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 12:16 Fri Aug 28
Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Argentina forward Lionel Messi, 33, contacted Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola last week to tell him he wants to leave Barcelona. (Times - subscription required)

Manchester City would be willing to use Spanish defenders Eric Garcia, 19, and Angelino, 23, as makeweights in a deal for Messi, if they cannot sign him on a free transfer. (Manchester Evening News)

Manchester City are prepared to offer Barcelona £89.5m plus Garcia, Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva, 26, and Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus, 23, for Messi. (Sport - in Spanish)

Real Madrid are set to demand more than 20m euros for 23-year-old Spanish left-back Sergio Reguilon, who has attracted interest from Manchester United, Tottenham, Juventus and Inter Milan while on loan at Sevilla. (Marca)

Chelsea are putting the finishing touches to a £90m move for 21-year-old Germany and Bayer Leverkusen forward Kai Havertz. (Guardian)Arsenal are prepared to sell right-back Hector Bellerin to Juventus with new manager Andrea Pirlo making the Spain 25-year-old his top priority. (Corriere Dello Sport)

Former Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 38, has agreed a new one-year contract at AC Milan believed to be worth about £6m. (Sky Sports Italia - in Italian)

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, 35, has settled any speculation about his future by saying he is preparing for a third season with Juventus. (Mundo Deportivo - in Spanish)

France forward Antoine Griezmann had decided to leave Barcelona before new coach Ronald Koeman convinced the 29-year-old to make a U-turn. (RMC Sport via Metro)

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is keen to swap Griezmann with Atletico Madrid and Portugal forward Joao Felix, 20. (Marca)

The arrival of 28-year-old Republic of Ireland full-back Matt Doherty at Tottenham from Wolves would pave the way for Ivory Coast defender Serge Aurier, 27, to leave. (Standard)

Tottenham have rejected an opening bid from AC Milan for Serge Aurier, with Bayer Leverkusen also interested. (Sky Sports)

Manchester United have made an approach to sign Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali, 20, who is regarded as one of the best young prospects in Italy. (Corriere dello Sport via Metro)

Leicester are looking at Argentina and Ajax full-back Nicolas Tagliafico, 27, and Atalanta left-back Robin Gosens, 26, as potential replacements for Ben Chillwell, who left for Chelsea.(Sky Sports)

Leeds are set to make a bid for Lazio's 23-year-old Brazilian centre-back Luiz Felipe. (Talksport)

Newcastle have joined the list of Premier League sides interested in a move for 20-year-old Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster. (Chronicle)

Wolves are interested in Athletic Bilbao and Spain centre-back Unai Nunez, 23. (Caught Offside)

Representatives of Norwegian defender Kristoffer Ajer, 22, and French midfielder Olivier Ntcham, 24, have asked Celtic for valuations, before potential moves away. (Sky Sports)

Watford captain and striker Troy Deeney, 32, has been offered to West Brom. (Mail)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Rob Smyth

Lionel Messi’s decision to desert the sinking ship FC Barcelona will have a number of knock-on effects. The first is that, over the next few weeks, any forward capable of putting one foot in front of the other with vague regularity will be linked with a move to the Camp Nou. Barcelona will want at least one and possibly 472 high-profile signings to replace Messi, and according to reports in Spain they are aiming high by targeting Liverpool’s Sadio Mané.

Barcelona have reportedly noticed that Mané, the best player in arguably the world’s best team, is really, really good at association football. And while it would not be entirely without precedent for a transfer rumour to be pulled from the human fundament, there is a link here: Mané worked with Ronald Koeman during the forward’s brilliant two-year spell at Southampton. And more worryingly for Liverpool fans, reports in Spain claim he would not be averse to getting the band back together. Apparently Shane Long is also keen on the idea.

Manchester City are now favourites to sign Messi, with reports suggesting he called Pep Guardiola before telling Barcelona that he wanted to do one. City are making plans in case he is not available on a free transfer. They will offer £89.5m plus Eric García, Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus, although frankly Barcelona can take anything they like from the Etihad, including the furniture, but not that picture of Nicky Weaver doing a silly dance at Wembley in 1999.

Real Madrid bullet train Sergio Reguilón, who starred on loan at Sevilla during their Europa League triumph, is wanted by Manchester United, Tottenham, Juventus and Internazionale. Juve’s new manager Andrea Pirlo is also mad keen on Arsenal’s Héctor Bellerin, and not only because they have a shared taste in taste. With full-back being football’s new most important position, there are a few property chains in progress.

Wolves want to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Arsenal; should that happen, Spurs will happily take Matt Doherty off their payroll, which in turn would allow Serge Aurier to do one, possibly to Milan or Bayer Leverkusen. Meanwhile, Leicester want to replace Ben Chilwell with either Ajax’s Nicolás Tagliafico or Atalanta’s Robin Gosens.

Manchester United are busy building the world’s best under-23 team. They are keen on Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali, 20, and Monaco defender Benoît Badiashile, 19, while Marc Jurado, 16, and Álvaro Fernández, 17, have all but joined from Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. And United still really, really want Jadon Sancho, 20.

Celtic’s Champions League fiasco has increased speculation that Odsonne Édouard will decide it’s time to score goals elsewhere. Leeds, Leicester, Everton, Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Aston Villa are all interested.

Last and least, Newcastle fancy Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa would like to infuse Lazio centre-back Luiz Felipe with positive energy and tactical awareness, and Troy Deeney could be speaking frankly and belabouring penalties in a West Brom shirt next season.


Roberto departs West Ham United for Real Valladolid

West Ham United can confirm that Spanish goalkeeper Roberto has joined La Liga side Real Valladolid CF on a permanent basis.

Roberto’s transfer brings to an end a one-season stay in east London, during which time he made 10 appearances for the Club.

The Club would like to wish Roberto well for the future.

90 Minutes

Four Premier League Clubs Interested in £20m-Rated Ukrainian Mykola Matviyenko

Exclusive - Everton, West Ham, Wolves and newly promoted Leeds are the Premier League sides interested in signing Shakhtar Donetsk defender Mykola Matviyenko. But there are a number of clubs across Europe who are also keeping an eye on the Ukraine international.

Matviyenko is a product of Shakhtar’s youth system and has been a first-team regular since 2018, following successful loans at fellow Ukrainian teams Karpaty and Vorskla. In 2019/20, he helped Shakhtar reach the semi-finals of the Europa League, having earlier played in the Champions League.

The 24-year-old is versatile enough to play at centre-back, his primary position, and left-back and 90min understands that Everton, West Ham, Wolves and Leeds are all competing for his signature. He is believed to be available for close to £20m, which would make him a sizeable but still relatively affordable acquisition for the English quartet.

Arsenal were another side interested in Matviyenko prior to securing an agreement to sign Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille instead. The Gunners beat Napoli to the Brazilian’s signature and the Serie A club have now turned their attention to Matviyenko as a result.

Napoli are in the market for a centre-back because current star defender Kalidou Koulibaly has been given permission to leave and is of serious interest to Manchester City.

But not only are Napoli a potential rival for Matviyenko, Monaco, RB Leipzig and even newly crowned European champions Bayern Munich are also looking at him closely.

The level of interest suggests that any club with serious intentions of signing Matviyenko ahead of the transfer deadline in October will have to present themselves as an attractive opportunity to the player, who may very well have the opportunity to pick the offer that most appeals.

Matviyenko has already started the 2020/21 season with Shakhtar, playing at left-back in an opening day Ukrainian Premier League win over Kolos Kovalivka and a loss in the Ukrainian Super Cup at the hands of domestic rivals Dynamo Kyiv.


Report: Ex-West Ham target could leave on a free

West Ham could land Moussa Marega on a free transfer this summer.

The Porto striker has long been linked with a move to the Hammers.

Back in 2019, Sky Sports reported that he was offered to the club by the Portuguese side in the summer transfer window.

And it now looks that he will be on his way out of the club in this window.

Marega has been at Porto since 2016 and has scored 60 goals in 145 appearances in total, along with registering 28 assists.

A Bola now reports that the 29-year-old is not interested in renewing his contract at the club and is keen on a move to the Premier League.

His deal expires at the end of the 2020/21 season, and he would be willing to wait in order to move on a free transfer.

The Hammers could well reignite their interest then, with David Moyes keen to land a back-up striker to Sebastien Haller in the summer transfer window.

He is valued at £18m by Transfermarkt.

The Athletic

Is the Premier League ready for Grady Diangana?

By Roshane Thomas and Steve Madeley

The Hawthorns on the final day of last season. Forty-eight minutes have been played in the match between West Bromwich Albion and Queens Park Rangers. The score is 1-1 when Grady Diangana, the scorer of West Bromwich Albion’s first goal just before half-time, receives the ball on the left wing under the close attention of Luke Amos and Osman Kakay.

Most footballers would play a safe pass in a situation such as this. But Grady Diangana is not most footballers.

The winger controls the pass with his left foot, then uses his right foot to shield Amos from retrieving the ball. When Diangana jinxes his way past Kakay, Amos momentarily stops almost in disbelief.

Diangana continues his forward run then arrows in a cross for Callum Robinson to score from close range.

Moments such as this demonstrate that Diangana is a special talent and are also an example of how he could improve West Ham’s attack next season. Although the club’s fans are frustrated at their lack of activity in the window so far, the return of Diangana from his loan at West Brom could (at the risk of straying into cliches) feel like a new signing.

Last season, the 22-year-old played a vital role in West Brom’s promotion to the Premier League, scoring eight goals and providing six assists for Slaven Bilic’s side in 30 league appearances.

He was the player that kick-started their season, coming on at half-time away to Luton Town on August 17 and scoring two goals by the 52nd minute to secure a 2-1 win. Matheus Pereira may have been West Brom’s star man throughout the season but it was Diangana who really sparked them to life in the early months. He was the catalyst for West Brom to go from a workmanlike team that were grinding out results to playing the kind of vibrant attacking football that they became known and feared for.

Diangana models his game on the Brazilian great Ronaldinho and what was most memorable about his loan spell was his ability to find a way out of tight spaces. Below is an example of that during the 4-2 win against Huddersfield Town in September. Diangana is surrounded by Jonathan Hogg, Trevoh Chalobah and Florent Hadergjonaj, while two other Huddersfield players are not far away either.

Yet five players were not enough to stop Diangana though as he glided through them and then pulled the ball back for Matt Phillips to score from six yards out.

When Diangana got injured in December against Birmingham, it led to the most difficult spell of West Brom and Pereira’s season. They didn’t have the fear factor on the left which pinned teams back and created space for Pereira to excel. Without Diangana, Bilic remodelled the team and played Robinson on the left, drifting inside, and Pereira on the right, drifting inside. Until Robinson found his feet, West Brom really struggled.

A source at West Brom describes Diangana as respectful and polite but quite quiet. Pereira and Diangana were West Brom’s double act on the field but off it Diangana took a step back. A keen artist, he provided a drawing of the Eiffel Tower for one of West Brom’s programmes, and those around the club were impressed by his dedication to improving himself in training.

Since returning to West Ham, Diangana has shown similar levels of dedication in training and looks set to be given a chance in the first team after impressing David Moyes.

He was the chief tormentor of Ipswich Town’s defenders during West Ham’s 4-1 pre-season win on Tuesday, as he alternated between the left and right flanks. He provided assists for the first two goals, both of which were scored by Sebastien Haller. One of the main reasons Haller struggled last season was down to a lack of service he received in the box. Although it is early days, it is fairly encouraging that Haller and Diangana have already formed an understanding.

Haller’s second goal at Portman Road is a great example. In the image below, Diangana is in acres of spaces in the box and signals that he is free to Tomas Soucek, who floats a cross to him.

When Diangana receives the ball, there are several things he could do: he could test the goalkeeper, play a pass to Conor Coventry — is the nearest West Ham player to him (No 11) — or cut it back to Andriy Yarmolenko, but instead he opts for the more difficult option in squaring a pass towards Haller at the back post.

It is a tough ball to play owing to the simple fact that Ipswich have seven outfield players in the box. But Diangana is composed enough to tee up Haller, who fires the ball past the goalkeeper Tomas Holy.

Haller was full of praise for his team-mate after the match. “It’s nice for us to have a kind of player like Grady,” the striker told West Ham TV. “Everyone knows the quality he has and then he went on loan to West Brom and everyone knows he performed pretty well. We are all happy to have him here and we are going to try to use his quality and strength, me most of all.

“Hopefully he will be giving me even more assists in the future!”

West Ham’s former academy director Tony Carr spoke highly of Diangana’s potential in a previous interview with The Athletic. “I remember watching him when he was about nine or 10. He always used his left foot — his right foot at that age was more or less just to stand on,” said Carr. “His left foot had something special about it and you could tell that age that he had talent.”

“With Grady, I always remember talking to him about his final pass. He used to always get in great positions with his dribbles but his final pass was always inconsistent. So the two areas I encouraged him to improve were his final ball and his finishing.”

His performances at West Brom and in pre-season for West Ham show that Diangana has clearly improved in both those areas.

At West Ham, he will be competing for a starting place with Pablo Fornals, Yarmolenko, Felipe Anderson and Michail Antonio. Although Yarmolenko is left-footed, he predominately plays on the right wing and his winning goal in the 3-2 win over Chelsea highlights why he is a threat in that position. Fornals was the preferred option on the left wing for large parts of the season, but he struggled with consistency and is better suited as a No 10.

In Diangana, West Ham have a player whose pace allows him to have an impact in the defensive and attacking thirds, which would help out the left-back Cresswell.

Interestingly, after the game against Ipswich, Diangana spoke about being able to provide cover for Cresswell: “The game versus Ipswich was more about fitness, and I also needed to make sure I got in and helped out the full-back, Cress, as well as getting up and down and testing myself out physically. At the end of it, I needed to be creative, try to score, and help others to score as well.”

Diangana uploaded an image on his Instagram account after the Ipswich game, with the caption of a love heart and a praying emoji. His team-mate Declan Rice replied: “Prem ain’t ready for you again.”

Soon we will find out if Rice is right.

(Photo: Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images)

Michael B. 1h ago
1 like

He is by far one of the most adept wingers I have seen at the Hawthorns in decades. His technical skills need no further mention but there are two other aspects of his game that I really admired this season. First, his work ethic: his off-the-ball pressing in high areas of the pitch allows him to win the ball in key areas. Second, his ability to stretch the opposition and force them out wide. He naturally draws the opposition to him on the wings (as you saw in the QPR game on the final day of the season), thereby creating so much space in the middle for others to run into. He will be greatly missed by me and many other Albion fans for his excellent service this season. We sang "Di-an-ga-na baby!" to the tune "Don't you want me baby!" towards the end of the season - perhaps we were anticipating his inevitable return to the ranks of WHU! All the best Grady.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Jasnik 6:50 Fri Aug 28
Re: Newspapers (ALWAYS INCLUDES West Ham)
It good for us to have an artist in the team and not the usual piss artists

bill green 5:14 Fri Aug 28
Re: Newspapers (ALWAYS INCLUDES West Ham)
Thanks Alan

'his final pass was always inconsistent'.

that's consistent then isnt it?

Texas Iron 5:12 Fri Aug 28
Re: Newspapers (ALWAYS INCLUDES West Ham)

the exile 3:40 Fri Aug 28
Re: Newspapers (ALWAYS INCLUDES West Ham)
Thanks Alan. These articles from The Athletic are excellent.

geoffpikey 2:16 Fri Aug 28
Newspapers (ALWAYS INCLUDES West Ham)
Thanks yous Alans.

Good read about Grady. Especially what Haller says, for us. COYI. As ever.

With Kind Regards 2:12 Fri Aug 28
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
gph 1.57

gph 1:57 Fri Aug 28
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks, Alan

Mex Martillo 1:35 Fri Aug 28
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 12:52 Fri Aug 28

Thanks Alan 12:52 Fri Aug 28
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
ted fenton 12:19 Fri Aug 28

ted fenton 12:19 Fri Aug 28
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

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