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Alan 10:12 Wed Apr 29
Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Manchester United may be pushed into selling France midfielder Paul Pogba, 27, for a cut-price deal because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on football finances. (Goal)

Arsenal will sell Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 30, for £30m as they do not want him to leave on a free transfer. (Sun)

The Gunners have yet to offer a contract extension to German midfielder Mesut Ozil, 31. (ESPN)

West Ham will refuse any offer made by Chelsea for England midfielder Declan Rice, 21. (Goal)

Newcastle and Everton have emerged as surprise contenders for the signature of Ajax and Netherlands midfielder Donny van de Beek. Manchester United and Real Madrid have also been linked with the 23-year-old. (Le10 Sport - in French)

Everton have offered a four-year deal to Real Madrid and Colombia midfielder James Rodriguez, 28. (Mundo Deportivo - in Spanish)

Arsenal and Manchester United are both interested in signing Monaco and France striker Wissam Ben Yedder, 29. (L'Equipe - in French)

Everton have held talks with Barcelona over 20-year-old centre back Jean-Clair Todibo. The French youngster is currently on loan at Schalke. (Mail)

Liverpool have opened talks with the representatives of Lille and Nigeria forward Victor Osimhen, 21. (Le10 Sport - in French)

Newcastle are considering replacing manager Steve Bruce with Flamengo boss Jorge Jesus, who led the Brazilian club to the 2019 Copa Libertadores title. (Goal)

Arsenal will have to pay Real Madrid 50m euros (£44m) if they want to sign on-loan Spain midfielder Dani Ceballos, 23, on a permanent deal. (AS - in Spanish)

Arsenal are struggling to tie 18-year-old English winger Bukayo Saka down to a new contract with other Premier League clubs interested. (90min)

Chelsea want to sign Paris St-Germain's 17-year-old French midfielder Kays Ruiz-Atil, who is out of contract in 2021. (L'Equipe - in French)


Academy Spotlight: Olatunji Akinola

From Brimsdown Rovers to Fabio Cannavaro, Prison Break to The Pursuit of Happyness, meet 21-year-old defender, and U23s skipper, Olatunji Akinola...

My Roots

The first team that I played for was called Brimsdown Rovers in north London. They trained about ten minutes from my house and wore black and white stripes like Newcastle! I joined them when I was seven or eight and stayed there for about a year before I did some trials and then moved to West Ham United.

I actually went to a number of open trials for clubs rather than go down the more traditional scouted route. I just went to two or three trials around London and then West Ham brought me in.

My Dad has been the biggest influence on my footballing career so far; he loves football just like I do. We’d always watch games on the TV together or go to a stadium together. He’d also take me down to the park to practice when we didn’t have training and he’s taken me all around the country for away games.

I haven’t always been a centre back. I actually started off in midfield until just before I signed for West Ham. I played a trial game at Chadwell Heath and I was determined not to lose so I stayed at the back to make sure the opposition didn’t score. Since then I’ve never really left defence!

Growing up I think resisting the temptations that there might be outside of football has been the biggest challenge. As you get older there are more parties, you start to meet girls and there are a lot more distractions. For me I stayed focused, I did my homework, so it wasn’t too much of a problem.

My Inspirations

I’ve never really looked at one player and said ‘I want to be like him'. I appreciate all the defenders who are at the top now and any player who plays in the Premier League, Champions League or in any of the top leagues - you can learn off all of them.

Virgil van Dijk is obviously at the top right now and I do watch him a lot, but I wouldn’t say it’s just him. Sergio Ramos, Fabio Cannavaro, Giorgio Chiellini as well... I try and take a bit from each of them.

A specific performance that stands out to me would be Fabio Cannavaro back at the 2006 World Cup. It was the final, but he just won everything and cleaned up everything and Italy ended up World Cup winners.

My Teammates

It’s really a cliché but I’m close friends with everyone - Joseph Anang, Dan Kemp, Conor Coventry - I can’t name just one that I’m closest to.

The two players that work the hardest in training are probably Conor and Dan. You know exactly what you are going to get from them every day: hard graft, staying behind in the gym, they’re always at it.

In terms of the most natural talent in the squad it’s probably Nathan Holland, he’s just so dangerous. Growing up I think of Grady Diangana as well - what he can do with the ball and how fast he thinks, he’s brilliant.

The practical joker is a tough one because everyone’s banter is different. Joseph is such a lively character, so I’d say he probably him.

FIFA, Films & Food

I’m not really a big FIFA player any longer. Back in the day I definitely was, and I’d normally play as Arsenal. I think if I played some of the Academy boys now, I’d be one of the worst, but a few years ago I was comfortably in the middle.

Nathan Trott was the best at FIFA growing up, as he never stopped playing in his spare time. He used to play as Bournemouth and beat you when you played as Real Madrid!

My favourite TV series is Prison Break. I’ve never been bored of watching Series One - I can watch it over and over and not get tired of it. Power is another one that I really like and obviously that’s still going on at the minute.

My favourite film is The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith and Jaden Smith. It's quite motivating and very emotional and it has a great message behind it.

Before a game I listen to Burna Boy quite a lot. He’s put a bit of a mainstream spin on Afrobeats but there’s still quite a lot of cultural resonance with his music so he’s probably my favourite.

My go-to cheat meal... that’s another tough one! I’ve got a sweet tooth so any dessert really. If I could only pick one, I’d go for a nice cheesecake.

With favourite restaurant, I don’t want to say the typical Nandos like everyone at the Academy says! There’s an Italian restaurant near my house called Alfresco and that’s really nice. The menu is the biggest I’ve ever seen. You can go there and have a different meal every time, and it all tastes good!


West Ham determined to hold on to Declan Rice amid Chelsea interest

Chelsea closely monitoring England midfielder
Rice the last player West Ham will look to sell

Jacob Steinberg

West Ham are determined not to sell Declan Rice despite growing interest in the England midfielder from Chelsea.

It remains to be seen how the financial impact of coronavirus will affect the transfer market but Chelsea are contemplating beefing up their defensive midfield options. The 21-year-old started his career at Stamford Bridge and is thought to be interested in returning to his boyhood club, especially as it would allow him to reunite with his best friend, Mason Mount.

Although Chelsea have no shortage of competition in Rice’s position, Frank Lampard has struggled to find his favoured combination in midfield. Injuries have hindered N’Golo Kanté and Jorginho, linked with Juventus, has not entirely convinced since joining two years ago.

There was talk of a summer clearout before the season was postponed and Lampard, who has also expressed an interest in Lille’s Boubakary Soumaré, is not alone in being impressed with Rice.

Yet prising Rice from West Ham will not be easy. The midfielder’s deal runs until 2024, with an option to extend it by a year, and he is by far the most valuable player in David Moyes’s squad.

Although West Ham will be in an awkward financial position if the Premier League season does not resume, it is understood Rice is the last player they will look to sell if they need to balance the books. They would demand at least £70m and insist they have had no contact with Chelsea, for whom that fee may be too much.

West Ham are preparing to raise at least £30m via a rights issue next month and, like most clubs of their size, are in a difficult financial position. Moyes wants to build a team around Rice, who has also been targeted by Manchester United, and will look to discard other players first. Carlos Sánchez, who earns around £65,000 a week, and Pablo Zabaleta are out of contract this summer, and Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson face uncertain futures under Moyes.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Texas Iron 7:11 Wed Apr 29
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

chiff 6:23 Wed Apr 29
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Mex Martillo 4:29 Wed Apr 29
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
ted fenton 1:18 Wed Apr 29

ted fenton 1:18 Wed Apr 29
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
blueeyed.handsomeman 10:47 Wed Apr 29

blueeyed.handsomeman 10:47 Wed Apr 29
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
THankYou Alan and THanks Alan

Thanks Alan 10:13 Wed Apr 29
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

*puts kettle on*

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