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Alan 1:39 Mon Dec 31
Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Real Madrid and Spain midfielder Isco, 26, has played down the prospect of a move to Chelsea in January by saying he will not be leaving the Bernabeu during the transfer window. (Deportes Cuatro, via Metro)

Manchester City are tracking Real Betis' 22-year-old Spanish left-back Junior Firpo but face competition from Real Madrid. (Mirror)

Liverpool and England striker Dominic Solanke, 21, has had a medical at Crystal Palace as he nears a loan move. (Mail)

Liverpool target and Borussia Dortmund and USA midfielder Christian Pulisic, 20, looks set to join Premier League rivals Chelsea, according to an announcement made by former USA striker Eddie Johnson on social media. (Calciomercato)

Lille and Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe, 23, who has been linked with Arsenal, Barcelona and Manchester City, appears open to a move next summer. (Le Voix du Nord, via Star)

Chelsea's French midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, 24, says he is open to staying at AC Milan at the end of his season-long loan at the Italian club. (MilanNews, via Mail)

Manchester United want to sign 27-year-old Roma and Greece centre-back Kostas Manolas. (Tuttomercato, via Express)

Arsenal and Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny, 26, has been told to leave the Gunners on loan in January in order to force his way into manager Unai Emery's long-term plans. (Standard)

Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast forward Wilfried Zaha, 26, could leave Selhurst Park in the summer but not in January, says chairman Steve Parish. (Mirror)

Fulham may sell French striker Aboubakar Kamara, 23, after he ignored manager Claudio Ranieri's orders and insisted on taking a penalty - which he missed - against Huddersfield on Saturday. (Times)

West Brom are closing in on a deal to sign Everton's 22-year-old English defender Mason Holgate on loan in January. (Express & Star)

German club RB Leipzig have joined the race to sign Chelsea's 18-year-old English winger Callum Hudson-Odoi. (Kicker - German)

Middlesbrough hope to sign Huddersfield's Dutch midfielder Rajiv van La Parra, 27, on loan with a view to a permanent deal in the summer. (Yorkshire Post)

Manager Brendan Rodgers says Celtic have work to do in the January transfer window to bring in new players. (Irish Times, via Celtic TV)

Assistant manager Steve Holland says England did not handle the 2018 World Cup semi-final in Russia as well as they could have done. (Telegraph)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Barry Glendenning

Not long now. At 12.01am, as the final drunken renditions of Auld Lang Syne echo through the dark winter UK night (other time zones are available) and assorted folk make life-improving resolutions they almost certainly won’t keep, the January transfer window will open for business. We’ve had some belters over the years: Afonso Alves to Middlesbrough, Jimmy Bullard to Hull City and Kostas Mitroglou to Fulham, to name just three who flopped spectacularly having surfed from one club to another on a New Year wave of optimism. But for every Giannelli Imbula to Stoke, there’s a Luis Suárez to Liverpool and so it is that football fans approach this time of year with understandably high hopes of what the month ahead might hold in store.

Sitting in front of a croissant, glass of orange juice and cup of coffee on Sky’s Sunday Supplement yesterday morning, German journalist Raphael Honigstein told his fellow guests that it is his “understanding” that Chelsea are the only club to have made a concrete offer for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic, despite rumoured interest from Liverpool and Manchester United.

“Dortmund are looking to see if there are other offers coming in as you would, but it is kind of agreed that the player will move in the summer definitely because he still has a year to run on his contract,” said Honigstein, who knows his Bundesliga onions and bratwurst, although speculation elsewhere suggests the USA international could move sooner. With Pulisic set to make the move from Germany to England, Callum Hudson-Odoi will move the other way and may be able to pick his pick of teams with both Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig understood to be after him.

Cardiff City remain hopeful of signing Nathaniel Clyne on loan from Liverpool, who have already set the wheels in motion on a deal to send Dominic Solanke to Crystal Palace for the rest of the season. The striker has coughed, opened his mouth wide and said “Awwww!” for the Selhurst Park medics and his move may be finalised today. Yet to start a match for Tottenham this season, blue-eyed Spanish striker Fernando Llorente will head for pastures new at Galatasaray. Spurs left-back Jaden Brown has also been deemed surplus to requirements, with a move to Huddersfield Town being mooted for the 19-year-old whose contract expires at the end of the season.

Meanwhile at Goodison Park, Mason Holgate is reported to have undergone a medical at West Brom ahead of a loan move to the Hawthorns, while the future of Manchester City midfielder Brahim Díaz remains up in the air. Out of contract in the summer, the 19-year-old is being courted by Real Madrid. “I know they are in conversation but I don’t have any new information about the situation,” said Pep Guardiola on Saturday. “I was clear last week when I spoke about it. We do everything to keep them [young players] but they decide.” Pep is also in hot pursuit of Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo.

Barcelona have released a statement in which they clutched their pearls at the very notion they might have tapped up unsettled Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot, but conceded they have made a legal approach. They’re also sniffing around recent Rumour Mill staples Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, who look certain to leave Ajax for the Spanish side in the next few weeks. And finally, Valencia are going to chance their arm with a cheeky January bid for West Ham fox in the box, Javier Hernández.


Young McNeil confirms old Burnley’s dominance of West Ham

Paul Wilson at Turf Moor

Burnley picked up a much-needed three points with their first win of the Christmas period, not quite managing to climb out of trouble but looking a lot more like their old selves in holding out against West Ham. Sean Dyche dropped Joe Hart and returned to a 4-4-2 formation in the hope of restoring some of the defensive solidity that has served the club well in the past.

It seemed to work, in that Burnley kept a rare clean sheet, though perhaps judgment should be reserved until opponents who can show a little more attacking conviction are encountered. Tom Heaton was not given a great deal to do in his first league appearance of the season until he made an excellent one-handed stop to foil Andy Carroll at the end. This was one of those tepid West Ham away performances that makes one wonder how they inspire such a large and loyal following, even for an early kick-off in the north.

Manuel Pellegrini acknowledged the support at the cricket club end as he walked to the dugout before kick-off, but could hardly bear to look as he trudged off at the interval with his hands in his pockets and his eyes on the ground. By then Burnley were two goals up and good value for it. What definitely worked for Dyche was bringing in the 19-year-old Dwight McNeil on the left wing, with the teenager involved in the first goal and opening his senior scoring account with the second. Yet the real star of the show was Ashley Westwood in an uncluttered midfield. West Ham could hardly get near him, except when Mark Noble was lucky to escape with just a yellow card for an ugly over-the-ball challenge.

“We moved the ball around with real quality today, the players delivered,” Dyche said. “The stats were better, the play was more effective. It was a fine display, a strong sign of how we can perform and we certainly did enough to deserve to win the game. We are still where we are, though. The win was welcome but we are going to need a lot more of them.”

Westwood was on the edge of his own penalty area when Heaton left his area to start the move for the first goal with a header to the midfielder. The ball was then transferred up the left to McNeil, then back to Westwood, whose diagonal ball towards the area was headed into Chris Wood’s path by Ashley Barnes. Wood took a touch and then slipped the ball past Lukasz Fabianski, turning to Barnes in celebration as if to ask why such a simple routine had not worked out more often.

The lead was no more than Burnley deserved – they could have been in front after a couple of minutes when Barnes anticipated a McNeil cross but put his shot the wrong side of a post. Just after the half-hour they increased it and again Westwood was involved, swinging over a cross that McNeil met at the far post for his first Burnley goal.

Pellegrini’s predictable response was to send on second-half reinforcements in the shape of Carroll and Grady Diangana, the latter having more of an immediate effect and the former picking up a booking for clattering Barnes. Burnley still had the chance to make the game safe early in the second half when Westwood played in Wood with only Fabianski to beat.

The striker managed to miss the target from close to the penalty spot, though credit for that should go to the goalkeeper who left his line early and forced him into a hurried finish. West Ham did improve in the second half, though their first-half showing had set the bar very low. Heaton made one routine save from a speculative Carroll shot and then tipped his powerful close-range header on to the bar in the closing minutes, otherwise the additional aerial threat was capably dealt with by James Tarkowski and Ben Mee.

Performing as effectively as this, Burnley have a chance of surviving, though of course they will not get to play West Ham every week. “What went wrong?” Pellegrini asked rhetorically at the end. “I could say we had some tired players and only 48 hours to prepare but I don’t like to make excuses. Burnley might be in the bottom three but they played better than us in every sense.”

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Whitester. 2:35 Tue Jan 1
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan and happy new year

Takashi Miike 1:37 Tue Jan 1
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
thanks Alan

Far Cough 9:56 Mon Dec 31
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Happy new year and thanks Alan

norwaytips 6:35 Mon Dec 31
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Happy new year, Alan and thanks for your efforts in 2018. 🥃💥🥃

Lily Hammer 4:48 Mon Dec 31
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Yes, thanks Alan, for another year’s sterling work. Always appreciated.

All the best for 2019.

Long Lost 4:01 Mon Dec 31
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Don’t often say thanks but I read and appreciate the effort

Happy New Year.

Texas Iron 3:48 Mon Dec 31
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Happy New Year Alan...


Texas Iron 3:41 Mon Dec 31
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Happy New Year Alan...


Tomsdad 3:27 Mon Dec 31
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks for all your efforts this year Alan.

Happy New year to you and yours!

COOL HAND LUKE 3:23 Mon Dec 31
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Cheers Alan,

Too many injuries, no options for changing the starting eleven (Burnley changed 6 players from their good hiding a few nights previously). And if we must play consecutive away games in a matter of days, it would help if they weren't at the opposite ends of the country... The boys looked knackered, in fairness.

SDKFZ 222 2:43 Mon Dec 31
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
The away end was sold out and full of optimism yet the players couldn’t be asked. Let’s hope they show up against Brighton, who are one of bogey teams at present.

Thanks Alan 1:40 Mon Dec 31
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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