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Alan 12:58 Fri Nov 3
Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Real Madrid will make Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino their number one target to replace Zinedine Zidane. (Daily Mail)

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has already decided to sack manager Antonio Conte. (Marca)

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is open to letting left-back Luke Shaw, 22, leave in January, with the pair not on speaking terms. (Sun)

Shaw is keen on a return to former club Southampton, with the south-coast club considering selling defender Ryan Bertrand, 28, to Manchester City. (Daily Mirror)

Watford striker Stefano Okaka, 28, has been given no explanation as to why he has been left out of the team for the past two months. (Watford Observer)

Manchester City playmaker Kevin de Bruyne, 26, wants to commit his long-term future to the club. (Sky Sports)

City striker Sergio Aguero's future is less clear, with the 29-year-old Argentina striker saying he "does not know" when his contract expires. (Goal)

Aguero believes Manchester City's current squad is the best he has played with since moving to Etihad Stadium. (Times - subscription required)

Arsenal face competition from Newcastle for 23-year-old Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almiron. (Calciomercato, via Daily Mirror)

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, 32, insists he is not pressuring the club's board into giving him an improved contract. (Goal)

Wolfsburg are considering making a bid to permanently sign 22-year-old Belgium striker Divock Origi, who is on loan from Liverpool. (ESPN)

Liverpool look set to lose Germany midfielder Emre Can, 23, as contract talks have stalled and his current deal runs out at the end of the season. (Daily Mirror)

Valencia's 20-year-old on-loan winger Goncalo Guedes is unsure whether he has a future at parent club Paris St-Germain. (ESPN)

Arsenal are set to bid for Napoli star Jorginho. The 25-year-old midfielder is, however, unlikely to leave the Serie A club in January. (Transfer Market Web, via Daily Star)

The Gunners are also ready to bid for unhappy Chelsea winger Charly Musonda, 21. (Foot Mercato, via Daily Mail)

Harry Redknapp has hinted he could be interested in the vacant Sunderland job. (Talksport)

Schalke's 22-year-old midfielder Leon Goretzka has decided to let his contract expire and join Barcelona at the end of this season. (Mundo Deportivo - in Spanish)

Fulham data specialist Craig Kline called police to the club's training ground on Monday afternoon after being sacked. (London Evening Standard)

RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick says incoming Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, 22, is one of the best players he has worked with. (Independent)

Red Star Belgrade striker Richmond Boakye is interested in joining Chelsea in January. The Premier League club have scouted the 24-year-old. (London Evening Standard)

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois says midfielder Nemanja Matic, 29, was so determined to join Manchester United in the summer that it would have been too difficult for the London club to keep him. (Independent)


Doctors considered whether to amputate Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla's foot after the 32-year-old contracted gangrene. (Marca, via Daily Express)

Cristiano Ronaldo, 32, has expressed his frustration over Real Madrid's form to former team-mate Pepe via text message. (Diario Gol, via Daily Star)

Stoke City feel aggrieved they face an FA charge of failing to control their players at Watford last weekend. (Stoke Sentinel)

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, 30, is a doubt for Tottenham's derby against Arsenal at Wembley on 18 November because of an abductor muscle injury he sustained in the 3-1 Champions League win over Real Madrid on Wednesday. (Guardian)

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen was twice thrown off his horse as he stepped up preparations for his racing debut by riding out at Newmarket's British Racing School. (Daily Telegraph)

Sergio Aguero has revealed his son sent him a text asking for his match-worn shirt if he broke Manchester City's goalscoring record against Napoli on Wednesday. (Manchester Evening News)

The best of Thursday's gossip

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte retains the support of the board despite Tuesday's Champions League defeat at Roma. (Mirror)

Everton are ready to pay the £2.5m release clause in Burnley manager Sean Dyche's contract. (Sun)

Nuno Espirito Santo is considering an offer to take over at Everton following the sacking of Ronald Koeman, but is inclined to stay at Wolverhampton Wanderers. (Guardian)

Former Rangers manager Ally McCoist is a contender to take charge of Sunderland following the sacking of Simon Grayson. (Daily Star)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Simon Burnton

Concentrate now, as the following paragraph will feature entirely contradictory stories concerning the future of Manchester United outcast Luke Shaw, and you’ll have to make your own mind up about who to believe. The Mirror scotches the long-rumoured January swaperama involving Shaw and Tottenham’s Danny Rose, because United might exchange Shaw for Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand instead. They are, essentially, working their way through Premier League clubs trying to successfully negotiate a left-back trade. Or perhaps not, as the Sun exclusively reveals that Manchester City want to buy Bertrand in January – “Bertrand is a player City have ran the rule over before,” says “a source”, “but his transfer fee could be an issue, it all depends on what they ask for” – and that United will indeed let Shaw leave them in January, but only on loan. He is, they say, “wanted by a number of Premier League sides” as well as “others across Europe”. One person United are not planning to let go, though, is Marouane Fellaini, to whom they will offer a shiny new two-year contract, which is one year longer than the deals they normally give to 30-somethings – a category the Belgian will join in a couple of weeks – but then, Fellaini isn’t going to be a normal 30-something. He’s going to be a very tall, sharp elbowed 30-something.

Real Madrid may have come away from this week’s visit to Tottenham with nothing but an unfamiliar feeling of inferiority, but they are hoping that they return from their next visit with considerably more – namely the manager and the two best players.

This is according to the Mail, whose back page is devoted to the story. “Mauricio Pochettino is Real’s No1 target to replace Zinedine Zidane if the French manager cannot turn around his side’s season,” they trumpet. “Harry Kane and Dele Alli are also on a list of summer targets as Madrid look to freshen up the squad.” The players may be more inclined to stay at Spurs right now, given the £2m bonus the squad has just been awarded as a result of their qualification for the Champions League knock-out round, which is exclusively revealed in the Times. They go on to say that if Tottenham win Europe’s premier pot, the players involved would divvy up a total of £7.5m for their troubles.

Emre Can’s Liverpool future is up in the air because he’s down in the dumps about the new contract he has been offered. Can’s agents are demanding a salary in the region of £160,000 a week, says the Mirror, while the club want to go no higher than £75,000 a week, leaving a massive £85,000-wide chasm in which a giant ticking clock quietly tocks. And ticks. Can’s current deal ends next summer, at which point the 23-year-old can swan out of Anfield and into the arms of long-term suitors Juventus for absolutely nothing.

Chelsea face losing another promising youth-system graduate, after Charly Musonda told them he wants to go somewhere else in January. So far this season the attacking midfielder, who turns 22 in a couple of weeks, has spent 514 Premier League minutes on the bench, 360 Premier League minutes out of the squad entirely, and just 26 feeble little Premier League minutes on the pitch, a tally which has apparently left him quite disgruntled. According to the Mirror his agents have sounded out and been knocked back by Arsenal, who “believe they have got enough emerging quality”, but continue to cast around for the Belgian’s next, and more youth-friendly, employer.


Bilic: Michail Antonio, confidence & ‘electric football’

Slaven Bilic spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon ahead of this weekend’s Premier League clash with Liverpool.

The manager offered insight on his team, his game plan against Liverpool, and which youngsters have impressed him this campaign…

‘How West Ham can counter Liverpool’s electric football’

This weekend’s opponents Liverpool have developed a reputation for playing attractive and fluid football. It’s a style that has long been associated with their manager, Jurgen Klopp, which Bilic described as ‘electric football’.

Speaking on Saturday’s opposition Bilic said: “They are not happy with their position, or the press is not happy with their position. They are a very good team who plays offensive football, which leaves them a little bit open at the back.

“Some teams like Spurs grabbed that chance and we analysed them. It’s not only Spurs that exploited that. When we play them we have to be very solid. They are creating chances and using spaces. If you’re open they are destroying you. They have that pace and that quality up front and on the flanks.

“That’s the way he [Klopp] plays. That is what makes him such a big name in football. He was like that in Dortmund and he’s like that in Liverpool. It’s very electric football.”

The West Ham manager expanded on his belief that Liverpool can be a bit open defensively and admitted this was an area his side would look to exploit.

“Of course, if you have a good transition and players in the right position you can hurt them. You have to be solid. They are a very offensive team and by knowing that, it’s hard to defend for 90 minutes. But when you know they are quite vulnerable that makes your willingness to defend better.

“Every time you have the ball for a quick transition you know you have a chance if you take the ball out from them at the right time and in the right places where you can hurt them. That’s our game plan. Some other clubs have also shown it.”

‘It was the wrong decision, but not the only wrong decision’

Last weekend’s late equaliser conceded against Crystal Palace has been a talking point for the last few days in the footballing world, particularly the nature of the goal.

Bilic has revealed that Michail Antonio, who will miss this weekend’s match due to a muscle injury, has taken responsibility for Crystal Palace’s second finish but has refused to pin the goal on the winger.

Instead the Croatian insists that conceding so late is down to the team on a whole.

Bilic said: “I know there were people, when they were analysing that goal, that blamed Antonio. And of course, Antonio had everything in his hands and he knew, and I spoke to him a few times, and he took the blame for the goal.

“The irony is in the last ten minutes of that game he was keeping the ball in the corner, because they were pressuring us. Antonio was the one – that was why we put him on the pitch – he was the one giving us a breather far from our goal. He was doing that in the last ten minutes.

“In the moment we really needed it he unfortunately took a wrong decision. He took the blame but I said after the game and to the players that it wasn’t only Antonio. It was three or four players. They were, if we want to say it in a nice way, they were too optimistic. They were thinking I am in a positon to score a third one but we didn’t need a third goal.

“The game was over. What I’m saying is Antonio took a bad decision to cross the ball but he wouldn’t cross the ball if we didn’t have three or four players in the box. They shouldn’t be there. We have to be in our positon, if Antonio makes a mistake, to stop them having a chance to attack us.”

‘I remain confident’

The manager was questioned about how important a positive result is against Liverpool, and if he had spoken to the Co-Chairmen after the draw against Crystal Palace.

“I know the situation and I spoke to the chairman after the game, as I speak to him after every game. He doesn’t have to tell me what we are in or I am in. It means we need something from our next game.

“Of course [I need something from the game]. Of course, I do. We are in a position we didn’t want to be in. If we are talking about my position it’s been there for quite a time now. Every win, in the Cup but especially in the league, will take me and us out of this position and closer to comfortable position. Every bad result puts me or the team in a worse position.

“I don’t divide my position and the team position. We are all in the same boat and my job is to look after the team and prepare them for Liverpool. Thinking about a very important game, not about my position.”

Bilic insists that he still believes in his own ability as a manager and a coach.

He added: “I remain confident otherwise I wouldn’t be here in this position. I would say ‘look guys, West Ham is more important than any individual, me first’. But I remain confident.

“I know the schedule and I know the bigger picture. But no matter what I was only concentrating on the next game, and that has nothing to do with my position. It’s difficult but it doesn’t make it more difficult to prepare for the game. You are preparing for the game without thinking about something else. That doesn’t change.”

‘The best way to put the young players in is in very comfortable situations’

Bilic was also questioned about the good form the PL2 side are currently enjoying. Terry Westley’s team have taken ten points from their last four games in all competitions.

The team boasts talents such as Nathan Holland, Toni Martinez and Sead Haksabanovic – players who Bilic admits he has been impressed by and enjoys working with.

The manager explained however that it is down to the current first team players to move the team up the table rather than relying on the youngsters to do it for them.

“People like Toni Martinez and Martin Samuelsen – they were with us in the last pre-season. They are doing well. I like young players. Declan Rice is becoming a very important player for West Ham.

“The Toni Martinez situation, I know he is scoring goals for West Ham and I know him very well. But at the moment we have a few strikers in good form. You asked me in this press-conference – you mentioned Andre Ayew is in good form, you mentioned Chicharito is in good form and you asked me if Andy Carroll is the ideal player to play against Liverpool.

“If we’re talking about people like Nathan Holland, who I like and who I rate – he came on against Bolton – he showed a big improvement when he was with us in Germany and in Austria. But in that department at the moment we have enough players.

“Sead Haksabanovic - he’s always showed himself. I spoke with him and his father today. He’s improving and he’s always there but at the moment, especially when the situation is not ideal – the best way to put the young players in is in very comfortable situations.

“At the moment, we have to stick with those experienced players who have to make it up and take us out of this situation. Then we have a great platform for the kids to play. It was always like that and it is the best way for them.”


Juve, West Ham and Arsenal alerted as €40m star wants summer exit

Juventus and Arsenal are long time admirers of Sporting Lisbon star William Carvalho who is contracted with the Portuguese club until June 2020.

The Premier League and the Serie A giants are not the only clubs to have been linked with a move for the 25-year-old who was also chased by West Ham in the summer.
The Portuguese club, however, refused to sell their star in the summer as they were only open to sell him for his € 40 million release clause.

According to Record, however, the player is not determined to join a bigger club at the end of the season and is going to push to leave Sporting for a lower transfer fee in the summer.

Sporting still don’t want to sell the player for a fee lower than € 40 million, a fee that, however, seems a pretty good value for money given that the Portuguese ace, a 2016 European Cup winner, is regarded as one of the most exciting midfielders in Europe at the moment.


Turfing West Ham out the London Stadium would cost billions

London Legacy Development Corporation CEO David Goldstone admitted yesterday it could cost billions to buy West Ham out of their 99-year-old contracts and he was not considering it as an option. He also rejected the idea of a fresh European state aid challenge should Newham council give up part ownership of the stadium and write off their £40m loan.

Answering a question from Andrew Boff at the London Assembly Plenary about the possibility of buying out West Ham from the ‘onerous contract’ Goldstone said: “That is not one of the things we are looking at because we have a 99 year agreement and the potential benefit of having Premier League football in the area is a big part of the benefits”

He added “I think it is important that we recognise the value of the stadium with West Ham which brings enormous value to the area”

Pushed by Member Boff on the estimate of buying West Ham out Goldstone said “Such an analysis of the direct financial cost to buy out a Premier League club who have committed for 99 years and the economic value that the stadium contributes to the wider regeneration could be in the billions! I don’t think that is an amount that the London Assembly would consider losing”

Boff also questioned Goldstone whether there was a fresh case for a complaint to the European Commission for state aid if the £40m from Newham was effectively a gift. Goldstone shook his head suggesting he didn’t think so but said that he couldn’t answer investment decisions on behalf of Newham council.

Claret and Hugh note: Considering West Ham are only tenants of the London Stadium from the outside it is difficult to understand on what basis a fresh claim of state aid could be made against the Hammers.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Texas Iron 6:35 Fri Nov 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)

There were several opportunities to stop Palace scoring their second.

after Antonio gave them possession
Look at the replay.

Mex Martillo 5:04 Fri Nov 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
I hate to admit, but when I saw those players I thought yes cross and we get a goal, but a cross that went straight to the goalie, nightmare...
Thanks Alan

Nagel 3:33 Fri Nov 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Lee Trundle 2:02 Fri Nov 3

What are you on about? He quite clearly says that Antonio wouldn't even have crossed it if not for the fact that 3 or 4 of our players were running into the box. Antonio made a mistake but they were out of position when they shouldn't have been and made the counter attack a lot easier.

He's spot on as well. I thought the same thing at the time.

Thanks Alan 2:40 Fri Nov 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
ted fenton 2:35 Fri Nov 3

ted fenton 2:35 Fri Nov 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
The Stoat 1:02 Fri Nov 3

Takashi Miike 2:04 Fri Nov 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Lee Trundle 2:02 Fri Nov 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
"Instead the Croatian insists that conceding so late is down to the team on a whole."

Bilic then goes on explaining in depth how it was Antonio's fault, again. haha

The Stoat 1:02 Fri Nov 3
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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