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Alan 11:12 Fri Dec 15
Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Manchester United have made an enquiry about 29-year-old Chelsea and Brazil midfielder Willian. (Daily Mail)

United boss Jose Mourinho is also ready to offload 28-year-old Armenia midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the summer and wants to sign Arsenal and Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil, 29, as his replacement. (Daily Mirror)

Chelsea could use Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi, 24, as part of a deal with Monaco for 22-year-old France winger Thomas Lemar, who is also a target for Liverpool and Arsenal.(Sun)

Bayern Munich and Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches, 20, may have his season-long loan deal at Swansea cut short and return to the German club in January. (Mais Futebol - in Portuguese)

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has reassured France forward Antoine Griezmann he will eventually be allowed to leave the La Liga club. (Daily Mail via L'Equipe)

Liverpool remain keen on signing Southampton's 26-year-old Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk in January. (Liverpool Echo)

However, Manchester City want to add a centre-back to their squad in January and may also move for Van Dijk, though the Premier League leaders are also interested in Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez, 26. (Goal)

City boss Pep Guardiola is also in the market for a left-back in January. (Manchester Evening News)

Everton boss Sam Allardyce will not argue if the club decide to offload Ross Barkley, 24, in January, with the England midfielder yet to sign a new contract. (Daily Mirror)

Barcelona are keen to sign Manchester United's versatile Netherlands defender Daley Blind, 27, on a free transfer when his contract runs out in the summer. (Marca - in Spanish)

Manchester United will battle Juventus for the signing of Monaco and Brazil midfielder Fabinho, 24. (Tuttosport, via Talksport)

Representatives from Turkish club Fenerbahce are flying to Liverpool in a bid to secure a loan deal for Serbia midfielder Marko Grujic, 21. (Takvim, via Talksport)

England midfielder Jack Wilshere, 25, has confirmed he is still waiting for a date from Arsenal for when his contract will be discussed. (Telegraph)

Aston Villa are keen on a January move for Burnley and Bermuda forward Nakhi Wells. (Birmingham Mail)


Paris St-Germain boss Unai Emery has been burgled, with thieves stealing two Neymar shirts as well as documents about PSG's transfer dealings. (Le Point - in French)

Even Jose Mourinho couldn't sort out Rangers' problems according to John Hartson, who believes the Glasgow club's board are a problem. (Daily Record)

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has warned mis-firing striker Christian Benteke he "cannot afford any passengers" as Palace bid to climb the table. (Daily Mail)

Tottenham must prove they are more than just the 'Harry Kane team' according to team-mate Harry Winks. (Daily Mail)

Coventry City owners Sisu have rejected a fourth takeover bid for the club worth a potential £20m. (Coventry Telegraph)

Everton tagged rapper Lil Wayne instead of Wayne Rooney in their full-time tweet following the 1-0 win at Newcastle. (BBC Sport)

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has showed off his latest haircut. (Twitter)

Jack 'Woolshire' and Hector 'Baa-llerin' were among a number of Arsenal players to don Christmas jumpers for charity. (Daily Mirror)

Everton are scouring the globe for a doctor capable of solving James McCarthy's persistent hamstring woes. (Daily Mirror)
Best of Thursday's gossip

Mesut Ozil, 29, would favour a move to Manchester United rather than Barcelona if he leaves Arsenal. (Daily Mail)

Ozil's agent has told Barcelona they must make a decision on whether or not to sign the Arsenal playmaker in the next fortnight. (Mundo Deportivo - in Spanish)

Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta says Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho, 25, would be an "important reinforcement" for the La Liga side should they move for him in January. (Goal)

David de Gea's agent Jorge Mendes is delaying the 27-year-old Manchester United goalkeeper's potential move to Real Madrid because another one of his clients, Cristiano Ronaldo, is unhappy with the European champions. (Diario Gol, via Daily Star)

Ronaldo is consulting his lawyers to try to lower his release clause and engineer his move away from Real Madrid. (El Chiringuito via Daily Express)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Simon Burnton

One day he will actually move clubs, and the name of Virgil van Dijk will not be repeated in the Mill for months or even years. Until that time, however, he is hanging around like the proverbial punchy pong, appearing once more on Friday morning on the back page of a national newspaper. This time it’s the Times, which reports that Pep Guardiola is currently stroking his chin and pondering which central defender Manchester City will launch an audacious megabucks bid for come January – Van Dijk or Real Sociedad’s Iñigo Martínez. The Spaniard, whose contract contains a release clause set at €32m (or about £28m), would be something of a comparative bargain, with Southampton continuing to value their Dutch defender at £70m (and with the two players being born within two months of each other in 1991 there’s little difference in age).

But there might be a familiar-sounding scrap for his services, with Arsenal “weighing up” a move, says the Times, while Liverpool are wondering whether to also try to sign him, or to move instead for the player whose surname is closer than any other’s to being an anagram of his in the shape of Stefan de Vrij, though they might have a fight on their hands there as well, with Corriere dello Sport saying Internazionale also want the Lazio man.

Talking of Inter and Liverpool, Inter will let João Cancelo return to Valencia and sign Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona instead – initially on loan – but only if the Spanish club sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool, which would free Liverpool to sign Thomas Lemar from Monaco, though if Coutinho doesn’t go to Catalonia and Barça move instead for their second-choice creative player in Mesut Özil, Deulofeu might not go to Italy and Cancelo might not go back to Spain, though Lemar might still go to England only not to Liverpool but to Arsenal. Is that clear? Meanwhile, Chelsea are ready to loan out Michy Batshuayi in January, potentially to Monaco, with the Sun speculating they might then further cloud matters by also moving for Lemar, which would make sense because “Antonio Conte loves versatile raiders”.

Talking of Özil, as we were quite recently, Henrik Mkhitaryan is to be sold by Manchester United to fund their pursuit of the indolent ace, with club suits insisting that José Mourinho “trim his squad before he can bring in a player on the sort of mega-contract the German will command”. Recently the Armenian forward has not so much slipped out of favour as taken a long-haul flight away from favour, after which favour has changed the locks, taken out a restraining order against him and just to be on the safe side asked Interpol for its assistance in keeping him out of the country. Nevertheless, the Mirror reports, United “would be confident of getting their money back” on a player they bought for £30m in 2016.

Come the new year Chelsea will be “keen to strengthen at wing-back and open to adding another centre-back and striker”, according to the Mail, but there’s also the possibility of outgoings. United, they report, are looking beyond Özil for midfielderly creativity, having asked Chelsea if they’d mind selling them Willian. The Brazilian has started only eight league games this season, though he has made an appearance as a substitute in the other nine, but the Blues are far from keen on improving a rival’s squad in January, “unless they receive an extraordinary offer”. Presumably by this they mean an offer of an extraordinarily large sum of money, rather than an offer of three ostrich eggs, a harp, a collection of Ted Hughes poetry and a live performance from popular music combo T’Pau, though it may be worth testing the water, you never know.


Borussia Monchengladbach want to keep West Ham's Reece Oxford

Stephan Uersfeld

Borussia Monchengladbach are keen on a permanent deal for West Ham defender Reece Oxford, who made his first start for the Bundesliga club in this week's 1-0 defeat at Freiburg.

Oxford, 19 this Saturday, made only his second appearance for Gladbach on Tuesday, but sporting director Max Eberl said on Thursday that he has developed well since arriving on a season-long loan in the summer.

Having joined the Bundesliga side as a possible successor for Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen, Oxford previously made just one brief appearance as a last-minute substitute in a 3-1 win against Hoffenheim in late October.

But following his first full 90 minutes for Gladbach on Tuesday, Eberl has now said that they held "exploratory talks" with West Ham over a permanent deal for the defender.

"Reece has made a real development, even though he only now played one full match," Eberl told reporters on Thursday. "He's done a solid job in a difficult situation."

When Oxford failed to break into the Gladbach squad earlier this season, a source told ESPN FC that West Ham considered recalling the defender early this winter, but Eberl said that this idea now is off the table.

"We want to at least keep him until the end of the season because West Ham could recall him after he failed to make the required appearances," Eberl said. "On top of that we have asked if it's possible to sign him on a permanent transfer, but that's early stages -- we are in exploratory talks."

Sport Witness

“With Bilic I saw everything very dark” – West Ham player on problems with manager

Adrian hasn’t exactly been keeping his head down recently, clearly thrilled to be, as he sees it, West Ham’s rightful first choice goalkeeper returned to his throne.

There’s been chats with the Spanish media about the situation, and Adrian has said quite a lot to Marca. As well as claiming West Ham turned down approaches from Newcastle United and Crystal Palace during the summer, Adrian opened up about his situation.

Getting an opportunity recently against Manchester City, with Joe Hart unavailable due to loan rules, Adrian explained: “I knew it was my opportunity. I prepared physically and mentally for weeks for that game. I wanted to vindicate myself, to demonstrate that I am still at a great level.”

Adrian’s performance against Manchester City is being talked up to be the stuff of legend, encouraged by the man himself, and Marca say the goalkeeper was ‘extraordinary’ during the match.

On replacing Hart, the West Ham player explained he’s been up against it: “It’s an added pressure, he’s not just any teammate. He’s the England goalkeeper and his substitution has generated a lot of impact, which forces me to be even more focused.”

Things are brighter now under David Moyes, given it was Bilic who signed Hart and made
him first choice: “With Bilic I saw everything very dark. He told me that Joe was going to be his number one and in the first three months, without playing in the league, I had a very bad time, I became frustrated.”

Given what Adrian clearly believes is an unfair preference for Hart, the goalkeeper has praised Moyes for being brave enough to stick with him: “The coach showed a lot of personality by giving me ownership.”

Adrian, who again reiterated his desire to be in the Spain squad, is going to be very upset if he finds himself back on the bench.

Sport Witness

Arsenal working to ‘reserve’ player, €40m deal, Wenger pushing ‘pre-agreement’, talks already initiated

During the last summer transfer window, William Carvalho was so keen to move to the Premier League that he looked fondly on a switch to West Ham.

Despite spending years being linked with some of the biggest, and currently most successful, clubs in England, Carvalho was prepared to join the Hammers just to get his Premier League dream off the ground.

It didn’t happen, as a fee couldn’t be agreed, and now according to A Bola, the midfielder could be set for a much bigger dream: Arsenal.

The Portuguese newspaper state that talks have already been initiated by Arsenal, who wish to ‘reserve’ the player ahead of the World Cup. The club are looking for some kind of ‘pre-agreement’, which would see them secure Carvalho.

It’s Arsene Wenger said to be pushing the potential transfer, and the Arsenal manager has apparently already made it known he’s keen on the transfer happening.

Arsenal are aware they’ll need to agree a €40m transfer fee to secure Carvalho, say A Bola, because that’s what it’s claimed a Chinese club are prepared to offer.

Tianjin Quanjian would be happy to pay €40m and a huge salary to the player, but aren’t anywhere near as attractive as Arsenal on a football level.

Carvalho, an admitted admirer of Arsenal, needs to push his agent to get the Emirates move sorted, even if there’s just an ounce of truth in the latest claims.

The Portuguese press have been running Carvalho rumours for years, and the player really deserves a good move, better than West Ham and better than China.


London Stadium owners criticise under performing operator

Stadium owners E20 have dammed the French operator London Stadium 185 (LS185) which it awarded a 25-year contract to manage the former Olympic Stadium.

In a London Assembly committee, earlier this week Assembly member Jennette Arnold told the meeting

“The E20 board in their minutes are damming about LS185 saying they have yet to prove itself as a commercially astute orginsation capable of indentifying and exploiting income and generating oppotunties despite promising substantial income in its bid document. In it’s orginal bid it said it would deliver £5m net revenue.

Why is the LLDC persisting with a stadium operator that is clearly unable to meet its committment?.”

Acting London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) CEO Gerry Murphy replied: “It is fair to say that LS 185 have not delivered the net commercial revenues they set out in their bid. E20 board are disappointed in their commerical performance. The financial performance has not delivered”

LS185 are a subsidiary of French company Vinci who were awarded a 25-year contract to manage the stadium on behalf of owners E20 which is now wholly owned by the LLDC which in turn is controlled by the London Mayor.

The stadium operator receives a fixed fee of £5.8m plus West Ham’s annual rent of £2.5m and is able to bill E20 for any additional costs with a 5% management fee. It is LS185 who appointed American company Delaware North to run the catering and stadium tours and they also take a share of the profits that catering, tours and any stadium events generate.

A source close to the French operator told Claret and Hugh “The challenge of the cost and time to move the seats has limited the commerical oppotunities available to the operator to hire out the stadium during the football season which has hampered commercial performance”

They also pointed out that “the operator was not reponsible for the naming rights of the stadium”

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Fivetide 6:55 Fri Dec 15
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Mart O 1:52 Fri Dec 15
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Cheers, Alan.

Good to read something positive about young Oxford.

Crassus 12:24 Fri Dec 15
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan, as always

COOL HAND LUKE 12:20 Fri Dec 15
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Cheers, Al.

The Carvalho dream is not gonna happen, then.

If it ever was...

Thanks Alan 11:47 Fri Dec 15
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
ted fenton. 11:32 Fri Dec 15

ted fenton 11:32 Fri Dec 15
Re: Friday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

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