WHO Poll

Alan 11:13 Fri Feb 22
Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Barcelona are interested in Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford, 21. (Mundo Deportivo - in Spanish)

Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, 29, has no interest in returning to the Premier League and the Wales international wants to see out his contract at the Bernabeu, which expires in 2022. (AS)

Leicester City will consider replacing manager Claude Puel with Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez, who has postponed contract talks at St James' Park to focus on the side's relegation battle. (Mirror)

The agent of Manchester United target Kalidou Koulibaly has dismissed talk of the 27-year-old Napoli and Senegal defender joining Juventus. (Sky Sports)

Slovakia centre-back Milan Skriniar, 24, has been linked with United but says he is close to signing a new contract with Italian club Inter Milan. (CalcioMercato.com)

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has dismissed reports Paris St-Germain are considering a £60m move for the Gunners' France Under-21 midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, 19. (Football.London)

Derby County manager Frank Lampard says he is not surprised he has been linked with replacing Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri at his former club, but added that he is focusing on his job with the Rams. (Mirror)

Atletcio Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak, 26, is set to sign a new contract with the La Liga club that will increase the Slovenia international's release clause from 100m euros (£87m). (AS)

Manager Claude Puel has held talks with Leicester vice-captain Kasper Schmeichel after the keeper's father - Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel - suggested his son wants to play for a bigger team and that Puel is unable to inspire his players. (Leicester Mercury)

Fulham's Spanish goalkeeper Sergio Rico, 25, says he would like to stay at the conclusion of his loan from Sevilla. (Sky Sports)

Barcelona are tracking Lille and Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe, 23, who has been a target for Arsenal. (Sport)

Liverpool Under-18 captain Paul Glatzel, 18, has signed his first professional contract after scoring 23 times for the youth team this season. (Liverpool Echo)

Stoke are exploring the possibility of sacking Burundi forward Saido Berahino amid the fallout from the 25-year-old's drink-driving case. (Mail)

Mallorca's Spanish defender Antonio Raillo, 27, says he turned down "a really good opportunity" to sign for Nottingham Forest in the January transfer window. (AS, via Nottingham Post)

Hull City are monitoring Motherwell's Scottish midfielder Jake Hastie, 19. (Hull Daily Mail)

Manchester United have warned Liverpool fans about "persistent standing" in the build-up to Sunday's Premier League game at Old Trafford. (Liverpool Echo)

Meanwhile, United's FA Cup quarter-final against Wolves has complicated plans to hold the Old Trafford derby against Manchester City in the first week of April. (ESPN)

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino hopes to take his team away on a warm-weather training camp next month during a period in which they may have three weeks without a fixture. (Football.London)

A new wording on the handball rule is set to be brought in by football's lawmakers and it "will significantly reduce the grey areas" around the offence. (Times - subscription required)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Jacob Steinberg

Marcus Rashford is good at football! To the surprise of no one apart from José Mourinho, the Manchester United ace is capable of doing lots of goals and assists! All he needs is an arm round the shoulder, a few words of encouragement and a regular run of games up front! Then watch him fly. Watch him go. Watch him go all the way to Barcelona!

That’s right: Barcelona have decided to make the United forward their top summer target. With Luis Suárez showing signs of decline, the Spanish champions have identified Rashford as a replacement for the Uruguayan forward and are willing to pay top dollar to get him. They’ll have to be fast, though, because United are on the verge of handing the England international a new long-term deal.

Barcelona should find it easier to prise hotshot winger Nicolas Pépé away from Lille, although they’ll have to battle with Arsenal for the 23-year-old Ivorian. Arsenal, meanwhile, have no plans to sell Matteo Guendouzi to Paris Saint-Germain, who are said to be ready to pay £60m for the French midfielder.

Milan Skriniar, linked with United on a daily basis, is close to agreeing a new deal with Internazionale. But who needs him anyway? United gave Phil Jones a new contract the other week: how could they possibly want another centre-back?

Leicester City aren’t going down this season, but they’re still thinking about sacking Claude Puel and replacing him with Rafael Benítez, who has postponed contract talks with Newcastle.

Liverpool continue to monitor Sporting midfielder Bruno Fernandes. Adam Lallana could be shown the door if the Portuguese midfielder heads to Anfield. Luckily for Lallana, Southampton want to bring him back to St Mary’s. Assuming they don’t get relegated, that is. Hooray!


Report: Barcelona make Gomez their number one target

According to Mundo Deportivo, West Ham transfer target Maxi Gomez is at the top of a Barcelona shortlist to be a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez due to his experience in La Liga as well as them being national teammates which should help him adapt to the club and learn the style of play. However, the report claims his release clause of 50 million euros could be a stumbling block.

The 22-year-old who is likened to Suarez in that he enjoys terrorising the opposition defence. Barcelona see him as a versatile player for the team whether that be direct or patient build-up play. Having someone like him to play off would be ideal for Lionel Messi due to how he often utilises quick passages of combination play to break through the opposition in the final third, although Gomez’ link-up play would need to improve claims the report.

Claret and Hugh say:

Maxi Gomez was hotly tipped as a replacement for Marko Arnautovic in the January transfer window when the Austrian striker had his heart set on a move to China. The Chinese clubs were unable to match the Hammers valuation so the striker was told by Manual Pellegrini he could not move. It remains to be seen whether anyone can match that valuation this summer with the player turning 30 in April. The Hammers will have transfer limited funds in the Summer and are unlikely to want to get into a bidding war with Barcelona to pay above the £45m release clause. Unless someone comes in with a mega money transfer deal for Arnie this sumner that would fund the Gomez deal, this transfer is looking less likely as happening in the summer.

Wilshere worries may bring Hammers judgement

Jack Wilshere may be approaching a make or break situation on his Hammers future should he be unable to make a full recovery from his injury problems!

Manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed yesterday it was hoped an evaluation next week would make the player’s situation clearer.

Absent from action since December he will be given time to recover from his current problems but should they, and the general uncertainty surrounding them continue, could lead the club towards making a crucial judgement.

And that could well include a pay off if a suitable compensation package could be put together which were to prove mutually agreeable.

In assessing the situation manager Manuel Pellegrini said at his pre-Fulham presser: “We will evaluate him next week and then we will be more clear about his future.”

There are now concerns the former Gunner’s season may be over and were fears of an ongoing problem to emerge a compensation offer and contract termination could be a consideration.

Wilshere was signed on a free to cover for Manu Lanzini but with the Argentinian now fit, Samir Nasri set for another year on the squad and Andriy Yarmolenko recovering, the former Gunner’s position looks precarious.

He is on a deal currently worth £10 million in wages over the next two years and were the Irons to offer around £7 million a deal could be possibly be done in a worst case scenario.


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

1. Menacing Mitrovic

While Fulham have struggled mightily at the defensive end of the pitch, the same cannot be said for the visitors’ Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The 24-year-old has been a centre forward reborn since joining the Whites on loan from Newcastle United in January last year, scoring 22 goals in 43 league appearances.

Ten of those goals have come this season, with seven of them coming in Fulham’s four Premier League victories over Burnley, Southampton, Huddersfield Town and Brighton & Hove Albion – and Mitrovic scoring the winner in all four!

Strong in the air – only Cardiff City’s Callum Paterson has won more aerial challenges this season – a fine hold-up player and decent finisher, Fulham’s No9 will carry a major threat to West Ham United this evening.

2. A Premier League 'double'

West Ham United passed up the opportunity to record their first Premier League ‘double’ of the season when they allowed Crystal Palace to equalise at Selhurst Park last time out.

Tonight, the Hammers get a second chance to beat an opponent home and away when they take on a Fulham side they defeated 2-0 at Craven Cottage in December.

For the record, West Ham have ‘doubled’ Fulham three times previously in the Premier League, in 2005/06, 2007/08 and 2008/09.

3. Fulham's leaky defence

With 58, Fulham have conceded a full ten goals more than the next-worse defence in the Premier League – Huddersfield Town – and will seemingly need to improve their record at that end of the pitch if they are to avoid relegation.

Six of those goals have been directly due to defensive errors, while the Whites have kept just two clean sheets in 26 league matches.

Alongside mistakes, Fulham also changed many of their defensive personnel following promotion back to the top flight.

Of the goalkeeper and back four who kicked-off the 2018 Play-Off final victory over Aston Villa, only two were in the team which lost at home to Manchester United a fortnight ago – Denis Odoi and Tim Ream – with goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli out of favour, right-back Ryan Fredericks now with West Ham United and left-back Matt Targett back at parent club Southampton.

4. Tenacious Hammers

No Premier League team has attempted more tackles this season than West Ham United.

The Hammers have made 758 tackles in their 26 matches, winning 486 of them. That figure puts them ahead of second-place Wolverhampton Wanderers (756), Huddersfield Town (729) and Southampton (727). With 590, Fulham rank 16th.

West Ham’s leading individual tackler is none other than winger Felipe Anderson, who has put in 114 to rank fifth in the Premier League, followed by Declan Rice on 92. By contrast, Fulham’s leading tackler is Ivorian midfielder Jean Michael Seri, with 69.

5. A red card

In the 21 Premier League games between West Ham United and Fulham, there have been no fewer than eight red cards shown.

Four players from each side have been sent for an early bath, with Kevin Nolan being the most-recent in the Hammers’ 2-1 defeat at Craven Cottage on New Year’s Day 2014 – the last time the two clubs met.

Prior to that, Tomas Repka (2002), Paul Konchesky (2006) and Bobby Zamora (2007) were red carded for the Irons, while Zat Knight (2002), Leon Andreassen (February 2008), Andy Johnson (September 2008) and Kagisho Dikcagoi (2009) were given their marching orders for the Whites.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 8:12 Fri Feb 22
Re: transfer window excuses getting in early
Thanks Alan

bubbleblower 6:05 Fri Feb 22
Re: transfer window excuses getting in early
"The Hammers will have transfer limited funds in the Summer".............

Here we go...............

Texas Iron 5:20 Fri Feb 22
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Sarge 4:00 Fri Feb 22
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
West Ham’s leading individual tackler is none other than winger Felipe Anderson, who has put in 114 to rank fifth in the Premier League,


Thanks Alan 11:16 Fri Feb 22
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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