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 1:27 Sat Oct 24
Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Tottenham Hotspur have offered South Korea forward Son Heung-min a new five-year contract worth £200,000 a week plus performance-related bonuses, which nearly doubles the wages on his existing deal, which was due to expire in 2023. (Football Insider)

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho expects Son, 28, to sign his new contract "soon". (London Evening Standard)

Real Madrid's plan to sign Paris St-Germain's France striker Kylian Mbappe, 21, would not be affected were coach Zinedine Zidane to leave the club. (AS)

Zidane insists he is "with the players to the death" amid mounting speculation about the Frenchman's future at Real. (ESPN)

The agent of Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil claims Gunners manager Mikel Arteta has not been truthful about the reasons for exiling the German playmaker from the squad. (Guardian)

Chelsea's Italy left-back Emerson Palmieri, 26, looks increasingly likely to leave Stamford Bridge in January, with Inter Milan, Roma and Napoli considering a bid. (Sky Sports Italia, via Express)

Manchester City are set to sign Partizan winger Filip Stevanovic for £6m in the January transfer window. The 18-year-old Serbia Under-21 forward has previously been linked with Manchester United. (Manchester Evening News)

Paris St-Germain are set to follow up on a verbal agreement with Neymar and offer a new contract to the Brazil forward, 28. (Le10 Sport - in French)

Chelsea and Italy midfielder Jorginho, 28, says he was "open to negotiations" with Arsenal and admits there was some interest from the Gunners this summer. (ESPN Brazil - in Portuguese)

The Football Association has threatened to block English clubs from signing non-internationals from European Union countries next week unless Premier League sides agree to introduce rules protecting homegrown players post-Brexit. (Telegraph - subscription required)

Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand, 31, is close to signing a new three-year deal. (Goal)

Burnley and England defender James Tarkowski, 27, was not close to signing for West Ham United during the summer, according to Clarets manager Sean Dyche. (Talksport)

Spanish left-back Angelino, 23, says he has "a niggle of why I did not play more" at Manchester City but insists that motivated him on his return to German side RB Leipzig on loan.(Marca, via Inside Futbol)

Everton's DR Congo winger Yannick Bolasie, 31, is helping youngsters in Liverpool secure free football coaching during the half-term break. (Liverpool Echo)


Tomas Soucek: 'We went to Hackney Marshes – it was incredible'

The West Ham midfielder on training in lockdown, his marathon-running mother and being called ‘the new Fellaini’

Jacob Steinberg

Sometimes people noticed the tall figure going through his training drills with help from his wife and young daughter. London had gone into lockdown and Tomas Soucek, who had joined West Ham at the end of January, needed to find somewhere to stay fit as he adjusted to a new reality in an unfamiliar city. “We went to Hackney Marshes, where there are 50 pitches in one place,” Soucek says. “It was incredible.”

The West Ham midfielder smiles. Lockdown brought challenges for everyone, forcing adjustments to the usual routine. For Soucek, the task was to be ready for whenever the Premier League season resumed. He did not mind being out in public. If people realised who he was, they waved. And if they happened to support West Ham, it was a chance to greet their new signing by putting their arms over their chest to make a crossed hammers sign, the club’s symbol.

Soucek had given West Ham hope in their battle against relegation after joining on loan from Slavia Prague. Tall, physical and good on the ball, he enhanced their presence in midfield, forming an effective relationship with Declan Rice.

The Czech Republic international had been preparing, starting English lessons six months before the transfer, and was determined not to grow stale when Covid-19 forced the season to be suspended. His wife, Natalie, is a keen runner and wanted to help him train, so they went to Hackney Marshes with their daughter, Tereza, who is 20 months old.

“I took a ball and some cones and I did normal training, but individually,” Soucek says. “My wife was sometimes giving me the ball and helped me enjoy it. Sometimes I enjoyed it with my daughter and her. It was a good time. I heard all about the tradition for playing Sunday League football there, though there was nothing like that during these times. At that time there were only a few five-a-side teams using it.”

Soucek did not mind using a space usually associated with amateur football. He was brought up in Havlickuv Brod, a town with a population of 23,000 people, and comes from a sporting family. “My dad took me to my first football training because he was the coach,” the 25-year-old says. “He was a footballer as well, a goalkeeper. My mother played handball, my aunt played football. The first option when I was born was to play football. Everywhere I went I would ask my family if I could take the ball with me.”

Soucek’s mother, Iva, was a major influence. “For the last 15 years she has been running half-marathons and marathons and sometimes when I was younger I went with her to the forest,” he says. “I’m a footballer and I don’t like too much space without intensity but sometimes when I was in pre-season I would go with her to run in the forest. I think I got my stamina from her. She was brilliant. I think she won the park marathon.”

Soucek, who may consider a marathon after retiring, needed support from his family after joining Slavia at the age of 10. The journey from Havlickuv Brod to Prague was long. Sacrifices were required and Soucek was determined to repay his family’s faith. He worked hard, establishing himself in Slavia’s first team, helping them win league titles in 2017 and 2019, impressing against Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Internazionale in the Champions League last season.

His talent was clear when he helped the Czech Republic defeat England in a Euro 2020 qualifier last year. David Moyes had watched Soucek and moved for him after being appointed as West Ham’s manager last December.

Soucek’s height – he is 6ft 4in – and threat in the air inevitably drew comparisons to Marouane Fellaini, who played for Moyes at Everton and Manchester United. “David has found in Soucek his new Fellaini,” José Mourinho said after West Ham’s dramatic 3-3 draw with Tottenham last weekend. Soucek smiles again. “I take these words very positive because I know what a player he was,” he says.

“I was maybe one of the tallest from nursery but from even when I was younger I told myself I wanted to cover every square of the pitch. I wanted to help my guys in every situation so longer legs helped. It suits my style and prepared me for the way I play even now.”

Given freedom to roam by Rice, Soucek rampages forward from midfield, bursting into the penalty area and attacking crosses. He scored three times at the end of last season, helping West Ham stay up before joining permanently. Yet Soucek, who supported Arsenal because of the presence at the Emirates of the former Czech international Tomas Rosicky, is not a one-note player. He can play, too, and cites Yaya Touré as an inspiration.

Soucek, who has been instrumental in West Ham’s improvement before Saturday’s visit from Manchester City, is a football fanatic. His bedroom walls at home were covered with posters of heroes such as Pavel Nedved and he loves swapping shirts with opponents. He got Olivier Giroud’s shirt after scoring against Chelsea for Slavia in the Europa League and says he plans to have “a small museum” of his collection in his parents’ house one day.

Yet Soucek does not have any special plans to swap shirts with Sergio Agüero or Raheem Sterling at the London Stadium. “I don’t go into games like a tourist, just looking to get somebody’s shirt,” he says. It sounds as if he wants to make his mark against City.


Wolves, West Ham and Newcastle plot transfer move for 27-year-old from EFL

Reading centre-back Liam Moore is attracting interest from a plethora of Premier League sides ahead of the January transfer window, as per TEAMTalk.

Leicester, Wolves, West Ham, Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Southampton are reportedly all keeping tabs on the 27-year-old after his impressive start to the 2020/21 campaign with the Royals.

The Berkshire outfit currently sit pretty at the top of the Sky Bet Championship table and have conceded just one league goal, with Moore’s influence proving crucial in the opening six league games of the season.

Moore is Reading’s captain and has been involved in every match of the season so far at Reading, as Veljko Paunovic embarks on his maiden season managing in England.

Interestingly, Leicester are among those keen on a move for Moore with the 27-year-old starting his career at the Foxes, and subsequently going on to amass 59 appearances for the Midlands club.

The verdict

Reading have made a fantastic start to the 2020/21 campaign and Liam Moore has undoubtedly been one of the club’s standout stars in this early stage.

Moore offers a commanding presence who has strong leadership qualities, whilst is comfortable with the ball at his feet and is able to initiate attacks from the back – his aerial ability also stands out and it’s really no surprise to see interest emerging.

Reading will not be willing to depart with Moore anytime soon, and it would need a sizeable bid for the club to even remotely consider letting him leave in January.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Texas Iron 7:48 Sun Oct 25
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Cheers ...

thecockneyboy 4:46 Sat Oct 24
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Cheers al

Thanks Alan 1:38 Sat Oct 24
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

gph 1:35 Sat Oct 24
Re: Saturday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Don't like the sound of this Moore bloke.

Apparently, he can't play in away games

"Reading will not be willing to depart with Moore anytime soon"

Thanks, Alan

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