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 11:24 Wed Aug 25
Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Real Madrid have made an opening offer of £137m for Paris St-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe, but the French club are likely to reject the bid for the 22-year-old, who has one year left on his contract. (Mail)

PSG may target Everton and Brazil forward Richarlison, 24, as the player to replace Mbappe. (Eurosport)

Juventus and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, 36, will push for a move to Premier League champions Manchester City during the final week of the transfer window, with the former Manchester United favourite not keen on seeing out the final year of his contract with the Italians. (L'Equipe - in French)

Ronaldo has discussed the move with City's Portuguese contingent of Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias, 24, and full-back Joao Cancelo, 27. Attacking midfielder Silva or City's Spain defender Aymeric Laporte, both 27, may be included as part of a swap deal. City are willing to meet Ronaldo's salary demands, but not prepared to pay a sizeable transfer fee. (L'Equipe - in French)

Manchester United are in "pole position" to sign Borussia Dortmund and Norway striker Erling Braut Haaland next summer. The 21-year-old has established himself as one of the transfer market's hottest properties after scoring 62 goals in 63 games for the Bundesliga side. (Bild - in German)

Chelsea could face competition from Manchester United if they step up their efforts to sign Atletico Madrid and Spain midfielder Saul Niguez, 26, on loan. (Guardian)

Atletico Madrid have lined up 29-year-old Spain midfielder Pablo Sarabia from Paris St-Germain if Saul leaves. (Marca)

Arsenal have held discussions with Atletico Madrid over signing England right-back Kieran Trippier, although the 30-year-old would prefer a move to Manchester United if he leaves the Spanish capital. The Gunners are not willing to meet Atleti's £34m price-tag for the former Tottenham defender. (Eurosport)

Tottenham have held informal talks with Lyon over midfielder Houssem Aouar, 23. (Sky Sports)

Brazil winger Willian, 33, England right-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 23, English striker Eddie Nketiah, 22, Spain defender Hector Bellerin, 26, Uruguay midfielder Lucas Torreira, 25, English winger Reiss Nelson, 21, and 28-year-old Bosnian left-back Sead Kolasinac could all leave Arsenal in the next week. (Standard)

West Ham are planning a bid for Montpellier striker Gaetan Laborde, 27, but the Ligue 1 side may demand at least £12.5m for the Frenchman. (Le 10 Sport - in French)

The Hammers are more hopeful of signing France centre-back Kurt Zouma from Chelsea after making progress in their attempts to bring in the 26-year-old. (Telegraph - subscription required)

West Ham are weighing up a move for CSKA Moscow and Croatia winger Nikola Vlasic, 23, as an alternative to Manchester United's Jesse Lingard, with the England attacker, 28, likely to stay at Old Trafford. (Telegraph - subscription required)

The agents of Netherlands international Donny van de Beek have snubbed interest in the 24-year-old Manchester United midfielder, who is determined to earn a regular starting place. (Times - subscription required)

Liverpool and Wales right-back Neco Williams may end up staying at Anfield with interest in the 20-year-old having faded in recent weeks. (Liverpool Echo)

Arsenal technical director Edu is under growing pressure at the club, with Mark Overmars being considered as a replacement. (Express)

Inter Milan are closing in on a 30m euros deal for Lazio's 27-year-old Argentine forward Joaquin Correa. (Fabrizio Romano)

Burnley have had a £15m offer for Ivory Coast left-back Maxwel Cornet accepted by French club Lyon and it is now up to the 24-year-old if he wants to join the Turf Moor side. (Sky Sports)

Uruguay midfielder Federico Valverde, 23, has agreed new deal with Real Madrid which runs until 2027 and includes a 1bn euro (£856m) release clause. (Goal)

Barcelona defender Sergi Roberto, 29, and 33-year-old midfielder Sergio Busquets, who are both Spain internationals, are close to agreeing pay cuts with the La Liga club. (Marca)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Barry Glendenning

While their negotiations with Tottenham Hotspur over a deal to bring Harry Kane to Manchester City remain at an impasse, City are exploring the possibility of signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus.

L’Equipe report that the five-times Ballon d’Or winner is eager to leave the Italian champions and say that, while City are prepared to cover his £26m annual salary, their largesse doesn’t extend to paying Juve much in the way of a fee for his services. Ronaldo is apparently keen on a move away from Turin and City could send Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte the other way as part of a swap deal.

Having failed to make any signings last summer for the first time since 1980, Real Madrid hope to make up for it this time around by bringing Kylian Mbappé to the Bernabéu. Despite being in financial meltdown with net debts of more than £300m, the Spanish club confirmed they have made an opening bid of £137m to Paris Saint-Germain for the 22-year-old striker with less than a year left on his contract. PSG have greeted the offer with a Gallic shrug and are believed to be holding out for considerably more from the Spanish paupers.

With both Chelsea and Manchester United plotting late loan moves for Atlético Madrid midfielder Saúl Ñíguez, the Spanish champions have identified PSG midfielder Pablo Sarabia as a replacement. Kieran Trippier is another player who could be headed for the Atléti exit and while Arsenal’s interest in his services has been well documented, the England right-back is believed to be hankering for a move to Manchester United. Or anywhere else but Arsenal.

With their first choice transfer target Jesse Lingard looking increasingly likely to stay at Manchester United, West Ham are looking at alternative options and are mulling over the possibility of signing CSKA Moscow’s Croatian winger Nikola Vlasic instead. In need of back-up for striker Michail Antonio, David Moyes has also been giving Montpelier striker Gaetan Laborde the glad eye, while Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma is another potential Iron in the West Ham fire.

Tottenham Hotspur have held “informal talks” with Lyon, with a view to signing central midfielder Houssem Aouar, according to Sky Sports, but may have to duke it out with Arsenal in the battle to secure his scrawl. Should Aouar opt to go to the Emirates, he could have his pick of dressing-room pegs, what with – deep breath – Willian, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Eddie Nketiah, Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torreira, Reiss Nelson and Sead Kolasinac all being nudged towards the door marked “Do One”.

With so much highly remunerated deadwood on the Arsenal payroll, it’s no big shock that the position of technical director Edu is believed to be under threat and the Brazilian is unlikely to be best pleased when he sees that Marc Overmars is being linked with his job.

And finally, Burnley have had a £15m offer for Lyon left-back Maxwel Cornet accepted and are now on tenterhooks as they wait to see if the 24-year-old Ivorian finds the idea of life at Turf Moor agreeable.


Saïd Benrahma now has the stage to show West Ham fans what he can do

The player has bought into David Moyes’s approach and after a tricky first season is starting to show why the club bought him

Jacob Steinberg

Saïd Benrahma did not look like a £30m player last season. There were some promising flashes from the forward during his first year at West Ham, moments that suggested there was a special talent waiting to emerge. Yet there was rarely a sense David Moyes truly believed the skilful Algerian was the right fit for his team.

It is no secret Moyes wants his creative players to roll their sleeves up. The Scot has worked hard on making West Ham tougher to beat, instilling a ferocious work ethic that was just as important as his side’s attacking thrust in their storming 4-1 win over Leicester on Monday. The standards are non-negotiable and West Ham, confident of building on finishing sixth last season, have been so much better since accepting that they were being held back by their addiction to luxury players with a habit of shirking their defensive responsibilities.

It was not a recipe for long-term success. Opponents used to run through West Ham, charging through a soft centre and doubling up on their full-backs. They were easy to bully, quick to crumble when their fitness was put to the test, and too obsessed with trying to find the next Paolo Di Canio or Dimitri Payet.

Yet there has been a shift under Moyes. The team comes first and Benrahma, who took the Championship by storm when he was at Brentford, is beginning to show why West Ham bought him. He has bought into Moyes’s approach, adding more consistency and efficiency to his game, and his end product has been crisp and clinical in this new campaign.

West Ham, top of the Premier League after two games, have seen a different Benrahma in their wins over Newcastle and Leicester. The 26-year-old had an excellent second half against Newcastle, heading in the equaliser before setting up Michail Antonio’s brilliant breakaway goal, and he was superb against Leicester. There was a fine cross for Pablo Fornals to open the scoring and there was also the desire to burst into the box to score a tap-in when Antonio fastened on to Caglar Soyuncu’s errant backpass.

“Saïd needed to take stock and settle in and realise he had to be a team player as much as an individual,” Moyes said. “I think he had not realised that he is part of a team and we have to do all the right things together. Because of that he’s actually getting these goals, he’s making goals, which is what we brought him for.”

Benrahma has already beaten his goal tally from last season. It took him a while to open his account for West Ham – it eventually arrived when he rescued a point against Brighton with a sumptuous shot from 20 yards in May – and there were times when it was hard to work out why he was valued at £30m. Moyes had actually pushed to buy Eberechi Eze, only for Crystal Palace to sign the England Under-21 winger from QPR, and at first the concern was that Benrahma had joined a side whose manager was not sure about him.

Moyes was slow to use Benrahma, restricting him to 14 starts in the league. There were some nice moments – decisive assists against Aston Villa and Fulham caught the eye – but Moyes often resisted the clamour to give the former Brentford winger more chances, arguing that his ball retention needed to improve.

However, Moyes’s ability to improve attacking players is often underestimated. He brought the best out of Marko Arnautovic during his first spell at West Ham and has turned Antonio into one of the best forwards in the Premier League since returning to east London. Antonio, now a proud wearer of West Ham’s No 9 shirt, was far too strong for Leicester and he enjoyed linking with Benrahma, who has had to wait patiently for his chance to shine.

More often than not, Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen and Fornals were the players who lined up behind Antonio last season. With Lingard back at Manchester United after his successful loan spell at West Ham, though, the stage is set for Benrahma to display the full array of his gifts.

The early signs are promising. Benrahma has played with impressive focus against Newcastle and Leicester. He is starting to justify the price tag and the exciting thing for West Ham is that there is far more to come.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

bill green 2:39 Wed Aug 25
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Thanks Alan 11:51 Wed Aug 25

Russ of the BML 1:30 Wed Aug 25
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Zouma, Vlasic and Laborde would warrant a decent window along with Areola already in.

Come Jan we may need more and we should also be looking at LB.

I doubt any of them will come in though.

angryprumphs 12:33 Wed Aug 25
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Lily Hammer 11:51 Wed Aug 25

That is the thing I LOVE about this team, every one of our players wants to be first to the ball and we normally are.

BillyJenningsBoots 12:20 Wed Aug 25
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Spot on Lily...

I was thinking the same ....

Lily Hammer 11:51 Wed Aug 25
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks, Alan.

One thing I have to pull Steinberg up on is that Benrhama's goal was a bit more than just "a tap-in." That makes it sound like he tapped in to an empty goal from a yard or two, whereas he had to race to get to the ball first, against a defender who was right there with him, and hit it first time, hard and low into the bottom corner from around the penalty spot. It had to be so accurate because there was a defender on the line in the middle who could have cleared had it been anywhere near him.

A very good finish, in all fairness.

Thanks Alan 11:51 Wed Aug 25
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Irish 11:48 Wed Aug 25

With Kind Regards 11:50 Wed Aug 25
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

The Stoat 11:50 Wed Aug 25
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Thanks Irish 11:48 Wed Aug 25
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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