WHO Poll
Q: 2020/2021 Where will we finish up this season?
a. Top Four, Champions League here we come
b. 5th-7th Europa League is well within our grasp
c. 8th to 14th anywhere in mid table is about right
d. We're in a dog fight before a ball has been kicked and we'll do well to finish 17th or just above
e. GSB have derailed our season before a ball has been kicked, the Championship beckons

Alan 12:19 Mon Dec 23
Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)

New Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta wants Napoli winger Dries Mertens, 32, with the Belgium international into the final year of his contract. (Calciomercato)

Arsenal are also considering a January move for Bayer Leverkusen's 27-year-old German forward Kevin Volland. (Sky Sports)

Manchester United and a number of Bundesliga clubs have targeted Birmingham City and England youth midfielder Jude Bellingham, 16, after this first-team breakthrough. (Telegraph)

Manchester United will not offer Serbia midfielder Nemanja Matic, 31, a new contract runs out in June 2020. (Express)

West Ham target Gabriel Barbosa refused to discuss his future after Flamengo's Club World Cup final defeat by Liverpool. The 23-year-old Brazil forward is on loan in his homeland from Inter Milan. (Goal)

Everton have promised new manager Carlo Ancelotti he will have money to spend in January as the Italian prepares to begin work at Goodison Park. (Star)

Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic would add "determination and character" to AC Milan, says boss Stefano Pioli, but a deal for the free agent is yet to be agreed. (DAZN, via Goal)

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder says the club need to strengthen in January to maintain their promising start in the Premier League. (Sheffield Star)

Paris St-Germain want to sign AC Milan's 22-year-old Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta. (RMC Sport - French)

Schalke goalkeeper and captain Alexander Nubel will leave the club at the end of the season with the 23-year-old wanted by some of Europe's top clubs. (Mail)

West Brom's Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazi, 28, was dropped by boss Slaven Bilic over a training ground incident. (Express & Star)

Juventus' former Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic, 33, has arrived in Qatar before a move to Al-Duhail, having previously been a target for Manchester United. (Sky Italia)

Brescia and Italy striker Mario Balotelli wants to stay at the club provided owner Massimo Cellino is keen to keep the 29-year-old. (Football Italia)

Promising Norwegian striker Bryan Fiabema is set to join Chelsea from Tromso after the 16-year-old impressed on trial. (Star)

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane says the La Liga side are not in the market for a striker in January. (Goal)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Stuart Goodwin

The Mill is winding down for its seasonal spruce up, a chance to pick old bits of fluff about James Rodríguez and Philippe Coutinho out of its cogs. It’s an opportunity to look to new things. Fresh things.

In that spirit, Paul Pogba making it on to the pitch for Manchester United has, happily, quietened the murmurs surrounding his January plans. Thanks too to Graham Souness, certain that the way to put a rocket up Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s forward-thinkers is to … er … sign Jonny Evans. Mercifully, a bit more forward in all respects is word that Solskjær is interested in Jude Bellingham, the 16-year-old who back in August became Birmingham’s club’s youngest ever goalscorer and has since made a starting XI spot all his own. Mike Phelan was dispatched to “track” the England youth international at the weekend, almost certainly less sinister than that sounds. Meanwhile, “vocal calls” (aka “calls”) for Mauricio Pochettino to come in and help bolster the side’s place in the top half of the table were apparently heard in the Vicarage Road away end on Sunday. Fresh.

Over at the Emirates, the Mikel Arteta feelgood factor is in full swing, the new Arsenal manager having identified the defence, midfield and forward positions as areas in need of addressing. Starting at the top, Bayer Leverkusen’s Kevin Volland has leaped into the top three or four of the Spaniard’s January targets, with a left foot almost going to be reported to be both sweet and cultured should the move come to fruition, potentially as a replacement for the disgruntled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. For the central areas, the hope is that Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi can be wooed to swap second place in the Premier League for 11th, with £40m and Granit Xhaka the honey-glazed carrots being dangled. With available funds likely to be dependent on outgoings, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has caught Arteta’s eye and could find himself stapled in as part of the backline for the rest of the season, though a busy summer is expected where the defence is concerned.

Hull’s Jarrod Bowen has a whole host of potential suitors on the other side of the Blind Date screen. Aston Villa are the latest, beaming broadly alongside West Ham, Newcastle, Brighton, Southampton and West Brom and wondering if £15m might bring some of the 15-in-23 form that’s enlivened a mid-table Championship campaign so far this season.

Elsewhere in the second tier, Senegal midfielder Badou Ndiaye – seemingly unfancied by Michael O’Neill at Stoke – may have an 18-month loan stay at Trabzonspor to look forward to in the new year: reportedly “a new challenge in an environment I know” after previous spells at Osmanlispor and Galatasaray. And if that doesn’t keep you going for the next week, I don’t know what will. Merry Christmas!

The Rumour Mill returns on 30 December

Sport Witness

Man City make approach to sign Crystal Palace player, West Ham interested too

Manchester City have made an approach for the signing of Crystal Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, according to claims from Spain.

Spanish outlet AS says that following the great season he’s having, Pep Guardiola’s side have contacted the player’s entourage, as they look for a possible transfer in the summer.

Manchester City have said Guaita is ‘one of the candidates’ to fight for a position with Ederson next season in case Claudio Bravo leaves the club.

But they’re not the only Premier League side trying to take him from Crystal Palace, since West Ham have made contact too, also looking for a summer move.

AS says Guaita is completely focused on Crystal Palace right now, and doesn’t even want to listen to the offers.

As his contract with the London side expires in 2021, the club are hurrying to get him a new contract, and are expected to hold meetings with his representatives very soon.

Sports Mole

West Ham United interested in Bordeaux defender Enock Kwateng?

West Ham United are reportedly interested in making a January move for Bordeaux right-back Enock Kwateng.

The 22-year-old has impressed a number of European sides since making the switch in the summer from Nantes to Bordeaux, where he has made eight appearances this season.

Manuel Pellegrini is thought to be considering making some additions to his squad in January as he looks to move his side away from a potential relegation battle, with Kwateng thought to one of his top targets.

According to The Telegraph, the young French defender could be available for as little as £4m in the new year but the Hammers will face competition for his signature from Brighton & Hove Albion and West Bromwich Albion.

Slaven Bilic's current Championship table-toppers have an in-demand right-back of their own in the shape of Nathan Ferguson but as the English youngster is yet to sign a new contract, the Baggies could push to make Kwateng a top priority.


Hammers looking for Flamengo double swoop

Flamengo left winger Bruno Henrique is reported to be on the Hammers wanted list this January along with team mate Gabriel Barbosa.

And according to 90 Minutes the club sent scouts to watch both in the World Club Final against Liverpool last night with the merseysiders running out 1-0 winners.

The pair could cost a combined total of approaching £25 million should the club move decide to move in during the January window.

According to www.transfermarkt.com he is valued at close to £6 million although quite what’s in the manager’s thinking is difficult to work out.

In Felipe Anderson he has his natural left wing choice and were he to continue playing him behind a front one or two then Nathan Holland is available off the bench to work the wing role.

West Ham believe Henrique will be able to make an immediate impact on their first-team.

However, the news – regardless of early indications from club insiders suggesting there there would be little action in the window – it seems the club is looking to spend in January.

Football Insider

MLS clubs set sights on signing West Ham £100K-a-wk star, Sullivan willing to sell

MLS clubs have set their sights on signing West Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere ahead of the January window, Football Insider can reveal.

The Londoners are willing to sell the 27-year-old next month amid growing doubts about whether his body can cope with the gruelling demands of Premier League football.

A West Ham source has told Football Insider that multiple clubs in the USA have shown interest in Wilshere and could be ready to strike a deal for him.

The Hammers board, led by part-owner David Sullivan, are willing to cash in on Wilshere as they look to get his £100,000-a-week salary off their wage bill.

The England international has made just 16 appearances in 18 months at the London Stadium after joining on a free transfer following the expiry of his Arsenal contract.

The injury problems that have bedevilled his career have continued to trouble Wilshere and he has been sidelined with a groin injury since mid-October.

Wilshere, who has made just two league starts among eight appearances in all competitions this season, turns 28 in 10 days’ time and he is expected to be only a bit-part player if he remains at West Ham.

The club are in the market for a new central midfielder and would offload one or both of back-up pair Wilshere and Carlos Sanchez.

Declan Rice and Mark Noble are the establishing starting duo in the centre of the pitch, but Manuel Pellegrini is keen for reinforcements in that position.


West Ham plan to pay £25m clause for Arsenal target Unai Nunez

Olly Dawes

West Ham United are reportedly keen on Unai Nunez.

According to Spanish newspaper AS, West Ham United in tend to pay the €30million (£25million) release clause for Athletic Bilbao defender Unai Nunez.

It's claimed that the Hammers are ready to stump up the cash for Nunez, but must now convince him that a move to East London is the right switch for him.

What may help is that Nunez has allegedly been in contact with West Ham midfielder Pablo Fornals, who left Villarreal for the Hammers over the summer, with Fornals having a big influence by telling him all about the Hammers

However, Bayern Munich are also thought to be keen, and would be willing to send Javi Martinez back to Athletic in exchange, which may be hugely appealing.

Nunez is claimed to be unhappy at his lack of playing time under Gaizka Garitano this season, having made just seven appearances in all competitions this term.

The 22-year-old's potential seems to have caught West Ham's eye though, and it would be a coup to get him given that the Daily Mail recently suggested Arsenal and Everton want to sign him.

Arsenal may have taken a step back from the race since sacking Unai Emery, which may just allow West Ham to swoop in and get a deal done in January.

With Sky Sports claiming Spurs want Issa Diop and Calciomercato suggesting AC Milan like Fabian Balbuena, it's no great surprise to see West Ham linked with another centre back – and Nunez could be the top target at the back for Manuel Pellegrini's side.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 9:32 Tue Dec 24
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Sven Roeder 7:59 Mon Dec 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Someone taking Wilshere?

Fuck me it IS Christmas

Alan 2:43 Mon Dec 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Nunez story added.

Barty 1:37 Mon Dec 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
"Everton have promised new manager Carlo Ancelotti he will have money to spend in January as the Italian prepares to begin work at Goodison Park. (Star)"

They don´t make ffp excuses over there, they get things done

The Libertine 1:29 Mon Dec 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan. Whoever comes in for Wilshere, bite their hands off like a snapping turtle.

Texas Iron 1:24 Mon Dec 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Alan 1:04 Mon Dec 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Wilshere story added.

Cicero 12:28 Mon Dec 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks, Alan.

Thanks Alan 12:22 Mon Dec 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Sven Roeder 12:20 Mon Dec 23

Sven Roeder 12:20 Mon Dec 23
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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