WHO Poll

Alan 1:11 Sat Apr 25
Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Chelsea are keeping an eye on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's situation at Arsenal and hope to make a summer move for the 30-year-old Gabon striker. (ESPN)

Barcelona and Inter Milan are also keen on Aubameyang, with clubs believing the Gunners will be forced to sell him at a knock-down price this summer. (Telegraph)

Arsenal have put contract talks with Aubameyang on hold and are ready to listen to offers for the striker. (Mail)

Chelsea have agreed a one-year contract extension with French striker Olivier Giroud, 33. (Di Marzio - in Italian)

The Blues have made contact with Lille over Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen, 21. (Le10Sport - in French)

Barcelona want to sign French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, 23, from Tottenham and have offered a part-exchange deal that would see French centre-back Samuel Umtiti, 26, and Portuguese right-back Nelson Semedo move the other way. (Sky Sports)

Chelsea are preparing to keep Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, 25, despite being keen on AC Milan's Italy international Gianluigi Donnarumma, 21. (Mail)

Paris St-Germain have offered Argentina midfielder Angel di Maria, 32, back to Manchester United, along with 26-year-old Germany winger Julian Draxler, as part of a swap deal for France midfielder Paul Pogba, 27. (Calciomercato, via Sun)

RB Leipzig sporting director Markus Krosche has no transfer approaches have been made for Germany striker Timo Werner in recent weeks despite strong reported interest in the 24-year-old from the likes of Liverpool and Barcelona. (Goal)

Manchester City, PSG and Juventus are all chasing Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, 21. (RMC Sport - in French)

Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has named the price at which bidding can start for the club's Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz, 24, with Manchester City keen on his signature. (Teamtalk)

Chelsea midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi, 19, says he would love his club to sign fellow England international Jadon Sancho, 20, from Borussia Dortmund. (Mirror)

Everton have contacted Barcelona over the availability of 21-year-old Brazilian defender Emerson, who is currently on loan at Real Betis. (Sport - in Spanish)

The Toffees have made a loan move for Barca's Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho, 27. (Sport - in Spanish)

Roma are ready to offer a three-year contract to 32-year-old Napoli and Belgium forward Dries Mertens. (Corriere dello Sport, via Goal in Italian)

Arsenal's 23-year-old Spanish midfielder Dani Ceballos, who is on loan from Real Madrid, says he has been assured his future is at the Bernabeu. (Evening Standard)

Aston Villa and Crystal Palace are eyeing former Liverpool striker Fabio Borini. The 29-year-old Italian now plays for Hellas Verona. (L'Arena, via Birmingham Mail)


Eredivisie cancels season without any champion, relegation and promotion

European qualification granted on current league position
Decision after Dutch government banned sport until 1 Sept

Paul MacInnes

The Dutch Eredivisie has become the first major European football league to cancel its season in response to the coronavirus crisis. For the first time since 1944-45, the Dutch top flight will not have a champion and there will be no relegation or promotion either from the 18-team division.

A decision to end the season appeared inevitable after the Dutch government this week banned all sporting events until 1 September. The details of Friday’s decision were determined by the league, its clubs and the Dutch FA (KNVB). They set a precedent that may be followed by other competitions in Europe and generated controversy in the Netherlands.

“Under these circumstances it is not appropriate to speak of a championship and there is no champion,” the Eredivisie said in a statement. “Because many rounds still have to be played in the competitions, we believe that we cannot apply promotion/relegation [either].”

European places were granted to teams, however. This was based on the league table as it stood, a process in accordance with new Uefa guidelines.

The league leaders Ajax have been granted a place in the final play-off round of the Champions League. Second-placed AZ Alkmaar will enter the second qualifying round of the same competition while Feyenoord, in third place, will enter the group stages of the Europa League. PSV Eindhoven (fourth) and Willem II (fifth) will enter qualifying for the Europa League.

Some of the calls on European qualification are marginal. Ajax led AZ by goal difference with nine games to play, and Utrecht were three points behind Willem II with a game in hand and better goal difference. But the real controversy, which highlights the challenges of ending a suspended competition fairly, came with the suspension of promotion.

After a vote was split on determining the best way to resolve promotion and relegation, the KNVB was given authority to make a determining decision. It ruled against any movement between the Eredivisie and the Eerste Divisie below, which meant that Cambuur, 11 points clear of third place in the second tier, were denied promotion.

Cambuur’s head coach, Henk de Jong, said the decision “feels like the greatest disgrace ever in Dutch sport”. He added: “What happened here is unworthy of sports.”

Meanwhile, La Liga has indefinitely postponed a round of Covid-19 tests that they had proposed to carry out on Spain’s first-and-second division players next week as a preliminary step towards a return to training.

The league wrote to the clubs informing them of the decision on Friday afternoon, as they continue to await a green light from the ministry of health. It had anticipated permission to be granted soon and hoped to begin testing on 28 April with a view to subsequently beginning a four-phase protocol for a return to training in the second week of May but the preliminary round of tests now appear set to be suspended.

The league wrote to clubs amid criticism for plans that involved ever player undergoing tests next week and then daily antibody tests for a month upon the implementation of the protocol. Some questioned how that could be justified at a time when front line medical staff have not been tested for Covid-19. The head of the supreme sports council (the CSD) and in effect the minister for sport, Irene Lozano, had expressed a commitment to help complete the football season. A CSD statement insisted that sport has an important social and economic role to play. But the decision remains in the hands of the ministry of health and it is yet to give the go-ahead.

The protocol remains in place, ready to be activated, and the league told clubs that it hoped the delay would be “as short as possible”.


Gerrard ready to blank the Irons

Steven Gerrard’s Glasgow Rangers reportedly want alleged Irons target goalkeeper Robby McCrorie to stay at the club

The Daily Record reports we have have identified McCrorie as a long-term successor to Lukasz Fabianski although with a year left on his contract the Irons also believe that Nathan Trott may be ready to take over.

The report claims however, that Gerrard’s side are keen for the 22-year-old goalkeeper – currently on loan at Livingston – to extend his current contract which runs out in two years’ time, and preliminary talks are already underway.

That, however, is not always the greatest guide as clubs have a regular habit of ensuring they extend a player’s deal in order to get the best possible price.

And with there no certainties over when the transfer market will open and whether clubs will be in a financial position to splash the cash this is another piece of speculation to be treated with caution.

Like Trott at West Ham McCrorie is seen as a natural successor to 38 year old Allan McGregor and there will presumably be other priorities for the Irons in the summer.

ClaretandHugh says: It seems highly improbable that the Hammers will move in this direction during the window – whenever that opens – with Fabianski still having a year to go on his deal with a one year option. A goalkeeper is in no way a pressing problem with Darren Randolph back on the staff and David Martin as back up in the event of problems. Indeed the Irons will be far more likely to be looking for an outward move by Roberto to Alaves where he is currently on loan although that looks extremely unlikely given he still hasn’t made a single appearance for the club since joining last window almost immediately after Manuel Pellegrini’s exit following the game against Leicester City.

West Ham have allegedly been joined in a race for Belgian right back Thomas Meunier by Spurs.

Both the Express and Football:London have claimed the Paris St Germain free agent is wanted by us and the north Londoners.

However, despite being a free agent, it remains unlikely the Hammers would want to add the player to a wage bill when Ryan Fredericks, Ben Johnson and Jeremy Ngakia are all available to fill the position.

However, should the Hammers decide to make a move Meunier would prove a good acquisition given he has made 40 international appearances for what is an extremely good Belgian side.

The report comes from L’Equipe who have been tracking the story for some time so this is not one to rule completely out of the question.

There can be little doubt that Fredericks has been very inconsistent since his arrival from Fulham on a free and regular injuries have also been a serious bugbear.

He is going to find it difficult to get past Ngakia should the season resume and there can be no question that Johnson will be pushing hard for a place in the team.

Meunier us a top quality operator and were the Hammers to move in and be able to afford his wages he would be a great addition but it seems to us they are more likely to be looking for a left sided operator at this point.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

ted fenton 5:27 Sat Apr 25
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 1:12 Sat Apr 25

geoffpikey 3:21 Sat Apr 25
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

A Scottish goalkeeper, ya say? Who's never actually PLAYED for Rangers. Transfermarkt value him at £180k. I smell deep-fried bullshit.

Thanks Alan 1:12 Sat Apr 25
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Queens Fish Bar 1:12 Sat Apr 25

Thanks Alan 1:12 Sat Apr 25
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Queens Fish Bar 1:12 Sat Apr 25
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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