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 10:29 Wed Sep 2
Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, 33, has agreed a five-year deal with City Football Group worth £623m that will see him spend three seasons at Manchester City before joining MLS side New York City FC. (Record)

Manchester United will not give up in their attempts to sign Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, 20, until the England winger publicly says he wants to stay in Germany. (Sun)

Paris St-Germain have made a bid of £25m plus £5m in add-ons for Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin, with Bayern Munich and Juventus also interested in the 25-year-old Spain defender. (Guardian)

Everton have agreed to sign Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez, 29, from Real Madrid on a three-year deal. (Telegraph)

Rodriguez and Napoli's Brazilian midfielder Allan, 29, will both have medicals on Wednesday before completing a move to Goodison Park. (Sky Sports)

Premier League clubs will vote on Thursday on a curtailment plan to be used to determine final league positions if future seasons are abandoned. (Mail)

A second vote on the use of five substitutes in the Premier League next season is facing defeat at Thursday's meeting. (Times - subscription required)

Chelsea have put an £80m price tag on N'Golo Kante with Inter Milan interested in the 29-year-old France midfielder. (Express)

However, former Leicester player Kante is keen to stay at Chelsea. (Goal)

Leicester have agreed a deal worth £22m to sign Belgium full-back Timothy Castagne, 24, from Atalanta. (Telegraph)

Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey, 27, is keen on a move to Arsenal but the Gunners need to offload players before meeting the Ghana midfielder's £44.5m release clause. (Goal)

Monaco have expressed an interest in Watford's French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure after Everton failed with a bid for the 27-year-old. (Evening Standard)

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho is ready to sell the club's record 60m euros (£53.8m) signing, 23-year-old France midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, who only joined the club in July 2019. (Sun)

Newcastle are attempting to structure a deal for Bournemouth's Callum Wilson, 28, that would see Scotland winger Matt Ritchie rejoin the Cherries, but Aston Villa are also keen on the England striker. (Sky Sports)

Fulham boss Scott Parker will sign a new three-year contract after guiding the London club back to the Premier League. (Sun)

PSG have made contact with Inter Milan and Slovakia defender Milan Skriniar, 25, who is also a target for Tottenham. (Calciomercato - in Italian)

Crystal Palace have rejected an offer in the region of £20m for Norway forward Alexander Sorloth, 24, from RB Leipzig. (Mail)

Juventus want Barcelona and Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, 33, or Roma's Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko, 34. (Gazzetta dello Sport - in Italian)

Spain's Kepa Arrizabalaga, 25, is prepared to stay and fight for his Chelsea place, even if the club are successful in signing a new goalkeeper. (Telegraph)

Al Nassr have offered Arsenal's German playmaker Mesut Ozil, 31, a 20m euros (£18m) contract to join the Saudi Arabian side. (Fanatik - in Turkish)

Tottenham have announced former Swansea chairman Trevor Birch as their new director of football operations. (Evening Standard)

Fulham are looking into possibility of signing Burkina Faso winger Bertrand Traore, 24, from Lyon. (Sky Sports)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Simon Burnton

Talk of Georginio Wijnaldum moving to Barcelona is hotting up, with the Spanish newspaper Sport reporting that “negotiations are well advanced” and the player is happy to sign a three-year contract with the Spanish giants, who could do with bolstering their midfield after the departure of Ivan Rakitic and with Arturo Vidal also packing his bags. The Dutchman has one year remaining on his contract at Liverpool, has refused to sign an extension and will therefore cost no more than €20m, they declare. Barça also hope to sign Lautaro Martínez from Internazionale, and will happily send Vidal the other way in a bid to drive the transfer fee below their €65m ceiling.

“Ndomselle!” screams the Sun, as they report that Tottenham have decided to give up on Tanguy Ndombele, with Internazionale apparently best placed to snaffle the midfielder who set Spurs back £65m just last summer (though Vidal’s arrival might scupper that, and the Mirror link the Italians to a Chelsea-focused spree on N’Golo Kanté, Emerson Palmieri and Olivier Giroud. Elsewhere they’re also reportedly on the verge of signing Roma’s 34-year-old formerly Manchester-based left-back Aleksandar Kolarov to provide competition for their own 35-year-old former Manchester-based left-back Ashley Young). José Mourinho would like to sign another striker, and the Sun also say he is ready to battle Brighton for Almería’s 21-year-old Uruguayan ace Darwin Núñez (the Mail says Spurs have “decided not to pursue” him), or failing that settle for Bournemouth’s Josh King, or Sporting’s Jovane Cabral, with whom they – along with West Ham and Fulham – are linked on the front page of today’s A Bola.

Newcastle, thrashed 5-1 by Middlesbrough in a friendly on Tuesday, want to add a bit more firepower in the shape of Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson, and will offer Matt Ritchie – who joined them from the Cherries four years ago – in part-exchange in the hope of driving down the £30m asking price. The Mail reports however that Bournemouth “will stand firm in their valuation”, and also that Newcastle could increase their Cherry-related activity still further by replacing Ritchie with Ryan Fraser, who is available for nothing after his contract at the Vitality Stadium ended in July. In totally non-related striker news, Gonzalo Higuaín’s brother tells TuttoSport that “Gonzalo will not play in Italy any more”, with Inter Miami apparently his likely destination.

Manchester United will continue to “put all their efforts into landing Jadon Sancho”, says the Sun, though “they are also close to signing a centre-back and are looking at a left-back”, so not quite all their efforts. Meanwhile, with the rest of Italy focused on Luis Suárez and the possibility of him joining Juventus, the front page of Il Romanista is dominated by a picture of Chris Smalling and the headline “Il Paziente Inglese” (“the patient Englishman”, but also the Italian title of Michael Ondaatje’s 1992 novel The English Patient, and its subsequent film adaptation).

They call discussions over the permanent transfer of the defender from United to Roma “the infinite negotiation” but have spotted “positive signals”. Apparently Guido Fienga, Roma’s CEO, has been back in touch with officials at Old Trafford and found them unexpectedly receptive, but there are still issues to iron out. United want €20m and they want it all now, Roma want to pay a €5m loan fee with an obligation to buy next summer, and negotiations are ongoing, though hopefully not infinitely.

Finally, Leicester are about to sign Timothy Castagne, a deal which seems but a few dotted I’s and crossed T’s from completion, and Atalanta will replace the full-back with Rick Karsdorp, on loan from Roma with an obligation to buy.


West Ham and Newcastle keen on Brighton defender Bernardo

By Tom Procter

West Ham United and Newcastle United are both reportedly keen on signing Brighton defender Bernardo.

Sky Sports claim David Moyes and Steve Bruce both hold an interest in the 25-year-old, who made 14 appearances in the Premier League for the Seagulls last term.

Bernardo, a 2018 signing from RB Leipzig, has impressed at the Amex Stadium over the past couple of years – especially in 2019/18 – and is now seemingly a wanted man.

Both West Ham and Newcastle are in the market for a new left-back this transfer window.

Newcastle have seen loan stars Jetro Willems and Danny Rose go back to their parent clubs, while at West Ham Aaron Cresswell will be turning 31 before the year is out.

The Premier League clubs are not the only sides interested in £25,000-a-week star Bernardo (Spotrac) – Istanbul Basaksehir, last season’s 2019/20 Super Lig winners, are also thought to be keen.

TBR’s View – Bernardo would be a good, cost-effective signing

The Brazilian would make a for a decent, cost-effective signing by West Ham or Newcastle, with neither club having a huge budget this window.

Given he isn’t quite a regular under Graham Potter, there is a chance the Seagulls might be willing to let the South American leave.

Right now, Brighton are supposedly in talks with Istanbul, so West Ham and Newcastle will need to act quickly if they decided Bernardo is the man they want marauding down the left in 2020/21.

The Athletic

Diamanti: ‘Imagine what West Ham could have achieved in five years if I stayed’

(Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

By Roshane Thomas

“My first impression of some of the defenders were, ‘Wow, everyone is so fucking huge’. Oh my goodness, Chris Samba scared me. We’re in the tunnel about to go out on the pitch. I was standing right next to Samba and in my mind, I was thinking, ‘If he tackles me, he will kill me!’”

The match in question was a goalless draw at the Boleyn Ground between West Ham United and Blackburn Rovers in January 2010. More than 10 years have passed since Alessandro Diamanti’s first and only encounter with centre-back Samba, but the Italian still sounds petrified. Samba’s name still induces panic in his voice, while Kolo Toure, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand are also recalled as being tough opponents as Diamanti reminisces with The Athletic about his year at West Ham.

The now 37-year-old is in a jocular mood and over the course of 40 minutes he explains why he still regrets leaving West Ham, how then-manager Gianfranco Zola got the best out of him in that 2009-10 season, scoring the winning penalty against England in a Euro 2012 quarter-final shootout, his motivation for playing in Australia with Melbourne club Western United and how his daughters convinced him to download TikTok during lockdown.

But we start in summer 2009, when it was considered a significant coup for West Ham to sign Diamanti for £6 million. He had scored 16 league goals and delivered 10 assists the season before (including crucial goals and assists during the Serie B play-offs), playing a big role in Livorno’s promotion to Serie A.

At the time Dean Ashton was a long-term absentee for West Ham with what would be a career-ending ankle injury, so Carlton Cole and the inexperienced pair of Zavon Hines and Frank Nouble were the only strikers manager Zola had at his disposal. There was also interest in Bordeaux’s Marouane Chamakh, who would later join on loan from Arsenal in 2013, but having scouted Diamanti for quite some time, he was the preferred option.

“When I signed for West Ham, I was very excited,” Diamanti tells The Athletic. “I was also a little bit emotional because it was such a big club for me to join. For me, West Ham fans are the best supporters in England. Plus, I was looking forward to living in London and playing in the Premier League.

“I didn’t know a word of English when I moved to West Ham. It was a bit hard for me to understand the language so I’m very thankful I had (countryman) Gianfranco Zola as my manager. He took me under his wing and we spoke Italian which helped me settle.

“It was a very quick transfer because I had a lot of teams in Serie A interested in signing me. I had two good seasons at Livorno and then me and my wife decided to have a new experience in London, which was probably the main reason why I chose to sign for West Ham. I had a very positive chat with Gianfranco who made me feel good about joining the club. He’s an idol for a lot of Italian players and I really enjoyed playing under him. He was a good coach. Laid back and really calm. But the most important thing about Gianfranco is that he’s a very special man.”

Diamanti played 29 games and scored eight times for West Ham. Only 10-goal top scorer Cole had a better record at the club in that 2009-10 season. Four of Diamanti’s goals were penalties, and arguably his most memorable goal from the spot was on his home debut against Liverpool. It was an incident which would prove fairly controversial, as he explains.

“I remember that game very well because I was excited to play at Upton Park and I really wanted to score in front of the fans,” says Diamanti. “So I stepped up to take the penalty and wanted to shoot but slipped.

“With luck, I was still able to score and I remember (Liverpool goalkeeper) Pepe Reina saying to the referee, ‘He took two touches, he took two touches’. I said, ‘What two touches?’ And I then winked at him. It was a funny moment.”

But when West Ham fans reflect on Diamanti’s spell at the club, it is not that goal against Liverpool that remains uppermost on their mind — it is the long-range free kick he scored in a 2-0 February win over Birmingham City.

Prior to that match, West Ham were winless from their previous four league games against Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Samba’s Blackburn and Burnley. They were 18th in the table on 21 points with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Portsmouth also in the relegation zone. That home win lifted West Ham to 14th, they won again at home to Hull City in their next match and despite the calamitous run of six straight defeats that followed they finished just one place but five points above the bottom three.

For Diamanti, it remains his proudest moment for the club.

“I enjoyed every moment at West Ham, but a special memory is when I scored a free kick against Birmingham City,” he says. “We were really struggling as a team and very close to relegation. It was an important goal which probably helped us stay up. The thing is I never practised free kicks in training. When I was born my mum just blessed me with the ability to score free kicks!”

Diamanti still has a house in London. He was in the capital for two weeks in December and had a catch-up with Angelo Ogbonna, the West Ham centre-half. They are good friends having played together for the national team.

Not only was Zola’s presence a great help during that 2009-10 season, there was also Valon Behrami, a Swiss midfielder who spoke Italian and briefly held the role of translator when Diamanti had to perform his traditional initiation.

“I remember the night before we played Wigan we were staying at a hotel,” says the former Italy international. “I was really shy because I couldn’t speak English. Matt Upson, who was captain, told me I had to stand up and sing a song. Valon Behrami also spoke Italian, so he sat right next to me and told the others what I was saying. Then I started singing this old Italian song and everyone seemed to like it.”

Although Diamanti’s time in England was short, his fun-loving personality made him a cult hero at West Ham. He calls himself a West Ham supporter today and thinks David Moyes’ side can push higher up the table this season, having narrowly avoided relegation last term.

Diamanti was runner-up to Scott Parker for the Hammer of the Year award for 2009-10 and many felt he would only get better the following season. Yet he was gone before the end of August.

Ten years later, Diamanti explains to The Athletic what really happened that summer and shared his regret at letting his international-level ambitions cloud his judgment.

“I still watch West Ham games. I still consider myself to be a West Ham fan. My message to West Ham fans is, ‘I really love you guys’. My biggest regret is leaving the club to join Brescia, but at that time I wanted to play for the national team and back then a good season in the Premier League wasn’t really enough to earn a call-up,” he explains.

“It was very hard for me and I had to move for that reason, otherwise I would’ve stayed at West Ham for a long time. I spoke with Avram Grant (who replaced Zola that summer) and he told me, ‘You’re still an important player. I don’t want to lose you’. Then I explained to him why I had to leave and follow my dreams to play for Italy.

“When I spoke with the manager of Italy (Cesare Prandelli) he told me, ‘You had a great season but if you don’t play in Italy it will be very hard for me to call you up to the national team’. That’s what swayed my decision to leave but looking back now, if I was faced with that same scenario, I wouldn’t have left West Ham.”

While Diamanti regrets the decision to return to Serie A so soon, it was one that accomplished its goal. Less than three months after leaving West Ham, Diamanti made his Italy debut in a friendly against Romania. Over the next three years, the attacking midfielder earned a total of 17 caps.

“I was very proud to play for Italy. Every kid who plays football wants to play for their country,” says Diamanti. “My family sacrificed a lot, so it was also a proud moment for them. I got to play with Andrea Pirlo and he’s one of the best players I’ve played with. I played with Alberto Gilardino, Daniele De Rossi and so many huge players but Pirlo will always stand out. The guy was a magician, he had so much talent.”

Diamanti was in the Italy squad that finished as runners-up at the 2012 European Championship. In the quarter-final against England, Diamanti came on in the second half for Antonio Cassano and on the grand stage, in front of 56,500 people in Kyiv and millions watching on TV around the world, scored the winning penalty to give Prandelli’s side a 4-2 penalty shootout win.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart’s distraction tactics included sticking out his tongue to try to put him off but Diamanti explains that beyond the mind games he actually changed where he was planning to place his shot on the walk up, convinced former West Ham team-mate and England substitute Rob Green had tipped Hart off.

“I felt like, ‘I don’t care if my opponent is England, France or Spain, I just want to score to put my country through’,” he says. “That night was a beautiful one and to score the winning penalty was an unbelievable feeling.

“The funny thing is Robert Green was the back-up goalkeeper for Joe Hart. Obviously, Green played with me at West Ham and in training I used to always score penalties against him in the bottom right-hand corner. So I was adamant Green told Hart this information, that’s why I decided to shoot in the bottom left-hand corner and, thankfully, I scored.”

Since leaving West Ham for Brescia in 2010, Diamanti has had a nomadic playing career.

He had a spell at Bologna, then played in China under countryman Marcelo Lippi for Guangzhou Evergrande. During his time with that club he had loan spells at Fiorentina and Atalanta in Italy, and back in England with Watford. He then had further Italian stints between 2016-19 at Palermo, Perugia and former club Livorno.

Having turned 37 in May, Diamanti is still going strong and is a key player for Western United, who play in the A-League. In July, the Melbourne club extended his contract to the end of the 2022-23 season — by which time he’ll be 40. He finished the campaign with eight goals and seven assists in 27 appearances and recently showed he is still regarded as a free kick specialist when he scored the only goal of a play-off win over Brisbane Roar.

Off-field, Diamanti, wife Silvia and children, Aileen, 11, Olivia, 10, and Taddeo, seven, enjoy the Melbourne lifestyle and are settled in the country. His daughters convinced him to download TikTok during lockdown and he has been able to entertain fans on his social media platforms.

Diamanti didn’t get to play top-flight football until he was 24 years old and he has no plan to stop any time soon.

“I enjoyed every moment in my career and now I’m still going strong in Australia,” he says. “What I enjoy most about playing for Western United is that it sounds familiar to West Ham United! When they phoned me to come here, they said I would enjoy the lifestyle out here, my experience would help the younger players and they were trying to build something strong here.

“Some people grow up when they’re 17, some people grow up at 21, or 24 like me. I just started to appreciate football more. When I played in Serie A and I was doing well, I had self-confidence that I was good enough for that level.”

Throughout our interview, Diamanti passionately talks about his love for West Ham and before he leaves there is one last thing he would like to say to their supporters.

“I’ll love that club for the rest of my life,” he says. “I was only there for one year but imagine what I could’ve achieved if I was there for five or six years. I still support West Ham and the fans will always be in my heart. I’ll never forget them.”

Birmingham Live

West Brom have stunning £12m West Ham bid accepted - report

West Brom news - Diangana was an integral part of Slaven Bilic's side as they won promotion from the Championship

By Ben Husband

West Brom are hoping to conclude the signing of Grady Diangana, after West Ham accepted a £12m transfer bid.

The England Under-21 international was a key part of Slaven Bilic’s side last term, after joining on a season-long loan deal.

His eight goals and six assists went a long way to securing top-flight football for the Baggies, in Bilic’s first campaign with the club.

Diangana then returned to West Ham, with David Moyes hinting at a bigger role for the 22-year-old.

The winger has been in fine form during pre-season, but now looks set to re-join the Baggies, with the Telegraph reporting a bid has been accepted.

The news comes just days after Hammers record signing Sebastian Haller hailed his impact after creating a goal in their most recent warm-up game.

He said: “It’s nice for us to have a kind of player like Grady. 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!”

Diangana would become Albion’s second signing of the summer, after Matheus Pereira, with Brighton keeper David Button also closing in on a move.

Elsewhere, the report claims that Huddersfield Town have turned down an initial bid for striker Karlan Grant, with talks between the clubs ongoing.


West Ham have signed Osamma Ashley on a year year deal from AFC Wimbledon. The midfielder has been a trialist in recent academy games! We also have two other players on trial

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 7:19 Wed Sep 2
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 1:23 Wed Sep 2

Thanks Alan 1:23 Wed Sep 2
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
ted fenton 12:36 Wed Sep 2

Joe C 12:51 Wed Sep 2
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Which I clearly missed at the bottom...

Joe C 12:50 Wed Sep 2
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Telegraph reporting we’ve accepted £12m from West Brom for Grady

ted fenton 12:36 Wed Sep 2
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
bill green 12:05 Wed Sep 2

Alan 12:32 Wed Sep 2
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Guardian Rumour Mill added

bill green 12:05 Wed Sep 2
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Sven Roeder 10:31 Wed Sep 2

Texas Iron 11:12 Wed Sep 2
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Diamond Geezer...😀😃

Sven Roeder 10:31 Wed Sep 2
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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