WHO Poll
Q: 2021/22 What competition should we prioritise this season?
a. The league is our bread & butter, so this year let's have a club sandwich
b. We're owed an FA Cup after Gerrard nicked our last one in 06, our name's on it in 22
c. A bye to the League Cup 3rd round gives us a good start, let's make it count
d. The Europa is our best ticket to the Champions League, this is the one
e. What's wrong with you, let's do the lot, has the quadruple ever been done

Alan 12:35 Mon Jul 27
Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse, 25, has agreed a new deal which will keep the England international at the south coast side until 2025. (Telegraph - subscription required)

Leicester City and England Under-21 winger Harvey Barnes, 22, has emerged as a transfer target for Liverpool. (Mirror)

Manchester United are set to move for Atletico Madrid's Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak, 27. (Sun)
Inter Milan could offer 31-year-old Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic to Manchester United in a bid to keep on-loan forward Alexis Sanchez permanently. (Football Italia)

The Red Devils are also keen on Lille's Brazilian central defender Gabriel Magalhaes, 22. (Star)

Liverpool have also asked about 20-year-old Schalke and Turkey centre-back Ozan Kabak, who has previously attracted interest from Manchester City, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund. (Mail)

Borussia Dortmund have started talks for Lille and France attacking midfielder Jonathan Ikone, 22, as they look at replacing 20-year-old England winger Jadon Sancho, who has been linked with Manchester United. (Times - subscription required)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has hinted he may have to enter the transfer market because an injury to Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi, 28, has left him short of defenders. (Evening Standard)

Leeds United are trying to sign Gent and Canada attacking midfielder Jonathan David, 20, and face competition from Lille, according to the Belgian club's chairman Ivan de Witte. (De Zondag, via Express)

Meanwhile, Uruguay striker Edinson Cavini, 33, had been a target for Leeds after his exit from Paris St-Germain but has agreed a move to Portuguese club Benfica. (Todo Fichajes)

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is targeting a move for West Ham and Switzerland striker Albian Ajeti, 23. (Daily Record)

Burnley manager Sean Dyche says he has held talks with the club's hierarchy over potential transfer moves. (Sky Sports)

Juventus are close to agreeing a contract extension with Argentina forward Paulo Dybala, 26. (Goal)


Aston Villa cling on at West Ham to clinch Premier League survival

Jonathan Liew at London Stadium

The full-time whistle blew. One or two of the Aston Villa players let out a roar of celebration, only to be swiftly hushed by manager Dean Smith, warning them the job was still contingent on results elsewhere. For two agonising minutes, Villa’s entire playing squad and staff huddled together, awaiting news from the Emirates Stadium. Suddenly, the huddle exploded.

Yes: when the smoke had finally cleared from the longest Premier League season of them all, it was Villa who were still standing. They have clung to the precipice with fraying fingernails and fraying nerves, with reserves of patience and grit perhaps even they were not quite sure they possessed. They looked doomed for much of the season. But they were not.

Jack Grealish’s late goal, coupled with Watford’s 3-2 defeat at Arsenal, was ultimately good enough. Even an immediate and cruelly deflected West Ham equaliser did little but test their arteries. And this has ultimately been the key to Villa’s survival mission: a recognition not just of their strengths but of their weaknesses, and Smith’s success in remodelling a team that a month ago possessed the worst defence in the top division.

Aware that his team lacked a reliable goalscorer, Smith used the lockdown months to rebuild his side from first principles, from a tight defence and the dominant midfield play of Douglas Luiz and the set-piece delivery of Conor Hourihane. He showed his team tapes of Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio in an attempt to explain how great defences function. Goals have been thin on the ground. But crucially, they have been scarce at both ends.

Naturally, it was ugly as hell: football on the precipice, with the utmost caution and the minimum of risk. Villa sat tight and deep, as if trying to keep a precious secret. News of Watford’s first-half collapse seemed to strengthen their resolve, with the knowledge that a point would almost certainly be good enough. At one point, Mbwana Samatta picked up a cleared cross 35 yards from his own goal, looked up, and realised he was the furthest player forward.

With West Ham also keen to play on the counter, there was little fluency and even less in the way of clear openings. Michail Antonio squandered a good early chance for West Ham; Samatta and Grealish did likewise in the first half. As the second half progressed and nerves began to tighten, Villa defended their goal with almost fanatical resolve: flying tackles, desperate blocks, grappling with every last ounce of strength.

And yet when Grealish found himself with the ball 18 yards out, he still had the presence of mind to pick his spot and smash the ball cathartically, emphatically, into the net. In a way there was a certain romantic symmetry to it: the local player and boyhood Villa fan who had done so much to win Villa promotion in the first place, now scoring the goal that secured their Premier League status.
Bournemouth's victory in vain as five-year stay in top flight comes to an end
Read more

It took less than two minutes, however, for the dark clouds to return. Andriy Yarmolenko cut in from the right, shot speculatively and as the ball looped up off the boot of Grealish, Pepe Reina realised to his horror that he could not back-pedal in time. Framed on the touchline against a backdrop of floating bubbles, Smith realised that there would be no relief just yet.

But true to themselves, Villa played the denouement immaculately: seeking territory, clearing to the corners and using the backside of John McGinn to shield the ball if nothing else worked. Full-time brought only more tension, more awful waiting. And then, finally, release.

Plenty of obstacles lie ahead. A total of 35 points is less a cause for celebration than an urgent warning sign. Smith needs to retool Villa’s entire attacking strategy. Recruitment in the summer will be a priority, especially if the talismanic Grealish is snapped up by a rival. But on a damp and jubilant afternoon in east London, as Villa’s players screamed in relief and embraced each other like brothers, none of that seemed to matter for now.


West Ham United (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 6; Fredericks 6.5, Diop 6.5, Ogbonna 6, Johnson 7; Soucek 7, Rice 6.5; Bowen 5.5 (Yarmolenko 46min, 6), Noble 7 (Anderson 86), Fornals 6.5 (Lanzini 67, 6); Antonio 5.5 (Haller 46, 6).

Subs not used: Randolph, Balbuena, Wilshere, Silva, Coventry. Scorer: Yarmolenko 85. Booked: Antonio, Fredericks. Manager: David Moyes 6.5.

Aston Villa (4-3-3): Reina 6; Guilbert 6 (Hause 76), Konsa 6.5, Mings 7, Targett 6; McGinn 7.5, Douglas Luiz 6.5, Hourihane 6 (Nakamba 76); Trezeguet 5.5 (El Ghazi 90), Samatta 5.5 (Davis 67, 6), Grealish 7.

Subs not used: Nyland, Taylor, Lansbury, Jota, Vassilev. Scorer: Grealish 84. Booked: Samatta. Manager: Dean Smith 6.5.

Referee: Michael Oliver 6.

Sky Sports

Albian Ajeti: Celtic in advanced talks with West Ham forward over season-long loan

Celtic are now in advanced talks with West Ham forward Albian Ajeti over a season-long loan.

The Scottish Premiership champions are hoping to secure a deal with an option to buy, for a fee of around £5m.

Ajeti is keen to secure first-team action next season, with the prospect of European football at Celtic an appealing option for the 23-year-old.

Celtic have been interested in Ajeti since last summer, before he made an £8m move to West Ham from Basel.

A number of Premier League and European clubs are also keen on the Switzerland international, who made just nine substitute appearances for West Ham in the Premier League this season.


Why West Ham could side with 24-year-old arrival over QPR ace

West Ham United could decide to go with Said Benrahma over Ebere Eze in the summer window thanks to a pre-established relationship between the Sullivans and the Algerian’s agent Will Salthouse, according to Football Insider.

The Hammers are staying in the Premier League for another season and fans will be hoping that their side can make some good signings in the summer window to start climbing up the league table.

David Moyes will also have his eye on signing some players and both Benrahma and Eze are getting linked with a switch to east London.

Indeed, it sounds as though Benrahma is the one that they could be prioritising with the report suggesting that the relationship between the Sullivans and Salthouse could be key having dealt with them several times before when signing players.

The Verdict

Brentford could be a Premier League side next season, of course, and that might make it harder for a club to sign Benrahma.

However, even then there are going to be clubs surely offering big money to get him and it sounds like West Ham might have an advantage in getting him in if there is that relationship already with his representatives.

Let’s see what happens.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

jimbo2. 8:23 Mon Jul 27
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Ta very much Al!

chiff 7:53 Mon Jul 27
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Mex Martillo 5:27 Mon Jul 27
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
ted fenton 12:55 Mon Jul 27

Texas Iron 3:59 Mon Jul 27
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Guardian gives Haller 6...Antonio 5.5...

bill green 1:35 Mon Jul 27
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
geoffpikey 1:20 Mon Jul 27

geoffpikey 1:20 Mon Jul 27
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
"Let’s see what happens." My, there's some cutting-edge insight!

Thanks Alan

ted fenton 12:55 Mon Jul 27
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 12:40 Mon Jul 27

Thanks Alan 12:40 Mon Jul 27
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Sven Roeder 12:38 Mon Jul 27

Sven Roeder 12:38 Mon Jul 27
Re: Monday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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