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Alan 1:34 Sat Dec 22
Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Leicester manager Claude Puel is on the brink of being sacked after losing the support of his players. (Daily Mail)

Arsenal are considering a swap deal involving German playmaker Mesut Ozil, 30, and Real Madrid and Spain midfielder Isco, 26. The Gunners are open to offers for Ozil. (Independent)

Manchester United have not met former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane about their permanent manager's role, despite reports to the contrary. (Manchester Evening News)

Sheffield Wednesday are prepared to give former Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce a £2m-a-year contract to replace Jos Luhukay, who was sacked on Friday. (The Sun)

Chelsea are interested in signing AC Milan and Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, 31, in a swap deal involving Spain forward Alvaro Morata, 26. (Sky Sports)

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has described Higuain as a "wonderful player". (ESPN)

Sarri will not allow Chelsea's England midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 22, to leave on loan next month. (Guardian)

Monaco boss Thierry Henry wants to sign Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas in January. The Spain international, 31, is unhappy with his lack of game time this season. (L'Equipe via Daily Mirror)

Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri is considering a January move for English right-back Danny Simpson, who played under him at Leicester. The 31-year-old is out of contract next summer. (Daily Mail)

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has revealed a lack of funds is behind the club signing Colombian defender Jeison Murillo, 26, from Valencia on loan. (Express)

Defender Danny Rose, 28, has been told by his Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino to stop thinking and start following instructions. (Times - subscription required)

Former Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic wants a quick return to management just five weeks after being sacked by the Craven Cottage side. (Mirror)

Martin O'Neill, who is about to become a grandfather for the first time, is also keen for a comeback into the managerial ranks after departing the Republic of Ireland post last month. (Telegraph)

Brighton's German midfielder Pascal Gross, 27, has played down speculation of a move to Liverpool or Southampton. (Argus)

Aston Villa have been impressed with the attitude of former West Ham and Wales defender James Collins, 35, and may still offer him a short-term deal if he can get regain fitness. (Birmingham Mail)

Crystal Palace's England international forward Andros Townsend, 27, has been watching clips of Leicester frontman Jamie Vardy as he strives to reinvent himself as a central striker. (London Evening Standard)

West Ham will have a capacity of 60,000 when they host Brighton on 2 January after the club and London Stadium were granted a new safety certificate to increase the number of spectators by 3,000. (Football.London)


The Chalkboard: Where will Manuel Lanzini fit in this West Ham side upon his return?

According to ExWHUemployee on Twitter, West Ham’s playmaker in chief Manuel Lanzini is set to return from injury just after January, and will most likely be back in the team by the end of the month given his immense ability. Having said that, where will he fit in the side amongst the vast array of attacking talent the Hammers currently possess?

License to roam

Before his untimely knee injury back in the summer, which also saw him miss out on the World Cup with Argentina, Lanzini had enjoyed an excellent season at the London Stadium.

The 25-year-old scored five goals and recorded seven assists in 27 Premier League appearances, catching the eye with his usual antics in that centre-attacking midfield role that West Ham fans love watching him in.

Whilst he has been out, Manuel Pellegrini has since replaced David Moyes in the dugout, and has also bought £35m man Felipe Anderson to the club to provide the attacking spark in Lanzini’s absence. Given the fact that the Brazilian plays on the left, and the revitalised Robert Snodgrass operates on the right with Declan Rice and Mark Noble in the centre, the Argentina international’s number 10 position is still his and one that he will come straight back into.

His reputation at the club, as well as his outstanding ability, should see Pellegrini give him free reign in behind the striker in east London, where he will link up the play between midfield and attack – that freedom, along with the vast array of talent in the Hammers’ attacking ranks, should result in us seeing the best version of Lanzini yet.

How will they line up with him in the side?

The attacking quartet that Pellegrini is expected to line up with is frighteningly good, and will definitely be one of the best outside the top six. Lanzini will most likely sit behind Marko Arnautovic in the no.10 role, with Anderson on the left and Snodgrass or Andriy Yarmolenko on the right.

It goes without saying that the diminutive Argentine will be unstoppable in this role with this calibre of player surrounding him. His low centre of gravity and unbelievable dribbling skills will cause havoc in the space that Arnautovic’s movement will create for him, and opposition defences will struggle massively with his and Anderson’s flair – it’s an exciting time to be a West Ham fan.


Gabriel Barbosa interested in joining West Ham

West Ham United are looking to sign a striker in January, and Brazilian international Gabriel Barbosa could be one of the new arrivals at the London club.

Earlier this week, Gianluca di Marzio reported that West Ham are in pole position to sign the Brazilian striker who will be allowed to leave the club on loan.

Di Marzio reported that he Hammers have contacted Inter Milan over the signing of the 22-year-old striker, and that talks are underway between the two clubs.

Italian website Calcio Mercato now reports that Barbosa is ready to fly to England to discuss a move to the London Stadium.

Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and Everton are also reportedly keen but the Hammers are leading the race for his signature.

Barbosa joined Inter in 2016 for a transfer fee to be worth £25 million. He has struggled during his time at Inter, but has rediscovered his form for Santos whilst on loan, where he scored 18 goals in 35 games (one in the Copa Libertadores) for the Brazilian side.

Flamengo are looking to sign Barbosa on a permanent deal, but Inter want him to play in Europe.


Five things to look out for when West Ham face Watford!

1. The Master versus The Apprentice

Manuel Pellegrini and Javi Gracia will need no introduction when they shake hands in the London Stadium technical area this afternoon.

Gracia began his managerial career as youth-team coach at Spanish club in 2004 – the same year Pellegrini was appointed first-team manager at La Rosaleda.

The Spaniard later followed in the Chilean’s footsteps when he became manager of Malaga in 2014 – a year after Pellegrini had departed the same club for Manchester City.

2. Domingos Quina

Watford’s young Portuguese midfielder announced himself on the Premier League stage a week ago, when he marked his second top-flight start with a stunning long-range goal in the Hornets’ 3-2 win over Cardiff City.

Quina, of course, spent two-and-a-half years with West Ham United prior to moving to Vicarage Road in August 2018.

During his time in Claret and Blue, the teenager featured in the first-ever match at London Stadium, a 3-0 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round win over NK Domzale in August 2016.

3. Sumptuous Snodgrass

Robert Snodgrass has been central to West Ham United’s four-match Premier League winning run life.

No West Ham player covered more ground in the last four matches than Snodgrass’s 44.18km and, in the victories over Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Fulham, Snodgrass covered more ground than any of his teammates.

In addition, no West Ham player has made more key passes in those same four games than Snodgrass’s 13. He led in that category against Cardiff, Palace and Fulham and was second only to Marko Arnautovic at Newcastle.

The Scot also delivered a team-high 32 crosses from open play, leading the Hammers in that statistic in all four matches.

4. Lively left-backs

Left-backs Arthur Masuaku and Jose Holebas are likely to be important players for their respective teams this afternoon.

The West Ham United man followed his Watford counterpart into the starting XI at Olympiacos when Holebas departed for Roma at the end of the 2013/14 season. Between them, Masuaku and Holebas won six straight Super League Greece titles with the Athens giants.

The 34-year-old Holebas, who scored in Watford’s 4-2 win here two seasons ago, has been the Hornets’ best player this season, scoring three goals and assisting four more in just 14 Premier League appearances.

5. The midfield battle

The winner of Mark Noble’s midfield tussle with Etienne Capoue is likely to play a major part in deciding which way today’s game will go.

The West Ham United captain leads his team with 56.4 passes per 90 minutes played – just 0.2 behind Watford’s France international.

Both men lead their teams in disciplinary points accrued, too, with Noble totalling one red card and four yellows, while Capoue has gone one better, with one sending-off and five bookings!

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Texas Iron 3:12 Sat Dec 22
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)

DaveT 2:37 Sat Dec 22
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
I thought Pellegrini said Lanzini was probably out for the season?

gph 1:43 Sat Dec 22
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks, Alan

Takashi Miike 1:41 Sat Dec 22
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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