Friday, December 31, 2010

West Ham Transfer News

The papers have gone into overdrive today and West Ham are being linked to everyone and his dog. Here's a quick summary of players the papers think we are after.

Michael Owen, Robbie Keane, Yakubu, Cardiff's Jay Bothroyd, Barnsley midfielder Adam Hammill, Hoffenheim striker Demba Ba (on loan) and David Beckham again.

Man City have turned down West Ham's offer to loan Wayne Bridge.

Valon Behrami could be on his way out of Upton Park, with long-time admirers Roma ready to make a £4.5m offer.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

West Ham to Sign Three Players

David Gold says that West Ham are hoping to sign three players in January and the club currently have 15 players that they are targeting,

"We've got 15 irons in the fire, and I mean that literally. We're just concentrating on incomings, and if you get three, you've done good.

The Steve Sidwell deal is not done yet. There's a lot of secret stuff going on; we're trying to outwit our competitors.

We're after a player who is the same type of player one of our competitors is looking for, and we want to keep that as quiet as we can and complete the deal."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

West Ham 1 Everton 1

West Ham started with Faubert and Ilunga in as full backs and Obinna in for Cole.

West Ham started a little slowly but worked hard at closing down space and gradual worked their way into the game. Their hard work was rewarded in the 16th minute when Kovac tried an overhead shot from 10 yards and Hibbert deflected the ball into the back of his own net.

West Ham then had a couple of opportunities to extend their lead. In the 20th minute Obinna cut in from the right and fired a shot into the side of the net. In the 26th minute Upson headed well over from 8 yards.

In the 23rd minute Ilunga was forced off and Spector came on to replace him at left back. In the 43nd minute Everton got the equaliser when a cross from the left wing found Coleman completely unmarked at the far post to shoot home from 5 yards.

In the 43rd minute Upson headed wide from 10 yards. Two minutes after that Parker tried to chip Howard from 18 yards only to see his shot drop onto the top of the net. In the 46th minute Coleman had a good opportunity to grab his second but shot well wide from 13 yards.

Everton dominated the second half early on. In the 51st minute Pienaar shot over from just inside the area. In the 56th minute Rodwell fired wide from 23 yards. In the 56th minute Cole replaced a limping Piquionne.

In the 70th minute a great run from Sears down the right and a good cross across the area found Cole unmarked but Cole scuffed his shot wide from 12 yards. That chance seemed to spur West Ham into action and in the 72nd minute Tomkins headed over from 7 yards.

In the 74th minute Obinna fired a 25 yard freekick straight into the wall. However apart from that little five minute spell it was Everton who looked the more likely to score. Their best chance fell to Cahill whose shot from 10 yards was easily saved by Green.

In the end a draw was probably a fair result. West Ham pick up another point but appear to have lost Ilunga for a while, and Piquionne looked to be carrying some sort of injury when he limped off.

West Ham to Sign Villa Pair

The Daily Mail say West Ham have agreed a deal to sign Stave Sidwell and that they will also sign Luke Young. The Mail say Young will play at left back for West Ham.

The Sun meanwhile say that Piquionne could be moving in the other direction. They claim the West Ham striker has not ruled out a move to Aston Villa. The paper claim that Houllier has expressed an interest in Piquionne and the West Ham player has not ruled out the move. They quote Piquionne, responding to a question from the French media about the move, as saying,

"Why not go to Villa? I'm not losing my head but I'm not closing the door on anything. There has been no contact but we'll see."

The Daily Mirror claim that West Ham and Man City are still in negotiations about West Ham loaning Wayne Bridge. The sticking point seems to be how much of Bridge's wages West Ham are prepared to pay.

The Mirror also report that West Ham are closing in on signing Hoffenheim’s £6 million-rated Senegal striker Demba Ba.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Keane Demands £1 million in Bonuses

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has confirmed Steve Sidwell is close to completing a move to West Ham. Houllier said, "Steve is having a medical. He's at the end of his contract (next summer) and it's not a secret he lives in London."

The Telegraph claim that a planned move by West Ham for Robbie Keane has collapsed after Keane asked for a £1 million bonus should he help the club avoid relegation.

The Telegraph also say that West Ham made an offer on Tuesday to take Wayne Bridge on loan until the end of the season. Man City are demanding West Ham pay a greater percentage of Bridge's wages than the Irons want. The Telegraph say that West Ham have not given up hope though that a deal can be done.

The Guardian say that West Ham will sell Matthew Upson and Kieron Dyer in January if any club offers a reasonable transfer fee.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sears Recalled

Freddie Sears has been recalled a couple of weeks early from his loan spell with Scunthorpe. My understanding is that Hines was just ill last weekend and should be available this weekend. My guess is that the recall of Sears means that Obinna is still not fit to play.

The Sun claim that Roma and Palermo are locked in a fierce battle to sign West Ham midfielder Valon Behrami.

The Mirror say that West Ham are ready to sign striker Dieumerci Mbokani from Monaco but may have trouble getting a work permit for the player.

The Mirror also suggest that Ben-Haim will return to Portsmouth next month as West Ham are unlikely to extend his loan.

Elsewhere the Steve Sidwell rumours persist with rumours of a medical today and an announcement of his signing due next week.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sidwell to West Ham

The Daily Mirror claims that Aston Villa's Steve Sidwell was at West Ham yesterday for a medical and is close to agreeing personal terms. The Mirror say that West Ham will pay a small sum up front, with extras on bonuses.

The Daily Mail say that West Ham are trying to sign Monaco striker Dieumerci Mbokani on a five month loan deal.

Ian Wright in The Sun argues that Avram Grant is not the man to keep West Ham in the Premier League. Wright argues that teams like playing at West Ham "because there's no chance West Ham are going to come out all fired up by a rocket from the manager."

Wright also argues that the fans have given up hope and there is now little atmosphere at the ground. Wright concludes that West Ham need "someone animated and able to deliver a few home truths. They need someone who can get ALL the players riled up, not just Scotty Parker."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sack Grant or West Ham Will Die

The Sun claim West Ham will try to loan Man City's Emmanuel Adebayor in January.

Writing in The Daily Mail Martin Samuel argues quite strongly that West Ham can't afford not to sack Avram Grant. Samuel claims that relegation will lead to the permanent demise of West Ham.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

West Ham Firesale

The News of the World say West Ham will have to raise £40 million if relegated from the Premier League with a firesale of players. They say Karen Brady has already begun planning how to raise the money by selling the best players at the club.

The NoW claim West Ham will only be able to raise about £30 million by selling players.

The NoW also claim that West Ham are close to signing Steve Sidwell, initially on loan. They say Sidwell will undergo a tough medical this week before West Ham sign the injury prone midfielder. If West Ham avoid relegation he will then sign on a free transfer in the summer.

The Daily Mirror have an interesting article claiming that Avram Grant is just the latest manager at West Ham to have been undermined by owners of the club.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Blackburn 1 West Ham 1

Green and Stech were both presumably injured as Boffin started in goal. Obinna was also injured. West Ham started with a midfield of Boa Morte, Parker, Spector and Barrera, with Piquionne and Dyer up front.

With the ground hard under foot both sets of players struggled to control the ball which led to a rather scrappy first half. Blackburn had more possession but West Ham probably just edged the chances on goal.

Blackburn's best chances were a couple of freekicks for Pedersson from 20 yards. His first, early on, was blocked by Upson. In the 38th minute he got another chance. This time his shot was on target but it was a fairly comfortable save for Boffin in goal.

At the other end Boa Morte created a good chance for Piquionne, playing the striker clear in the area in the 41st minute. However Piquionne screwed his shot just the wrong side of the left hand post. Three minutes later the roles were reversed when Piquionne set Boa Morte clear. Boa Morte managed to get his shot on target but couldn't beat Robinson in goal.

Five minutes into the second half a series of errors led to a Blackburn goal. First Boffin failed to clear a cross, then Barrera had an age to clear the ball but was robbed on the right wing. The ball was crossed back into the box. Nelson shot from four yards, Boffin saved the shot but the ball bounced back to Nelson who kneed the ball home.

Grant then brought on Cole and Stanislas for Barrera and Spector. West Ham pushed forward looking for the equaliser. They came close in the 70th minute when an Upson reaction shot from 7 yards clipped the left hand post as it flew wide. Four minutes later and Piquionne headed just over from 7 yards from a corner.

West Ham's pressure finally paid off in the 78th minute when Parker surged into the area. The ball deflected wide to Stanislas who fired home from 9 yards. McCarthy then came on for Dyer and had a golden opportunity to get the winner when he was played free by Parker but McCarthy couldn't control the ball on the edge of the area.

With seconds left in the game Blackburn had a good chance to get the winner when they were given a freekick on the edge of the West Ham penalty box. Pedersson however fired his shot just wide of the left hand post.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Three Games to Stop Fat Sam

The newspapers today seem to be concentrating on reporting that Avram Grant has been given three games to save West Ham and that Fat Sam is in pole position to replace him.

In other news Tottenham say they will redevelop Crystal Palace athletics stadium if they win their Olympic Stadium bid.

Tottenham's plan to rip up the athletics track at the Olympic Stadium had led many commentators to place West Ham in pole position to win the bid to move into the new stadium after the Olympics.

Spurs hope their plans for Crystal Palace will help to meet the athletics legacy that seems to be a major requirement to take over the Olympic Stadium.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Avram Given Three Games

The BBC are reporting that Avram Grant has been told that West Ham must win one of their next three games or he will be sacked. That seems a very low target to me. If we are to escape relegation then I think we will need to start winning more than one in three games against the sides in the bottom half of the table.

The BBC also report that Sam Allardyce is being considered as a replacement. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. Personally I think it is probably time that Grant was replaced. However I would find it very hard supporting a team managed by Fat Sam.

Allardyce is possibly West Ham's best chance of avoiding relegation this year. I've no doubt that there will be very little money to bring in new players in January. Therefore appointing a manager with years of experience of keeping average teams in the English Premier League could be the only means to ensure the club's position in the top flight.

The present owners have often warned that the current finances at the club mean that relegation for West Ham could lead to financial melt down. In these circumstances it does look like Allardyce is the most prudent appointment that the club could make.

I'm not sure then why a big part of me would rather see West Ham go to the wall than face the prospect of having Allardyce in charge. Man, this season is depressing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pressure Mounts on Avram Grant

Many of the papers today are reporting that Avram Grant has warned his players that there will be no more excuses and it is time to start getting points from games. Ever the dour faced optimist Grant still thinks West Ham can climb up the table,

"There is time to recover but we need to change things and get points. I am sure we will do it. It won't be easy, but we can do it."

The Sun in an article headed "Board Set to Sack Grant" say that David Gold and David Sullivan will meet with Avram Grant this week. The paper claims that the "meeting is the first sign of a serious crack appearing in the relationship between Grant, who is on a four-year deal, and his Upton Park bosses."

Of course owners never meet with managers except when they are going to sack them. Hopefully the meeting might also cover how much money will be available for transfers in January and which players the board should be targeting.

On which note I have a feeling that the Blackburn game could be make or break time for Grant. If the owners are thinking of appointing a new owner then surely they will want to get someone in before the January transfer window.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Grant Asks for £10 Million

You can listen to Victor Obinna being interviewed on the BBC World Service's Sportsworld programme. In the interview he is asked about whether he would like to stay at West Ham. He is complimentary about Avram Grant and West Ham but I can't help thinking that unless West Ham start rapidly climbing up the league table he won't be here next season.

The Sun and The Mail report that Avram Grant thinks £10 million to spend in the January transfer window should be enough to save West Ham. However there is no indication that the money will be available. They quote Grant saying,

"If the owners gave me £10million, that would be great. January is not a good time to invest but we need some dangerous players."

The Mirror claim that Grant is close to being sacked and that Chris Hughton and Martin Jol are likely candidates as his replacement.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hughton Linked with West Ham

The Sunday Express claim that sacked Newcastle manager Chris Hughton could replace Avram Grant as manager of West Ham. They say that Hughton "is seen by the West Ham owners as someone who can galvanise a struggling squad."

In other news Wally Downes dismisses rumours that he might join Pardew at Newcastle,

"I'm delighted to have signed at West Ham. They came in for me before Newcastle and if there was any speculation about me going, this will kill it off."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

West Ham 1 Man City 3

The writing was on the wall for West Ham early on in this game. In just the 4th minute Balotelli missed a sitter from just 4 yards. Man City controlled possession for much of the half and their movement and ambition was rewarded in the 30th minute when Ya Ya Toure lost Spector on the edge of the area and beat Green with his first time shot.

Despite chasing the ball for much of the first half West Ham actually had a couple of decent chances to get on the score sheet themselves. In the 22nd minute Stanislas cut in from the left and forced a save from Hart. With a minute to go in the half Piquionne headed just over from 10 yards.

At the other end Man City almost extended their lead in the 34th minute. Balotteli headed goalwards from 8 yards but Barrera cleared the ball from the goal-line.

West Ham showed a lot more aggression and ambition in the second half without creating anything in front of goal. Barrera managed a couple of shots from the edge of the area but both flew well over the bar.

With West Ham pushing more and more forward they left space at the back and there was always the danger that City would hit West Ham on the break. The almost inevitable happened in the 73rd minute when Ya Ya Toure cut in from the left wing, beat Tomkins and then beat Green inside his left post.

The second goal knocked the stuffing out of West Ham and City started playing for fun. In the 80th minute Silva played a defence splitting pass for Johnson who beat Green from 10 yards.

In the 89th minute West Ham got a consolation goal when Tomkins scored a headed goal from 10 yards. However overall you have to say that there wasn't much on show from West Ham today to give you any hope that they can claw their way out of the relegation places.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Parker Not for Sale

Avram Grant says that he is confident that Scott Parker will not be sold in January and that West ham will actually bring in new players,

"I am confident Scott will stay.

"It's not a secret that we need to be stronger. In one area we don't have any players and in other areas we have one.

"We have had a lot of injuries this season so we need a few areas to be stronger. We will do it in January, not massively - maybe two or three players."

Collison on the Mend

The Daily Star are reporting that Jack Collison could make his comeback from injury
in time for the visit of Arsenal on January 15. The paper reports that Collison has started gym strengthening work at the club’s training ground and is expected "to start his pre-season campaign before the turn of the year."

Sky are reporting that Newcastle have rejected an offer from West Ham to buy Joey Barton.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

West Ham Transfer Rumours

Last week it was Wayne Bridge. This week The Star say West Ham are interested in loaning Shaun Wright-Phillips from Man City. The Star say Man City will let Wright-Phillips leave in January, however, like Bridge, his wages will prove a problem for many clubs.

The Sun claim that West Ham and Bolton are both chasing out-of-favour Real Madrid midfielder Sergio Canales. The 19 year old has played just 94 minutes in the league this season.

Elsewhere rumours persist that West Ham will try to offload Carlton Cole in January and may try to sign Villa's John Carew.

Monday, December 06, 2010

West Ham to Sell Parker?

The Daily Express claim that Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has made an improved £8 million bid for Scott Parker and that West Ham manager Avram Grant is now reluctantly prepared to sell in the January transfer window.

I'm sure I read somewhere over the weekend that Wayne Bridge had already turned down the option of a loan move to West Ham. However The Daily Mail are today reporting that Bridge "may join West Ham's relegation fight next month on loan.

The newspaper claims that Blackburn are also interested in the former England defender.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Sunderland 1 West Ham 0

Gabbidon, Parker and Dyer came in for Faubert, Kovac and Barrera. Despite wins in the last couple of games the first half here was back to normal service for West Ham, with the team sitting back and allowing Sunderland to dominate the game.

Sunderland had by far the most possession in the first half and when West Ham did manage to get the ball forward Cole was unable to retain possession. Despite their dominance however Sunderland weren't making too many chances. They managed a couple of long range shots on goal from Cattermole and Bent but both shots were straight at Green.

Then in the 34th minute Gyan got clear on the right wing and crossed to Henderson in the area who fired the home side into the lead from 10 yards. A couple of minutes after the goal Gyan came close to getting the second after he beat Green from 20 yards, only to see his shot clip the crossbar.

West Ham's best opportunity in the half came after Spector picked the ball up in midfield, span on the ball beating two players in the process and then drove into the area before shooting just wide of the left hand post.

West Ham showed more attacking intent in the second half without ever really looking like they would get the equaliser. In the 49th minute Obinna crossed from the left wing to Cole on the edge of the box. Cole did well to turn his man and just fired his shot wide of the right hand post.

Sunderland probably had the better chances to score in the second half. In the 66th minute Gyan forced a save from Green with an effort from the edge of the area. In the 85th minute Green spilled the ball in the area and Wellbeck would have scored except for some quick work from Tomkins to deflect his shot wide.

In the 79th minute Obinna shot just wide of the left hand post from the edge of the area. In the 82nd minute Obinna crossed from the left and Parker ran to the near post and managed to stick out his leg but he could only deflect the ball well wide.

So back to normal for West Ham after a couple of wins on the bounce. Hopefully Grant will have at least learnt from this game that Cole needs more support up front and Obinna is far more effective playing from the left.

Cole Not for Sale

Avram Grant has revealed that West Ham turned down a 'substantial' offer from Liverpool in the summer for Carlton Cole and a similar offer for Scott Parker made by Sp#rs.

The newspapers yesterday reported that Grant's claim that he doesn't want to sell Cole revealed he was scared that Cole would be sold. So Grant has responded by saying the club have already turned down substantial offers for the striker.

"We kept our nerve. This club is £110 million in debt and everyone knows we are desperate for money.

"It wasn’t because we could not find a replacement for Carlton – but it showed what we think of him. Scotty too. We all want the best for West Ham. They showed it once. I am confident they will do it again."

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Situation Vacant - Foward Coaches Wanted

Avram Grant says he doesn't want to sell Carlton Cole,

"We want him to be here but you never know what will happen in football. We want to keep this squad. I don't like the January transfer window because it's not easy to bring players in and we don't want to lose players. We want to keep the same squad for all the season."

Of course most of the newspapers are reacting to that statment by suggesting that Grant is worried that Cole will be sold.

Grant has also revealed that West Ham are now on the lookout for a coach for the forwards,

"We are looking for an attacking coach. With Wally, I had a few weeks to interview people. Someone suggested Wally and I saw he was the good solution. He's done a good job.

"We are looking for forward coaches but they're not easy to find. We don't want to rush. We need to find the right person for each position."

Friday, December 03, 2010

Safety First at West Ham

The Daily Mail is the latest newspaper to hail Wally Downes as the saviour of West Ham. Downes told The Mail that the West Ham defence has to have a safety first policy

'If the ball is there, you have to get rid of it,' said Downes.

'There's no value to overcomplicating things in your own final third. I like to play football in the opposition's half. That's where the damage is caused, so the more you can keep it away from your goalkeeper the better.

'The lads have all pulled together and wanted to get that Liverpool result out of their systems. They have responded to everything we have said to them since and when you put your all in in training and in the games, you get results.

'There is a determination within them to show they can play football. They let one another down and let the fans down at Liverpool and have gone about the last two games to show that they are passionate about what they are doing.

'You could see the confidence in the dressing room after Tuesday's performance. Saturday was a win-at-all-costs game and it didn't matter how we played as long as we got the win.

'We have got to keep going right the way through to May. Every time they pull the shirt on and every time they cross the line, they have got to be up for it.'

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Downes Gets the Credit

The fact that West Ham have won both games since the arrival of Wally Downes has led many to praise his immediate impact on the team. The Mirror have been talking to Downes about what he has changed at West Ham,

"Initially, Avram asked me to have a look at a few of the goals that have gone in recently and where it could have been different.

"Basically, it is easier to tighten up a defence than it is to instil attacking philosophies into the players. You can make a short, sharp difference with some structural stuff with defenders - give them a bit of attitude and aggression.

"I went up to Liverpool and although it was a bad performance, it in no way reflected the way the team has been playing.

"The amount of games where the team has been in front and could have won, there is obviously a disappointment that builds up and that culminated in the Liverpool performance, but that has come and gone now.

"It was a great time to wipe the slate clean - it's about aggression and a will to win, it's about the players and making sure they are on the front foot."

Spector to Get New Contract

ESPN say West Ham are ready to offer Spector a new contract. They claim the American was likely to be sold in January but after his performance against Manchester United he will now be given a new contract. They say a 'West Ham insider' said, when asked if he will be sold,

"Not now he's not. Maybe he's been in the wrong position all his life at full back."

Spector has also praised the influence of Wally Downes and in the process revealed that he has been training in midfield lately.

"I've actually been playing in midfield since he's been here so I haven't been a beneficiary of everything he's been doing, but all the players who have been playing in defence seem to like him and are responding to him."

The fact that Spector now seems to be training as a midfield player suggests that Grant may view his future at West Ham not as a defender but as cover in the middle of the park.

Birmingham in the Semi-Final

West Ham have drawn Birmingham in the semi-final of the Carling Cup. I was kind of hoping for Ipswich, I always look forward to a game against the Tractor Boys, but a semi-final against Birmingham looks winnable.

The first leg is at the Boleyn Ground in the week commencing 10 January 2011, with the second leg at St Andrew's following in the week commencing 24 January 2011. It's a shame it isn't the other way around. Having the home leg last I think gives a little advantage, but I have a feeling this could be the year that West Ham win the League Cup for the first time.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Avram's Championship Side

David Gold has defended Avram Grant's record at West Ham. In an interview with Sky Sports Gold clearly thinks that Grant should be given time to build his own team,

"It has to be remembered that, basically, Avram did inherit a Championship side because with the 35 points that we got last season that would normally get you relegated.

"Nine out of 10 times, 35 points would get you relegated. So in actual fact he inherited a Championship side.

"So it has been difficult for him. He is building, he is re-gilding and slowly you can see, with six players brought into the team last night (against Manchester United), the strength of the squad and things are starting to come together."

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