WHO Poll
Q: Manuel Pellegrini - What should we do
a. A good man & a good coach we should stick with him
13%
  
b. A busted flush & he's outstayed his welcome, time to go
32%
  
c. What difference does it really make who's in charge while the current owners are still in control
55%
  



Alan 12:08 Fri Aug 9
Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
BBC

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, 26, was left devastated after a deadline day move to Everton did not materialise and remains adamant he wants to leave Selhurst Park. (Telegraph)

But Ivory Coast international Zaha fears his chances of a big money move have now gone following Thursday's deadline. (Mail)

Palace manager Roy Hodgson dismissed Zaha from training on Thursday because the player was "not in the right frame of mind" after handing in a transfer request on Wednesday. (Mirror)

Chelsea will make an £80m bid for Zaha in January if they can overturn their transfer ban. (Sun)

A move for 25-year-old forward Paulo Dybala from Juventus to Tottenham fell through because of complications surrounding an image rights issue. (ESPN)

Spurs requested help from Juventus to pay the Argentina international's image rights - support the Italian champions were not prepared to offer. (90min)

Tottenham thought they had a £64m deal in place for Dybala, but Juve became less keen on a deal following Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku's decision to move from Manchester United to Inter Milan. (Telegraph)

New Inter forward Lukaku, 26, wanted to leave United after having an argument with assistant manager Mike Phelan over missing a bus during the club's pre-season tour of the Far East. (Sun)

Manchester United backed out of a move for Juventus and Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic, 33, because of the Italian champions' asking price and the Croat's wage demands. (ESPN)

Real Madrid believe the door is closed on a move for France midfielder Paul Pogba, 26, after United did not strengthen their midfield on deadline day. The La Liga side will instead turn their focus to Paris St-Germain's Brazil forward Neymar, 27. (Marca)

Fears over first-team appearances under Chelsea manager Frank Lampard prompted Brazil defender David Luiz, 32, to force a move to London rivals Arsenal. (Standard)

Angry Blues fans have reacted to Luiz's move across the capital by writing negative reviews about his Mayfair restaurant. (Mirror)

Everton boss Marco Silva was determined to add pace to his attacking options on deadline day and quickly identified Arsenal 23-year-old Nigeria winger Alex Iwobi as an alternative to main target Zaha. (Guardian)

But the Toffees were not prepared to meet Manchester United's asking price for 29-year-old Argentina defender Marcos Rojo. (Sky Sports)

Rojo was left fuming after his proposed move to Goodison Park fell through. (Mail)

Manchester United rejected the opportunity to sign Italy striker Moise Kean from Juventus, prior to the 19-year-old's move to Premier league rivals Everton. (90min)

Tottenham were left frustrated by Sporting Lisbon's refusal to lower their asking price for 24-year-old Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes. (Mirror)

Meanwhile, Watford had a late bid rejected by Spurs for England defender Danny Rose, 29. (Sky Sports)

Burundi striker Saido Berahino, 26, will sign for Belgian club Zulte Waregem following his release by Championship side Stoke City. (Mail)

Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha says the club's decision not to sign Tottenham's Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld, 30, during the summer transfer window is a "complete mystery". (Manchester Evening News)

Manchester City's 22-year-old English winger Brandon Barker is close to completing a move to Scottish Premiership side Rangers. (Record)




Guardian Rumour Mill

Simon Burnton

The Premier League’s summer transfer window might have only just closed but planning for the next one is already under way, with the Sun splashing the story that Chelsea will make an £80m move for Wilfried Zaha in January “if they succeed in having their transfer ban overturned”. Even as transfer tittle-tattle goes this seems somewhat flimsy, with a significant hole where the evidence of Chelsea’s interest should be (“Chelsea, who are convinced they can escape a transfer ban and start buying players again in the new year, will be alerted to Zaha’s predicament,” is the strongest it gets), but clearly the winger wants to leave Crystal Palace, and apparently the Eagles “have reluctantly agreed to revisit his future in January”. He may have to wait a little bit longer if he wants to move to Stamford Bridge, with the Telegraph also mentioning Chelsea’s interest and saying they “may suggest he waits for them to make an offer for him next summer, when their transfer ban has expired”.

The Mail reports the tactics used by Palace to keep Everton at bay were occasionally rather extreme. “At one point Everton were struggling to get Palace to answer their calls and Selhurst Park bosses were ‘dodging them every way possible’ such was the club’s determination to hang on to their prized asset,” it writes, conjuring images of negotiators locking themselves in the broom cupboard, sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting “la la la” for several hours of Thursday afternoon.

The battle may not yet be over, with the Telegraph saying he may now move abroad. “Zaha remains adamant he wants to leave and, with the transfer window still open for other major European leagues until the beginning of next month, there remains the possibility of other bids being submitted. The issue for Palace is they cannot now sign a replacement even if a club match their valuation.”

Zaha is not the only Premier League player with a four-letter surname furious at not being allowed to move to Everton. Marcos Rojo, the Mail reports, has been “left fuming” after United insisted on “changing the parameters” of an existing loan agreement on deadline day, resulting in the whole thing falling through. In other deals-that-won’t-happen news, the Mail also reveals Bayern Munich were poised to submit a massive £110m bid for Leroy Sané and “were prepared to hand the winger wages of £400,000 a week”, though that’s easy for them to say now that Sane is about to have surgery on a knee injury and the whole thing’s off.

The Corriere dello Sport says the battle for Mauro Icardi is truly hotting up. Napoli and Juventus remain interested but Roma, it reports, have entered the fray – and “can play the Dzeko card”. Calciomercato has more on this, saying that Edin Dzeko’s agent met Inter officials at precisely 11am on Wednesday – reaching agreement in principle on personal terms – and with Roma on Thursday. The Giallorossi are not minded to let him go but the player is quite keen to leave, so the situation has the potential to go full Zaha. A Lukaku-Dzeko frontline would be quite fearsome in its tall, very broad-shouldered way.

As for Neymar, Marca and L’Equipe lead on Real Madrid’s pursuit of the Brazilian, while Sport and Mundo Deportivo insist Barcelona remain in the fray. AS meanwhile has a foot in both camps, pointing out that “only Madrid and Barcelona can sign him” and that both remain interested. Real had made Paul Pogba their priority, but with United not having signed a potential replacement that avenue is considered closed, freeing the Spanish side to splash the cash on Neymar instead. “The club has been thinking for some time that what the team lacked was a big star striker,” it writes, adding that helpfully “PSG’s relationship with Madrid is magnificent, quite the opposite of that with Barcelona”.

Mundo Deportivo reports that Neymar would prefer to join Barcelona and will wait until 20 August for them to make a definitive move – but should they fail, the Brazilian “would not rule out any option in order to leave the French side”. The Gazzetta dello Sport meanwhile says the transfer will not happen in isolation, predicting that once Neymar is sold PSG will buy Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, at which point Milan will have enough money to buy Ángel Correa from Atlético Madrid and line up a deal for Luka Modric, even if it might not go through until next summer. “The Rossoneri are ready,” they write. “All they need is for Donnarumma to bring in at least €50m to start the dances.”







Guardian

Premier League 2019‑20 preview: West Ham

There has been undoubted improvement under Manuel Pellegrini but West Ham remain difficult to read

Jacob Steinberg

Guardian writers’ predicted position: 10th (NB: this is not necessarily Jacob Steinberg’s prediction but the average of our writers’ tips)

Last season’s position: 10th

Odds to win the league (via Oddschecker): 500-1

Lukasz Fabianski proved excellent value for money after joining West Ham for £7m last summer. He was an ocean of calm behind his back four, barely put a foot wrong and even ended last season with numbers suggesting he was the Premier League’s safest pair of hands.

Only Neil Etheridge, relegated with Cardiff City, came close to matching Fabianski’s 148 saves. Yet if Alisson made only 76 saves, it was because those in front of him ensured that Liverpool’s brilliant Brazilian faced only 100 shots.

Perhaps it is unfair to compare West Ham with the European champions. So let’s look at teams who finished above them in the Premier League’s mid-table mini-league. Everton’s Jordan Pickford was worked 143 times. Rui Patrício, outstanding for Wolves, was called into action 147 times. Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel faced 143 shots.

By contrast Fabianski was tested 206 times and although the Pole’s statistics were impressive, they were not enough to stop West Ham conceding 55 goals and finishing with a negative goal difference. Viewed in a harsh light, the figures begin to look like the reason why Manuel Pellegrini’s side fell short of seventh place.

With that in mind it might have made sense for Pellegrini to focus on improving his side’s defending this summer. West Ham have lacked a commanding central midfielder for years and it was an encouraging sign when they attempted to sign Barcelona’s André Gomes.

Yet Gomes chose Everton and West Ham’s next move was paying £24m for Villarreal’s Pablo Fornals, another creator to slot in alongside Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere, and the search for a screening player was put on hold. Fornals, who helped Spain win the Under-21 European Championship this summer, is more likely to frustrate opponents with piercing through-balls than perceptive interceptions.

The messaging changed. After a transitional first year it was said that Pellegrini plans to lift West Ham closer to the top six by playing on the front foot, with the manager following the arrival of Fornals by spending most of his remaining funds on a new striker, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Sebastien Haller.

It means West Ham remain difficult to read. There has been undoubted improvement under Pellegrini, who has the backing of the board, but the Chilean struggled to stamp out his side’s inconsistency. They mostly toiled against mid-table opponents, while humblings on the road against Burnley, Brighton and Cardiff exposed an inability to cope with physicality.

However Pellegrini’s approach often worked against the top sides. Although the former Real Madrid manager’s expansiveness backfired when Manchester City ran riot at the London Stadium and Chelsea punished his 4-4-2 system at Stamford Bridge, there were deserved wins over Arsenal and Manchester United, a worthy 1-1 home draw with Liverpool and an intelligent performance which made West Ham the first visiting team to win at Tottenham’s new ground.

Those performances raised optimism and there was much to admire about the way Pellegrini got rid of Marko Arnautovic last month, even though West Ham were disappointed that Shanghai SIPG paid only £22.4m for the disruptive Austrian.

Selling Arnautovic left West Ham under pressure to sign a striker. They had already shifted Andy Carroll and Lucas Pérez off the wage bill, leaving Javier Hernández and Jordan Hugill as their only senior forwards, and there was mild panic when Valencia beat them to the signing of Maxi Gómez from Celta Vigo.

Unlike in previous years, however, West Ham reacted decisively. Pellegrini and Mario Husillos, the director of football, pressed for Haller and David Sullivan, the powerful co-owner, agreed to break West Ham’s transfer record for a player whose fee could rise to €50m.

Haller is regarded as the complete striker because of his ability to score goals, create them and bring teammates into play. The 25-year-old is also bound to work harder than Arnautovic – no Bundesliga striker made more tackles per 90 minutes last season.

West Ham can sense a team slowly coming together. With Anderson, Fornals and Lanzini operating as a trio behind Haller, there could be plenty of fun – and plenty of frustration. Anderson, the gifted Brazilian winger, needs to push on after scoring 10 goals following his arrival from Lazio last summer and can be lazy when it comes to protecting his left-back. Fornals will need time to settle. It remains to be seen whether Lanzini will be the same after a serious knee injury.

Pellegrini will also have to be patient with Andriy Yarmolenko as the Ukrainian winger continues his comeback from an achilles injury and there is concern about what would happen if Haller were sidelined. Hernández is not robust enough and although the versatile Michail Antonio finished last season well, he can lack the nous to play up front. However the arrival of Albian Ajeti on deadline day should lighten Haller’s load. The 22-year-old Swiss striker scored 15 goals for FC Basel last season.

Yet there could be pressure on West Ham’s attack to flourish. In central midfield Declan Rice will look to protect the back four and ensure he keeps his England spot before Euro 2020. But while Robert Snodgrass never lets anyone down and Mark Noble remains a solid performer, it is surprising that West Ham are yet to find an upgrade on the latter. There is a lack of pace in the middle and gambling on Wilshere staying fit feels unwise, especially as an injury to the former Arsenal midfielder would push Carlos Sánchez closer to a starting spot following the sale of Pedro Obiang to Sassuolo.

Yet while Obiang’s exit has freed up space in the budget for incomings, with the departures of Edimilson Fernandes, Sam Byram, Adrian, Reece Oxford, Hugill and Samir Nasri also helping Pellegrini prune his squad, the concern is that it will still be too easy to get at West Ham’s back four.

That said Pellegrini has immense confidence in Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop as a partnership in central defence. But he needs them to stay fit. Angelo Ogbonna has become a rickety presence, Winston Reid has not played since March 2018 because of a knee problem and West Ham were leaky during pre-season, conceding 12 goals in five games. Last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Athletic Bilbao convinced Pellegrini to dip into the market for another centre-back, with the promising 19-year-old Goncalo Cardoso expected to challenge Balbuena and Diop after his £3m move from Boavista.

The full-backs also need to convince Pellegrini of their worth. Ryan Fredericks must work on the defensive side of his game if he is to keep Pablo Zabaleta and Ben Johnson out at right-back, while Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku are both much of a muchness at left-back.

Unless those flaws are eradicated it is difficult to see West Ham getting close to the top six. Yet there as many strengths as weaknesses and they have not had a better manager than Pellegrini in the Premier League era. Finishing as best of the rest should not be beyond them.




90 Minutes

Albian Ajeti: 5 Things to Know About West Ham's New Swiss Striker

By Nischal Schwager-Patel

West Ham completed their sixth signing of the summer transfer window, signing striker Albian Ajeti from FC Basel.

The Hammers ​​signed the 22-year-old Swiss on deadline day, purchasing him for a fee of £8m. He joins a wealth of Swiss players who now play their trade in the Premier League, such as Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabian Schär.

With the Swiss starlet the latest addition to the Premier League, here are five things you need to know about Ajeti.

Ajeti Made His Professional Debut at 17

Ajeti began playing football from a very young age, and his talent was spotted early on by his hometown club FC Basel. He joined the club in 2005 as a youth player, working his way through the ranks before breaking into the first team in 2014.

After a number of substitute appearances, Ajeti was awarded his professional debut in March 2014 by then-manager Murat Yakin. At 17 years old, the Swiss forward was brought on as a substitute in Basel's Europa League round of 16 match against Salzburg.

Although the game ended goalless, it proved to be invaluable experience for Ajeti who made his Swiss Super League debut weeks later. He soon scored his first goal in the Swiss top flight, scoring in a 4-2 win over Lausanne-Sport in May 2014.

He Was Basel’s Top Goalscorer in 2 Consecutive Seasons

Ajeti is a proven goalscoring striker, proven in his second senior spell at FC Basel. The 22-year-old scored 21 goals in 43 appearances last season, as the RotBlau finished second in the Swiss Super League and won their 13th Swiss Cup at the end of May.

The season before was just as prolific for Ajeti, as he scored 17 goals in 37 games to win the Swiss Super League golden boot. He is also the joint-leading goalscorer this season, with his two goals tying him with Luca Zuffi and Valentin Stocker.

Ajeti was Basel's most clinical goalscorer for the last two seasons, and his early scoring suggests he would've continued that into this campaign.

Ajeti Scored Six Minutes Into His Switzerland Debut

Ajeti made his senior debut for Switzerland in September 2018, after rising through the national youth team setup. Having represented the Schweizer Nati from the Under-15s up to the Under-21s, Vladimir Petković handed him his debut in the Nations League clash with Iceland.

65 minutes into the game at the kybunpark in St. Gallen, Ajeti was brought off the bench for Breel Embolo. Just six minutes later, he slotted home from close range, marking his first ever appearance for Switzerland with his first ever goal for Switzerland in a clinical display.

Since then, Ajeti has become a regular in Petković's setup, earning seven caps in the Nati's last ten internationals. While the 22-year-old is not yet the first choice striker with Haris Seferović ahead of him, he will certainly be a starter for the Swiss within a few years.

He Could've Represented Albania at International Level

While Ajeti was born in Switzerland and represented his birth country at every level, his international career could've taken a different path. Ajeti's family comes from Albania, and if he wanted to he could've decided to represent the Eagles.

In 2015, Albania manager Gianna de Biasi contacted Ajeti about playing for the country in their Euro 2016 qualifiers, but to no avail. Albian would not have been the only Ajeti in the squad, with his older brother Arlind Ajeti representing Albania and making 19 caps for them.

However, Ajeti chose to continue to play for the Schweizer Nati instead, and in an interview with ​Blick, he said: "[Albania is] the home of my family. Nevertheless, I decided to play for Switzerland and not for Albania."

Ajeti Already Has European Experience

Having played regular football with Basel for years, Ajeti has had the privilege of playing in Europe. He has scored three goals in 15 European appearances for the RotBlau, as well as an impressive five goals in 11 appearances in the UEFA Youth League.

Ajeti has experienced European football at various levels, playing in qualifiers, group stage and knockout games in both the Champions League and Europa League. This includes the new season, as he scored in Basel's 3-2 second round qualification first leg defeat to PSV.

With a goalscoring record, an international pedigree and European experience, Ajeti is the perfect player for West Ham. With many years ahead of him and time to develop and improve, he has a lot ahead of him as he starts his new life in east London.




Soccer Souls

West Ham have struck gold by signing this Euro U19 powerhouse for a bargain £2.75m – Here’s why

by Mizgan Masani

West Ham signing Goncalo Cardoso is a very good move for them

West Ham United have signed highly-rated defender Goncalo Cardoso from Boavista for a deal around £2.75m.

The Portuguese defender has joined the Hammers on a five-year deal, with an option to extend for one more year. He starred for his youth national team in the U19 Euros this summer.

Cardoso played 15 games for Boavista in the Portuguese league last season and impressed many. He is expected to provide cover to Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena in the West Ham back-line.

The Hammers were keen on adding a defender before the transfer deadline and they have finally managed to complete one deal (h/t Evening Standard). Here’s why this would be a great move for them from various point of views:
Cardoso could be the present and future at the club

Goncalo Cardoso is a highly-talented young defender, who can operate on either side of the central defence. Over the last 12 months, he improved his game to a large extent which helped him play for the Boavista first-team last season.

He played 18 games for them and caught the eye of many around. In terms of his attributes, Cardoso is a physically strong player, who doesn’t mind going for aerial challenges against centre-forwards.

He also very good at reading the game and making tackles/interceptions. Furthermore, the youngster possesses good recovery pace to match the runs of pacy forwards. The only drawback to his game is that he has still not mastered the art of passing the ball from the back.

However, that can be worked on in training and he is still young enough to learn that. In a nutshell, Cardoso has enough qualities as a defender to succeed at West Ham.

Conclusion

We can conclude by saying that West Ham have done the right thing by signing Goncalo Cardoso this summer.

The youngster could be their long-term centre-back, who improves their back-line and helps them challenge for a top-seven finish.




Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 8:25 Fri Aug 9
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Son of Sam 6:34 Fri Aug 9
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan Good read

gph 4:17 Fri Aug 9
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks, Alan

ironsofcanada 2:45 Fri Aug 9
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan


"Fornals... is more likely to frustrate opponents with piercing through-balls than perceptive interceptions."

Our Jacob really has turned into the typical wanna-be creative writer journo, hasn't he?

crystal falace 1:01 Fri Aug 9
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
...top 7 should get you into Europe is the point I assume?

7th gets europa league assuming the 2 cup winners have already secured european football based on their league position, Wolves are playing in europe this year because City won both cups, if Watford had of won the final then it would have been them

Alwaysaniron 12:57 Fri Aug 9
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

"with their improvements and attitude to training then we can see West Ham challenging for a top 17 finish this year".

Thanks Alan 12:55 Fri Aug 9
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

the exile 12:51 Fri Aug 9
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
The Steinberg piece is a fair assessment - lots of unknowns as we head into the new season.

Good to read about Ajeti - his stats look impressive. It's going to be interesting to see how he fits in and whether this means that Chicharito will get even less game time.

Thanks Alan.

ludo21 12:26 Fri Aug 9
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
...top 7 should get you into Europe is the point I assume?


Lots of positive stuff there. Thanks Alan.

Sydney_Iron 12:16 Fri Aug 9
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
"helps them challenge for a top-seven finish"

Thats new one, top 4, then top 6, now we have top 7!!!!

Oh, and ..............

Thanks Alan





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