joining the club over the summer, Diop has already been thrown into the side and looks set to be a mainstay in Manuel Pellegrini’s new-look West Ham side.

Like Zouma, Diop is a physical specimen and although he may not have the pace of his French counterpart, he has the build to be able to cope with the long rigours of a tough Premier League season.

Although so far in his West Ham career the east London club have shipped five goals in three games, the team is only going to get better as the season progresses. Given the potential of Diop, West Ham could have a future star on their hands, and considering the relatively small fee (by today’s standards), it seems like a potential superb deal.

TT Grade: B+

The Verdict

In a very tight battle, it’s quite tough to separate the two excellent young French defenders.

In terms of experience, Zouma wins quite easily but considering his terrible injury, it’s unsure if the defender will ever return to the form that he showed at Chelsea. It’s a low-risk move and he will definitely add something to Everton’s team.

Issa Diop, however, just has so much potential. Technically the two players are on a par but West Ham could’ve unearthed a gem at the back. If he continues to develop, West Ham’s £22 million looks like a snip. The West Ham youngster takes this one, although it was very tight.

Football 365

Gossip: Morata to West Ham

We tend to avoid rumours from the likes of TRANSFER market WEB, what with their weird capitalisation and frankly appalling track record. But football has returned, and so the need for transfer speculation has dissipated somewhat. They carry the can while others hold off until the next international break.

Their latest claim is a doozy. They report that Alvaro Morata ‘might still be loaned out’ in January, as Maurizio Sarri ‘is not thrilled’ with his performances. The Spaniard started Chelsea’s first four Premier League games, scoring one goal. Olivier Giroud was given the nod against Cardiff, and was wonderful.

That might have actually annoyed Morata a bit, as our friends at TMW add that Chelsea will consider a loan due to the striker’s ‘own will’. The four clubs they mention as holding an interest in the summer are Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan and…West Ham.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Texas Iron 12:09 Fri Sep 21
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Mex Martillo 7:22 Thu Sep 20
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Takashi Miike 12:29 Thu Sep 20
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
thanks alan. diop looks to me like he has the potential to influence games like van dijk at liverpool. just hope we can progress with him and make the performance against everton, a regular thing

Bexley Ironworks 2:23 Wed Sep 19
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan - Diop looked streets ahead of Zouma on Sunday. I know which one I'd rather have...

ted fenton 2:10 Wed Sep 19
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 1:25 Wed Sep 19

gph 1:45 Wed Sep 19
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks, Alan

Gidds 1:27 Wed Sep 19
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Cheers Alan

Thanks Alan 1:25 Wed Sep 19
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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