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Alan 12:20 Thu Aug 22
Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Manchester United have made Borussia Dortmund's 19-year-old England winger Jadon Sancho, who used to be at Manchester City, their top January transfer target and are preparing a £100m bid. (Sun)

Barcelona have had their first offer of a loan, with a 150m euros (£137m) option to buy Brazil forward Neymar, 27, rejected by Paris St-Germain, as the Ligue 1 champions want €250m (£229m). (Marca)

Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea are among Europe's top clubs interested in signing Bayer Leverkusen's Germany forward Kai Havertz, 20, who is valued at £91m. (Sport1 - in German)

Manchester United and Spain goalkeeper David de Gea, 28, has yet to put pen to paper on his new £350,000-a-week deal and could keep the club waiting until January. (Sun)

Liverpool's out-of-favour Croatia defender Dejan Lovren, 30, is attracting the interest of German side Bayer Leverkusen after failing to secure a move to Roma. (Bild - in German)

Tottenham are in talks to sell Kenya midfielder Victor Wanyama, 28, to Club Bruges for £11m. (Telegraph)

Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi, 25, wants to stay and fight for his place at Chelsea but will reassess the situation in January. (Standard)

Crystal Palace are finalising contract extensions for Belgium striker Christian Benteke, 28, and English centre-back James Tomkins, 30. (Mail)

Manchester City are monitoring the situation of Velez Sarsfield Argentine midfielder Thiago Almada, 18, who has yet to renew his contract with the club. (A Bola, via Manchester Evening News)

City have had a request for extra Premier League winners' medals turned down. The champions were given 40 medals after winning the title last year and the Premier League have ruled that is sufficient. (Mail)

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp wants English midfielder Herbie Kane, 20, to feature in their Carabao Cup campaign, ending the hopes of Portsmouth, Sunderland and Coventry of signing the player on loan. (Portsmouth News)

Bayern Munich are open to selling former Germany defender Jerome Boateng, 30, for £22m. (Mail via Marca)

Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry has revealed he often slips into matches at Emirates Stadium unnoticed by fans in order to study his former club and improve his coaching. (Telegraph)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Jacob Steinberg

Manchester United cannot take a hint. Jadon Sancho might have agreed a new £190,000 contract with Borussia Dortmund, but that will not stop United from making a £100m bid for the England winger in January. Dortmund will consider selling on one condition: Ole Gunnar Solskjær has to tell Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford that Fred takes all the penalties from now on.

United do not plan to stop at Sancho as they hunt for attacking reinforcements. They are also in for Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz, though they face competition for the £90m forward from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. Someone’s PR team have been busy!

Elsewhere, Barcelona remain interested in signing Neymar, who retired from football two years ago. However Paris Saint-Germain have rejected their hilarious opening offer of a loan with an option to buy for £137m – they’re after a whopping £229m for the Brazilian. Perhaps Barça, beaten by Athletic Bilbao in their opening La Liga game, can finance the deal with all that money they received for the transfers of Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Rakitic and Ousmane Dembélé. Ahem!

Meanwhile, Tottenham are in talks to sell Victor Wanyama to Club Brugge for £11m, but Michy Batshuayi wants to stay and fight for his place at Chelsea – even though Frank Lampard appears to think he’s about as good as Mateja Kezman.

Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren is a target for Leverkusen. Southampton’s Mario Lemina is set to join Monaco on loan. Atlético Madrid are closing in on Dinamo Zagreb winger Dani Olmo. Ian Holloway is a target for the Brexit Party.


West Ham need Jack Wilshere to show his class and justify expensive gamble
Manuel Pellegrini has put faith in player who must rediscover spark and prove he can handle rigours of the Premier League

Jacob Steinberg

It did not take long for some people at West Ham to develop doubts about the wisdom of signing Jack Wilshere. The misplaced early optimism soon ebbed away and the grumbling began midway through last season, with the mood summed up by one figure muttering about how long was left on Wilshere’s contract and wondering whether West Ham should think about finding a way to part company with a player on a three-year deal worth close to £100,000 a week.

Wilshere was out with an ankle injury at the time and had made one brief substitute appearance since being substituted during the 1-0 home defeat by Wolves on 1 September, by which point the fanfare that greeted the midfielder’s arrival from Arsenal last summer was already starting to look a little overblown. The England international was a starter as West Ham lost their opening four league games and it spoke volumes that the team’s form improved only after he was sidelined, forcing Manuel Pellegrini to give his midfield a more robust feel.

It had been Pellegrini who pushed for Wilshere to be handed a three-year contract, even though others felt a one-year deal would be more appropriate for a player who did not make it out for the second half of last Saturday’s draw with Brighton after being withdrawn for tactical reasons. This is why West Ham’s board viewed Wilshere, who could be on the bench against Watford on Saturday, as a risky signing. At the moment there is little to counter the evidence that the gamble has backfired.

But why throw the dice in the first place? You might think that a club scarred by Andy Carroll’s six injury-hit years would have trodden more carefully, but there was also a desire to back Pellegrini in his first transfer window as West Ham’s manager. The Chilean loves a creative player. When his midfield was criticised after a 2-1 defeat by Bournemouth last August, Pellegrini raised eyebrows by comparing Wilshere to Andrea Pirlo.

He also insisted that he was not worried about Wilshere’s injury problems, revealing that West Ham had devised a training regime for him, but those comments felt hollow when the England international underwent ankle surgery in September of last year.

Wilshere made his comeback as a late substitute in the 3-0 away win at Newcastle in early December, only to miss a home game against Cardiff three days later. Another ankle problem, Pellegrini said. More time wasted. More false hope. There would be three more substitute appearances before the campaign was over.

Which brings us to this season and Pellegrini’s determination to give Wilshere an important role. The 27-year-old had a decent pre-season and is paying for a physiotherapist to fly over from Ireland to give him private fitness sessions twice a week, but it remains obvious why Unai Emery did not go to great lengths to keep him at Arsenal when his contract expired.

With Mark Noble out with a thigh strain, Wilshere partnered Declan Rice in West Ham’s first two games and has not come close to lasting the distance. He went off with a dead leg during the 5-0 home defeat by Manchester City, having made no impact during his 56 minutes on the pitch, and he was badly off the pace in the 1-1 draw at Brighton, completing 10 passes before making way for Michail Antonio. What Antonio lacks in technique he makes up for with pace and power, qualities that make him an effective player in an environment as physically demanding as the Premier League, and his introduction led to an improvement.

Being generous, the season is young and there is time for Wilshere to shed the rust by getting more matches under his belt. His undoubted class could yet rise to the surface and it is impossible not to wish him well. With Wilshere, so full of boyish enthusiasm every time he steps on the pitch, there is always that romantic hope of seeing him rediscover the spark that allowed him to dominate Pep Guardiola’s great Barcelona side in a Champions League tie in 2011.

That game took place more than eight years ago. There are dreams and there is cold reality. The Premier League becomes faster every year, as Wilshere acknowledged after the City game, and West Ham remain as porous in defence as last season.

It raises concerns about Pellegrini’s approach. He wants to attack, yet questions are being asked about why he spent a significant chunk of his summer budget on Pablo Fornals, another attacking midfielder, when West Ham were crying out for more strength in the middle. They needed another ball-winner to take some of the load off Rice after selling Pedro Obiang.

Instead, West Ham find themselves devoting considerable time and money into trying to kickstart Wilshere’s career. Meanwhile, they have failed to invest in improving problem positions such as full-back and central midfield. It is a costly indulgence for a side hoping to climb out of mid-table and if you want to know how much longer they will be carrying Wilshere, take a look at his contract. It runs until the summer of 2021.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Takashi Miike 9:38 Thu Aug 22
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Thanks Alan 5:07 Thu Aug 22
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thee Stoat 12:26 Thu Aug 22

SDKFZ 222 3:21 Thu Aug 22
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Whenever I see Steinberg’s name heading a report I immediately switch off and scroll down past it.

His colleagues are far funnier and probably much nicer.

Sydney_Iron 1:55 Thu Aug 22
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
bill green 12:44 Thu Aug 22

Mex Martillo 1:15 Thu Aug 22
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Texas, I think he put together after read through WHO posts!
Thanks Alan

Texas Iron 12:55 Thu Aug 22
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
PS....Steinberg's a Waffler...
5 words where 1 will suffice...

bill green 12:44 Thu Aug 22
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
thanks Alan

Eddie B 12:35 Thu Aug 22
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Alan, thanks.

The Stoat 12:26 Thu Aug 22
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanke Alan

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