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 12:21 Sun Dec 29
Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Manchester United are prepared to wait until the end of the season to sign Tottenham and Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen, 27, on a free transfer. (Sunday Telegraph)

Real Madrid have told boss Zinedine Zidane to forget about signing Paul Pogba, 26, from Manchester United because the France international would block the development of Uruguay midfielder Federico Valverde, 21. (AS)

New Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti will block any bid by Manchester United to sign Brazil forward Richarlison, 22, even if the Red Devils offer £70m. (Sun on Sunday)

David Moyes and Tony Pulis are the leading contenders to take over at West Ham after Manuel Pellegrini was sacked. (Sunday Telegraph)

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will honour his contract and remain at the club until the end of next season, according to chief executive Ferran Soriano. (Mail on Sunday)

England right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, 21, says he wants to remain at Liverpool for his entire career and become a club legend. (Sportbladet, via Independent)

Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri is keen on signing France striker Olivier Giroud, 33, from his former club Chelsea. (La Stampa - in Italian)

Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris St-Germain are interested in signing Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, 27, from Barcelona. (Mundo Deportivo - in Spanish)

Sheffield United are chasing QPR's £12m-rated 21-year-old English forward Eberechi Eze. (Sun on Sunday)

Barcelona say Arturo Vidal's legal complaint against the club over alleged unpaid bonuses is an attempt by the Chile midfielder, 32, to force through a January move to Inter Milan. (ESPN)

Liverpool are stepping up their interest in Lille and Nigeria forward Victor Osimhen, 20. (Sunday Express)

Fiorentina are keen on signing Manchester United and Argentina defender Marcos Rojo, 29, next summer. (La Nazione, via Football Italia)

Southampton and Denmark defender Jannik Vestergaard, 27, is a target for former club Werder Bremen in January. (Sky Sports)

Former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, 35, has rejected offers from Major League Soccer sides LA Galaxy, Inter Miami and Montreal Sounders to stay at Japanese team Vissel Kobe. (Mundo Deportivo - in Spanish)

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has suggested the club have only recalled English centre-back Nat Phillips, 22, from his loan at German side Stuttgart on a temporary basis. (Liverpool Echo)

Swansea want to sign 23-year-old Bristol City midfielder Kasey Palmer on loan in January. (Sky Sports)

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo says he wants to try acting when he finishes his football career. (Sun on Sunday)


Demarai Gray clinches Leicester win at West Ham to seal Pellegrini’s sacking

Ed Aarons at London Stadium

In the end, Manuel Pellegrini must have known what was coming. After an embarrassing defeat to a below-strength Leicester side – West Ham’s fourth loss in a row at home – thanks to a brilliant winning goal from Demarai Gray, there was an air of inevitability that the veteran manager would be shown the door a little more than 18 months after taking over from David Moyes.

Not since Blackpool’s Ian Holloway in November 2010 had a Premier League manager made as many changes to his starting lineup this early in the season as Brendan Rodgers opted for here but even his second-string proved far too strong for a dispirited home team.

Despite seeing the returning Lukasz Fabianski save a penalty from Gray in the first half and Pablo Fornals cancel out Kelechi Iheanacho’s opener, Pellegrini’s lacklustre side never looked capable of claiming victory and left the pitch to a chorus of boos from the few supporters who stayed until the bitter end. Perhaps the only surprise is that the 66-year-old was not given the opportunity to stay on for Bournemouth’s visit to the London Stadium on New Year’s Day, although the co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold surely felt there was no alternative after such an insipid display.

It is now likely to fall on Moyes to try and perform a second rescue act within three seasons, with the former Everton manager having been lined up for several weeks. On this evidence, he faces a sizeable task given that Rodgers had made nine changes to the side hammered 4-0 by Liverpool on Boxing Day.

The absence of their talisman, Jamie Vardy, was explained by the news that his wife had given birth to a daughter in the hours before kick-off as Leicester became only the sixth team in Premier League history to make nine or more alterations to their starting lineup in match before the turn of the year.

Aside from the reception for Sir Geoff Hurst as he led the minute’s applause to his 1966 World Cup-winning teammate Martin Peters, the news that Fabianski had returned from the hip injury that has kept him sidelined for the last 11 Premier League matches received the biggest cheers from the home supporters before kick-off. Pellegrini’s side were fifth in the table when the Poland international played his last match against Bournemouth at the end of September and have seen their season collapse without him, losing nine out of 11 and conceding 21 goals in the process as they have been dragged into trouble.

Yet Fabianski’s return looked like it had turned into a nightmare in the ninth minute when he came racing out of his goal and took out Iheanacho. The referee, David Coote, immediately pointed to the penalty spot but Gray’s effort lacked power and was easily pushed away to safety by the goalkeeper, even if replays seemed to show he may have been slightly off his line.

The home supporters roared their approval and urged their side forward but the best West Ham could muster in response was Arthur Masuaku’s powerful strike from distance that required a full-length dive from Kasper Schmeichel to stop it. They were made to pay for their inaction just before half-time when a poor clearing header from Masuaku looped up and Ayoze Pérez just managed to keep the ball in play to allow Iheanacho to nod it into the empty net. But, to their credit, the hosts were level within the space of five minutes after a slicing move instigated by Felipe Anderson ended up with Fornals sweeping the ball home.

Despite West Ham’s strong response to falling behind, it was telling that Pellegrini’s side showed a distinct lack of urgency after emerging for the second half. The introduction of Michail Antonio for the lacklustre Sébastien Haller at least provided more of a willing runner than the £45m striker but before his replacement had even touched the ball, Leicester went ahead again.

Gray made no mistake this time following a superb run by Pérez that saw the Spaniard evade Issa Diop’s attempts to drag him down before slipping in his teammate with an immaculate pass. “You’re going down with the Villa,” taunted the visiting supporters. Announcing Pellegrini’s departure 90 minutes after the final whistle, Gold and Sullivan had clearly concurred.

David Moyes is a strong favourite to take over from Manuel Pellegrini after the Chilean was sacked as manager of West Ham in the aftermath of their embarrassing 2-1 home defeat by Leicester.

The former Everton manager has been lined up to return to the role he performed in similar circumstances during the 2017-18 season, with West Ham just one point above the relegation zone after four successive home defeats and just two wins in all competitions since late September. Pellegrini was informed of the decision to sack him despite holding his post-match press conference following the loss to an under-strength Leicester side featuring nine changes from their defeat to Liverpool on Boxing Day. West Ham left the pitch to a chorus of boos from the few home supporters that remained and the news that Pellegrini had been sacked was delivered less than 90 minutes after the final whistle.

“West Ham United can confirm that Manuel Pellegrini has left the club with immediate effect,” read a club statement. “Joint-Chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold, along with the Board and everyone at West Ham United, would like to place on record their thanks to Manuel for his service over the past 18 months.”

Sullivan added: “It is with great disappointment that we’ve had to make this decision. Manuel is a gentleman and it has been a real pleasure to work with someone of his calibre. However, it has become clear that a change is required to get the club back on track in line with our ambitions this season. We felt it was necessary to act now in order to give the new manager as much time as possible to try and achieve that goal.”

Having been allowed to leave at the end of his six-month contract in May 2018 after guiding West Ham away from trouble, Moyes is likely to demand a longer deal this time if he is to return. Chris Hughton, Tony Pulis and Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe understood to be among others under consideration, along with Enzo Maresca, Pellegrini’s Italian assistant.

The Chilean – who was appointed as a replacement for Moyes and guided West Ham to 10th in his first season in charge – is likely to be followed out of the club by the sporting director, Mario Husillos. The first‑team coach, Kevin Keen, has been lined up to take charge for the crucial game against Bournemouth on New Year’s Day.

The 66-year-old had 18 months left on his contract and West Ham are expected to pay him up to £10m in compensation to seal his exit.

Asked after the Leicester defeat if he would still be in charge for Bournemouth’s visit to the London Stadium, the former Manchester City manager seemed resigned to his fate. “That’s a question I can’t answer,” he said. “It doesn’t depend on me. I must continue working the way we are doing and try to recover our trust in what we are doing.”

Pellegrini also admitted that the disastrous run of form that has seen West Ham slip from fifth place at the end of September into a relegation dogfight had been down to a lack of confidence among the players. “Without any doubt they lack confidence,” he said. “We know the players can perform better. The only way to do it is to have one clear idea, and not make changes. When we get a result here the players will have more confidence.

“The fans deserve better results and a better performance from the team so I understand their reaction completely. I must continue working. We need to find a way to recover our trust and win our next game.”

But that task will now fall to someone else.

Nicolò Schira @NicoSchira

#WestHam have offered the role of manager to Enzo #Maresca. He is thinking about the possibility of replacing his master Manuel #Pellegrini. #transfers #WHUFC


West Ham want Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge

By Jordan Harris

West Ham United are weighing up a move for Cardiff City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge amid fears Darren Randolph will prove too expensive for the Hammers, according to a report from The Sun.

It is no surprise to see the Irons target a new goalkeeper ahead of the January window. Lukasz Fabianski is back between the sticks. But his time out injured highlighted just how important he is to the side’s fortunes.

Roberto was hapless during his run in the side, and it would be a big surprise if he was to ever play for West Ham again.

The Sun suggests that bringing Randolph back to the club would be the Hammers’ first-choice, but they are also considering alternative options.

The report notes that a deal for the Republic of Ireland international could be more expensive than first feared. And thus, it is suggested that they also want Etheridge.

Etheridge was extremely impressive during Cardiff’s most recent spell in the Premier League. The 29-year-old kept 10 clean sheets for the Bluebirds last season.
TBR View – Can West Ham get a deal done?

The Sun notes that the Philippines international will not come cheap either. And it would perhaps be a surprise if Etheridge was willing to leave Cardiff for a backup role at the London Stadium.

He is back playing regularly for Neil Harris’s side. So you could arguably understand if he rejected the chance to return to the Premier League if the likelihood was that he was not going to be the number one.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Balto 5:11 Sun Dec 29
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
According to the Guardian Moyes has been given an 18-month contract and will be in charge at the Bournemouth game.

jimbo2. 4:52 Sun Dec 29
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Well it’s certainly never boring beings WH supporter! What a mess we find ourselves in after such a promising start to the season. Thanks as always Al!

SDKFZ 222 3:56 Sun Dec 29
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
No, not Randolph. The amount of howlers he committed whilst with us would make even Roberto blush.

Thanks Alan 12:52 Sun Dec 29
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Takashi Miike 12:22 Sun Dec 29

Queens Fish Bar 12:26 Sun Dec 29
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

Takashi Miike 12:22 Sun Dec 29
Re: Sunday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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