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Alan 1:05 Sat May 23
Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester City have contacted Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho's agent over a summer move, but the Blues are the 27-year-old Brazil international's first choice. (Sun)

Chelsea's Brazil midfielder Willian, 31, has hinted he could sign a short-term deal until the end of the season as the Premier League campaign is likely to run beyond the end of his contract on 30 June. (Mail)

Leicester City are leading the race to sign Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, but Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Everton and West Ham are also interested in the 32-year-old Englishman. (Star)

Former Liverpool midfielder John Barnes says Borussia Dortmund's Norway striker Erling Braut Haaland, 19, has what it takes to replace Roberto Firmino at Anfield. (Express)

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been assured that Manchester United will be competitive in the transfer market this summer after they revealed the coronavirus pandemic has cost them £28m. (Express)

Bayern Munich had stepped up their interest in Jadon Sancho before the season was paused by coronavirus, but Borussia Dortmund, who are confident they can secure a £100m fee for the 20-year-old England midfielder, will not sell to their Bundesliga rivals. (Metro)

Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino's gardening leave has expired and he says he is looking for the "right project", amid rumours linking him with Newcastle United. (Express)

Tottenham and Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen, 33, could leave the club this summer when his contract runs out on 30 June, as there are no signs a new deal will be agreed. (ESPN)

Bayer Leverkusen's 20-year-old Germany midfielder Kai Havertz, who has been linked with Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea, has been warned off a move to the Premier League by forward United and Tottenham forward Dimitar Berbatov. (Evening Standard)

Manchester City have joined their top-flight rivals in the race to sign Havertz. (Sun)

Chelsea are interested in Barcelona's 18-year-old Dutch defender Xavier Mbuyamba as they look to invest in youth because of the financial impact of coronavirus. (Evening Standard)

Chelsea's search for a goalkeeper has been dealt a blow as Germany international Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 28, is set to sign a new five-year deal at Barcelona. (Sun)

Paris St-Germain have made an opening offer of £44.7m plus £8.9m in add-ons for Argentina striker Mauro Icardi, 27, who has been on loan at the French club from Inter Milan since last summer. (Sky Sports)

Amiens president Bernard Joannin says West Ham are one of a number of clubs who want to sign French striker Serhou Guirassy, 24, from the Ligue 1 club. (Star)

Arsenal and Chelsea are both interested in 18-year-old German defender Kaan Kurt, who plays for Borussia Monchengladbach's second team. (Sun)


KARREN BRADY Players MUST adhere to social distancing rules… Prem clubs are only as strong as their weakest link

Karren Brady

IN 2015 no one would have answered this question correctly “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

We are indeed in strange and unusual times.

But we are learning to adapt and, most importantly, learning to take responsibility for ourselves and others.

Being as safe as possible is our own responsibility and, undeniably, that of employers, too.

This aspect was foremost in the mind of pro football when non-contact social distance training commenced last week.

It’s the first step of a three-step plan to return to playing. Second step is contact training and third is playing matches.

The players, manager David Moyes and the medical team at West Ham have been involved in every step of the return to training plan.

I have held numerous zoom meetings with our players and set up a working party of players, management, medical and operation teams to ensure we all know what needs to be done to ringfence the training ground in safety.

Meetings with the players have been great. They are energetic, solution-driven, positive and above all determined to protect themselves, their colleagues and loved ones.

I have been extremely impressed with the intelligence, knowledge and commitment shown to ensuring we get things right.

From the banter going on during the calls they are on really good form!

We have never been closer or communicated better.

This is one of the stand-out positives of this dreadful crisis.

Before they could return to the training ground everyone was tested and I am delighted and relieved to say we received negative tests across the club.

So now we know that our training HQ is Covid-19 free. It’s our job to keep it that way.

While the training ground was shut, our operations staff and medical team have done a great job keeping our facilities safe and minimising each risk.

The players were sent the new Covid-19 operational manual, which has nothing to do with liability and everything to do with keeping the virus out of our working environment.

It provides guidelines to return to training from having a temperature check on arrival to completing a symptoms check for players and households. This is our form of trace and track.

Players arrive, put on their boots and collect their GPS vests from a marquee.

Each player is told in advance which is his pitch, and each pitch has a separate car park space for every player working on it.

New toilets have been set up alongside each pitch exclusive to the specific players using it.

They must wash their hands for 30 seconds before and after use.

There is a ban on spitting and nose clearing. Face masks or a snood are worn at all times and players must keep two metres apart with no hugging, handshakes, fist bumps or high fives.

They bring their own water bottle and wash their own kit (at 60C!).

Outside of training, they must adhere to Government guidelines on social distancing, which keeps everyone safe — as we are only as strong as our weakest link.

And from now on, there will be testing twice a week.

There are still issues. How we administer treatment to the players who need it in a non-contact environment is one.

Players refusing to train is an issue at several clubs, too.

But no doubt there will be more questions that need answering as we progress towards playing. The length of time between training and playing is a big one. Many managers are asking how can any athlete have ten weeks off specialist training and be fit to compete?

An even bigger question is what happens if one team gets a series of positive test results when games commence?

We all know what happened when Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta contracted it in March — the season was suspended. Will that happen again?

Medical teams are worried what happens if a player gets injured — where does he get treatment as private hospitals are closed and going to A&E brings other risks.

Only by co-operation and straight-talking can we solve them.

Clubs or players shouldn’t be criticised for airing their concerns.

They shouldn’t be accused of self-interest when they ask worrying and difficult questions, most of which still remain unanswered.

And absolutely no one sitting on the comfort of a sofa in their own home should criticise players who feel vulnerable. It’s unfair and wrong.

I am being told that players at several different clubs are anxious about a quick progression to phase two (contact training) but they are relying on the promises made to them from the Premier League that there will be full consultation first.

The League will have to be able to answer the difficult questions and deal with players’ confusion that they will be asked to strictly observe social distancing at all times and yet ignore all this for training and matches.

But no doubt the players and the Professional Footballers’ Association will take comfort from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s cast-iron promise that contact training and playing “will only go ahead if it is safe to do so”.


West Ham United planning fresh attempt to land Jonjo Shelvey

West Ham United could make a fresh attempt to sign Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, if they are able to avoid relegation from the Premier League this term, Football Insider reports.

The Hammers are said to be fond admirers of Shelvey’s talents and they are reported to have failed to sign him in each of the previous two summer transfer windows.

Still, the east London outfit are understood to hold an interest in the 28-year-old and it is reported that they could make a renewed bid, suppose they preserve their top-flight status.

Shelvey is currently in his fourth season with the Magpies following the switch from Swansea City and he has enjoyed an impressive 2019/2020 campaign where he has bagged five goals from his 17 appearances in the top-flight.

With more than three years remaining on his contract, the Magpies will be under no pressure to sell him during the summer and it would come as a surprise, if the midfielder heads through the exit door.

Meanwhile, the Tyneside outfit are on the verge of a £300m takeover from PCP Capital Partners backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund and that should further encourage Shelvey to stay committed, given there could be high-profile additions to the squad this summer.

David Moyes’ side would definitely relish the prospect of pairing Rice and Shelvey together in the centre of the park next season but they have probably missed their chance to do so, as Shelvey should remain a key player for the Magpies as they enter an uncharted new era.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 11:09 Sun May 24
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
ted fenton 1:49 Sat May 23

Texas Iron 7:09 Sat May 23
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Shelvey...Next level...haha

chiff 3:41 Sat May 23
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Lee Trundle 1:51 Sat May 23
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
The Shelvey story is just lazy journalism, surely? He only just recently signed a contract with Newcastle a few weeks ago.

ted fenton 1:49 Sat May 23
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

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