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 1:13 Wed Sep 8
Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

England midfielder Jude Bellingham, 18, has hinted at a possible move to Liverpool with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp set to raid his former club Borussia Dortmund. (Star)

Liverpool have also been told to sign 27-year-old Genk and Nigeria striker Paul Onuachu by the Belgian club's sporting director. (Mirror)

The Reds are also in a three-club-battle with Bayern Munich and Barcelona to sign Red Bull Salzburg and Germany wonderkid Karim Adeyemi, 19, who has scored six goals in six league games this season. (Bild, via Mirror)

Real Madrid are reportedly willing to offer Paris St-Germain and France forward Kylian Mbappe, 22, a deal worth 30m euros per year if he joins Los Blancos on a free transfer next summer. (Fichajes - in Spanish)

Chelsea will continue to monitor Sevilla and France centre-back Jules Kounde, 22, over a potential deal in January after missing out on their top defensive target this summer. (Evening Standard)

The Blues could make a move for promising Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni next summer. The 21-year-old Frenchman was on Chelsea's transfer list but the club felt he could gain more experience with another year in Ligue 1. (The Athletic - subscription required)

However, Juventus are also said to be interested in Tchouameni, with the Italian giants set to stage their own attempt to sign the midfielder. (Calciomercato via Sportsmole)

Manchester City missed out on Wesley Ribeiro Silva this summer after their £6.5m bid for the 22-year-old Brazilian winger was rejected by Palmeiras. (Marca, via HITC)

Arsenal have rejected a bid from Turkish side Galatasaray for 29-year-old Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny. (Sky Sports)

Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio, 25, turned down the chance to join Tottenham or AC Milan in the summer, with the Spaniard unsettled at Real Madrid. (Marca)

Manchester United could have a clear path to signing West Ham and England midfielder Declan Rice, 22, next summer as Chelsea consider alternative options. (Mirror)

Liverpool's failure to sell Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri, 29, earlier or 26-year-old Belgian forward Divock Origi cost them the chance to sign Zambian forward Patson Daka, 22, from Red Bull Salzburg, before he joined Leicester City. (Here We Go Podcast, via Express)

Arsenal's forgotten Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos, 23, could be poised to seal a permanent deal to loan club Stuttgart. (Bild, via Star)

Real Madrid are prepared to sanction a January loan move for Spanish midfielder Dani Ceballos. The 25-year-old has returned to the Bernabeu after spending two seasons on loan with Arsenal, with Real Betis keen to sign him. (Defensacentral - in Spanish)

French midfielder Papy Mendy, 29, could seal a last-minute exit from Leicester City with the midfielder on course to join Galatasaray on a year-long loan. (Leicester Mercury)


Kurt Zouma becomes West Ham's top earner, with Declan Rice still not up for signing a new contract, but Hammers are confident £30m buy will be a hit despite fears of it 'rocking David Moyes' tight-knit dressing room'

Kurt Zouma moved across London from Chelsea to West Ham for £30million
The 26-year-old centre back penned a four-year deal at the London Stadium
Zouma is now West Ham's highest-earner ahead of England star Declan Rice
Hammers qualified for the Europa League after an impressive 2020-21 season

By Kieran Jackson

Kurt Zouma has become West Ham's highest-earner following his move to the London Stadium with Declan Rice yet to agree a new deal at the club.

The 26-year-old French international moved across London from Chelsea in a £30million deal having been bumped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge under Thomas Tuchel.

The centre back put pen to paper on a four-year deal, keeping him in east London until the summer of 2025 but despite asking for a salary in the region of £125,000 a week, sources close to the deal insist his final wage package is significantly lower.

Nevertheless, Zouma is still the Hammers' highest-earner ahead of Rice, who has not signed a new contract with Chelsea and Manchester United keen on the England international.

West Ham have, however, offered to make Rice, 22, the highest-paid player at the club.

In addition, a report in The Sun stated that Zouma's salary 'has not gone down particularly well with his new team-mates', with David Moyes having cultivated a tight-knit group at West Ham.

The Hammers will be playing European football this season, having finished an impressive sixth last term and qualifying for the Europa League.

Zouma joined in the final days of the summer transfer window having dropped down behind Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva in the pecking order at Chelsea.

'I'm very happy and very proud,' Zouma told the club's official website after signing for the Hammers.

'My conversation with the manager went very fast. I just felt like he really wanted me to come and join the team, especially a good team that's started the season very, very well. With the great season that West Ham had last year, that gave the team a lot of confidence to improve this year – and I want to help the team do that.'

Moyes said: 'He is a player we have tracked for some time, and we have taken great care and diligence to make the transfer happen.

'He was always our first choice and I am very happy that he is now our player. Kurt will join a squad full of players who are hungry and ambitious. He will provide competition to our squad.

The Hammers have started this season well, claiming seven points out of nine - their European adventure begins next week with a trip to Dinamo Zagreb.

Zouma, who won two Premier League titles, the Champions League and the League Cup at Chelsea, is currently on international duty with France.


Pablo Fornals: ‘I’m in love with West Ham, the songs, the sign, the bubbles’

Sid Lowe

The Spanish international has fallen for London and the club, an eventuality that didn’t always look likely given the departure of the manager who signed him and the isolation of the pandemic

It’s a long way from Spain’s east coast to London’s East End but Pablo Fornals doesn’t mind. He crosses his arms, hands as hammers, and smiles. Asked if he knew much about West Ham before signing in July 2019, he replies: “If I’m honest, no. I knew of them, I’d seen them play, but I wasn’t a fan the way I am now.” Now he says he has “completely” fallen in love with them: “The songs, this sign when they see you in the street, the bubbles: it’s something you don’t experience anywhere else.”

That might sound a bit much, but he’s soon reciting the lyrics to “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” in English and Spanish – “Pompas de jabón, lindas pompas de jabón” – and although he has resisted the pie and mash with “that gravy sauce” at the training ground, things turned out nice.

Which didn’t always seem likely. The sporting director who signed Fornals departed less than six months later. The manager he was signed for had gone too, leaving the team one point above relegation. He didn’t seem the kind of player his new manager, David Moyes, would want, and the football was different: stronger, faster, no protection. “It was a bit of a shock because I thought I was a good player,” he admitted. Oh, and there was the pandemic that left him locked up in his London flat, alone.

But here he is, sitting in the sunshine in Madrid talking about home, which London has become. With Moyes leading and Fornals playing an unexpectedly key role, West Ham survived. Then last season they came sixth, their highest finish this century taking them into Europe. Now they’re second and Fornals has scored twice in three games. He’s also back in the Spain squad three years later: he provided an assist at the weekend and on Wednesday faces Kosovo.

It all starts with Mark Noble, the man Fornals says is the most “East End” of all his teammates. “It was half-time at Anfield,” he explains. “There was an injury and there were doubts about what to do because the manager had only just taken over. He [Moyes] asks Mark what would he do? Mark was at that stage of his career where he’s a link [between coach and players] and he looks at me, turns to the coach and says give him the chance. And that day I scored at Anfield. That’s a day in my life that I’ll never forget and shapes what follows.”

It was February 2020 and what followed were two assists against Southampton. Fornals had started just one of the previous five league games; he started the next 11. Then 31 the following season. Transformed, he scored twice against Southampton to take West Ham into Europe.

It wasn’t easy. Lockdown followed not long after Liverpool, although that too might even have helped. It served as an introduction to the city for a start. And as preparation, the chance to literally start again. “They were tough weeks,” Fornals says. “No harder for me than for anyone else, but it’s true I was on my own. I don’t mind being at home a lot but I need to get out. Go for a walk, take the bike, see things. The only thing we could do in London was sport: that was the only way out. So, I’d go for a run each morning. The club sent us things to do at home. I also trained with a fitness coach online. Sixty per cent of my day was dedicated to training.”

Teammates knew he was alone. “Every week, four, five, six teammates would ask how I was getting on, ask me if I needed anything. The captain, especially. The coach would speak to us too,” Fornals says. “I never thought: ‘I want to leave.’ And I used lockdown to reduce the time it took to adapt because I trained so much. I think it cleared our heads too because we were suffering in the league: we came back more determined than ever that we weren’t going down.”

“[With Moyes] it’s a different type of football to what I had been used to, different even to Manuel [Pellegrini]. When results don’t go well there are changes and they can’t change all the players so they usually choose the coach. But I wasn’t Manuel’s player, I was West Ham’s and I knew I had to give everything for the new manager. I want to be on the pitch. And his football is producing good results.”

There’s even the occasional word from Moyes in Spanish, Fornals says. “I’m very happy to learn another way; the more elements to my game, the better. I’m a more complete, more varied player. Recently we’ve been playing out from the back more, maybe having more possession but without losing the essence of our game: rob possession, launch quick attacks and be compact defensively, make life difficult for the opposition.”

Then there’s the relationship with Michail Antonio. “It shows, doesn’t it?” Fornals says with a smile. “It really shows. The understanding is good with everyone but with Micky especially: he knows what I’m going to do, where I’m going to run, and I know what he’s going to do – if he wants it long or to feet. Almost without looking we know where each other are. The England coach will have his ideas and reasons [for not calling him up] but he has the chance with Jamaica now and he’s a player who can really make a difference at any moment with his power and goals.”

Together they’re heading into Europe. “You can’t ever get distracted from the league, but the excitement we all feel at playing the Europa League is immense,” Fornals says. “Fans, club, players: nothing can take that anticipation away.”

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

With Kind Regards 10:59 Wed Sep 8
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
ted fenton 1:32 Wed Sep 8

ted fenton 1:32 Wed Sep 8
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 1:14 Wed Sep 8

Thanks Irish 1:19 Wed Sep 8
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Thanks Alan 1:14 Wed Sep 8
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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