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Alan 11:37 Wed Dec 20
Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is planning a British record £90m move for 26-year-old Chelsea and Belgium playmaker Eden Hazard. (Sun)

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has suggested Manchester City should sign Liverpool forward Mo Salah. (Sky Sports via the Daily Express)

Everton boss Sam Allardyce wants to offer England forward Theo Walcott, 28, an escape route from Arsenal and tie up a deal for Sevilla's French midfielder Steven N'Zonzi, 29. (Daily Mirror)

Newcastle United have joined the race to sign Chelsea defender David Luiz in the January transfer window, but are only interested in a loan deal for the Brazilian, 30. (Shields Gazette)

Atletico Madrid are ready to sell France forward Antoine Griezmann, 26, to Manchester United after reporting Barcelona to Fifa over an alleged illegal approach from Barcelona. (Daily Mirror)

Leicester City are lining up a bid for Portugal and Benfica full-back Andre Almeida, 27. (Leicester Mercury)

Liverpool and Wales forward Ben Woodburn, 18, is to be allowed to go on loan in January in order to gain regular first-team football. (Daily Mail)

Brighton are considering a fresh bid for Spartak Moscow and Cape Verde striker Ze Luis, 26. (Sun)

Chinese club Chongqing Dangdai Lifan are not interested in signing Barcelona midfielder Andreas Iniesta as they believe he is not good enough to play in the Chinese Super League. (Marca via the Chongqing Morning Post)

Real Madrid are preparing to pay Athletic Bilbao and Spain goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga's 20m euro release clause in January and want to confirm the 23-year-old's signing in the first week of the new year. (AS)

Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano, 33, is close to completing a move to Chinese side Hebei Fortune. (Sport)

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce is interested in Burnley and Bermuda striker Nahki Wells, 27, and Leicester's Argentine forward Leonardo Ulloa, 31. (Birmingham Mail)

Stoke manager Mark Hughes retains the support of the club's board before Saturday's game against West Brom, despite the Potters being a point above the relegation zone. (Sky Sports)

Stoke chairman Peter Coates says there will be money to spend in the January transfer window, regardless of who is manager. (Stoke Sentinel)

Former midfielder Mikel Arteta is being lined up as a future Arsenal manager as the club continue to plan for life after Arsene Wenger. (Telegraph)

Liverpool's Welsh winger Harry Wilson, 20, has turned down a new deal at Anfield. (ESPN)

West Ham manager David Moyes is keen for the club to invest in midfield players in January after picking teenagers Declan Rice and Domingos Quina for the club's Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat at Arsenal. (the42.ie)


Manchester City remain on course for a quadruple after reaching the semi-finals of the League Cup but the club's manager Pep Guardiola says it can't be done. (Telegraph)

Manchester United fans could have to pay up to £133 for a ticket for the Champions League away leg against Sevilla. (Manchester Evening News)

Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich have released new fourth kits, but only on computer game Fifa 18. (Daily Mail)

Major League Soccer is to unveil its new expansion franchise in Nashville on Wednesday. (NBC Sports)

Manchester City's official French Twitter account has trolled Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini, by claiming he's not a football player. (Metro)

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo is to build a paediatric hospital in Chile in 2020. (Four Four Two) but other reports say he has no plans to build a hospital. (efe)

The power cut which delayed Stoke City's match against West Ham by an hour had another bizarre consequence as dozens of spectators reported that their mobile phones died when the power was switched back on at the bet365 Stadium. (Stoke Sentinel)

Premier League footballers helped spread some festive cheer with their annual hospital visits. (BBC Sport)

Best of Tuesday's gossip

Manchester City are ready to join Arsenal and Chelsea in the pursuit of Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, 25. (Daily Mirror)

Arsenal are planning a move for Chelsea defender David Luiz, 30. (Daily Express)

The Gunners could offer £25m for Brazilian Luiz during the January transfer window. (Sun)

Real Madrid are in advanced negotiations with Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard, 26. Real midfielder Marco Asensio, 21, has told the club he will leave if Hazard joins. (Diario Gol, via Daily Star)

Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann, 26, could be set to join Barcelona. (BBC Radio 5 live)

Manchester United want more than £35m for 28-year-old midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan. (Daily Mail)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Ed Aarons

Let The Mill take you on a journey back in time. It’s August, 2015. David Cameron has yet to announce the Brexit referendum that will definitely be a good idea. Donald Trump’s hopes of becoming the next president of the United States are rated as likely as Leicester winning the Premier League title. And José Mourinho is the undisputed king of English football. Oh, what memories.

But then it all went wrong, didn’t it? Cameron retired to his shed, Trump took over the world and Mourinho lost his rag with the club doctor, moved to a hotel in Manchester and now spends his time in the shadow of some bald bloke from Barcelona. There’s no need to panic, though, because good old José has a cunning plan.

“Remember that lad Eden you had at Chelsea?” someone may have said to him as he sat through Manchester City’s latest evisceration of one of their title “rivals” on Saturday. “He was quite good.” And that was that. According to the Sun, Mourinho is now planning a new British record £90m move for Chelsea star Eden Hazard because he sees him as “the missing piece in his Old Trafford jigsaw” and believes he can beat Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain to the brilliant Belgian playmaker. Boom!

There may be one snag, however, as the article notes with caution in the 13th paragraph. “And, while he is understood to be one of the players Mourinho had a strained relationship with when he was axed months after lifting that title, the Special One is ready to raid his old club.” That’s right – if you remember, this is the guy who went from being the best in the league to being an unused substitute in Mourinho’s last game in charge of Chelsea.

Yet, as The Mill has said before many times, stranger things have happened. Hazard, it seems, has already rejected Chelsea’s offer of a new contract worth £300,000 a week and is interested in leaving Stamford Bridge. All José needs to do now is say sorry and they can all be friends, just like he did with Romelu Lukaku. What could go wrong?

Just in case it does, the Mirror reports Atlético Madrid are dangling a carrot that looks like Antoine Griezmann in Manchester United’s direction in the hope of keeping him out of the clutches of naughty Barcelona, who they have reported to Fifa for an illegal approach to the Frenchman’s entourage. Liverpool fans may be wondering why their club didn’t take the same approach during the Philippe Coutinho saga in the summer, even if the Brazilian could now be destined to stay at Anfield for the foreseeable should Griezmann end up joining Barça.

Talking of Liverpool, Jürgen Klopp is prepared to allow teenage sensation Ben Woodburn to go out on loan next month, with his most likely destination being the Championship. Good luck to him. It also looks like being a busy month across Stanley Park as Sam Allardyce gets himself warm in the Everton hotseat with Theo Walcott and Steven N’Zonzi on his Christmas list. N’Zonzi, of course, used to play for Stoke and they could do with some decent players. But we’re told Mark Hughes will have some cash to burn in the January sales and retains the full support of his board. Stephen Ireland is already on board having been offered a new contract despite not having played in the Premier League since May 2016. Who’s next

Having scored only 14 goals so far, Brighton are weighing up a new bid for Cape Verde striker Zé Luís from Spartak Moscow and also have their eye on Celtic’s Moussa Dembélé. And not content with his firepower as Aston Villa attempt to return to the big time, Steve Bruce wants Premier League outcasts Nahki Wells of Burnley or Leicester’s Leonardo Ulloa.


Arsenal ease past West Ham but Olivier Giroud suffers hamstring injury

David Hytner at the Emirates Stadium

It was an evening when Arsène Wenger was left with a particular regret. Olivier Giroud pulled up in the 76th minute and when the Arsenal striker shot his hand back to the hamstring on his right leg, it did not look good. Wenger suggested the forward would be out for three weeks – in other words, the whole of the congested festive programme.

It was an occasion when Arsenal got the job done. It was not pretty and the headline statistic showed there had been only one shot on target throughout the game. It was a scruffy effort from Danny Welbeck – entirely in keeping with the overall tone – but it made the difference.

David Moyes said that “you certainly wouldn’t call it an Arsenal goal” but nobody in red was complaining, least of all Welbeck. The West Ham United manager bemoaned the space that Mathieu Debuchy was allowed to find in the inside-right channel and when he headed Francis Coquelin’s chipped ball across into the danger zone, Welbeck leapt between Winston Reid and James Collins.

Moyes could not understand why neither of his defenders was able to clear, and the ball broke kindly for Welbeck. From close range and without making a clean contact he bundled it past Joe Hart.

Arsenal have bigger fish to fry and the evidence was provided by Wenger’s decision to give the night off to every member of his starting line-up from Saturday’s Premier League win over Newcastle United. The visit of Liverpool on Friday evening looms large.

But after the first whistle had gone on this Carabao Cup quarter-final Wenger wanted to progress just as much as his second-stringers needed to impress. He got his wish. It was hardly a vintage performance against a West Ham team who offered frustratingly little as an attacking force. But it was enough.

Wenger has never won the League Cup in any of its guises but if he is to reach the final he will have to navigate a punishing schedule. When the two legs of the semi-final are factored in Arsenal face nine matches over the next 35 days. It is a period, as Wenger pointed out, when he cannot afford to lose players.

Coquelin was also forced off before the end but the manager reported he had suffered only cramp to a hamstring and he should be available for Liverpool. Giroud was the concern. “A hamstring is normally 21 days,” Wenger said. “It looks like he is out for Christmas. We will normally do a scan 48 hours after [the injury] and then we will have an idea of the grade.

“When you hear him the pain is quite big, but the grade is not always linked with the pain.”

West Ham had arrived with confidence, after taking seven points from an available nine in the league, but there was no single moment when they stretched their hosts. As such, it did not seem as if they departed with any regrets.

Asked to chase the game in the second half, the sum total of their efforts was a 64th-minute free-kick from Aaron Cresswell that curled well wide. The 7,000 travelling supporters celebrated having had a shot. West Ham did not have too much of the ball and when they did, they took poor care of it. That disappointed Moyes but not as much as the concession. “It was a horrible goal to give away,” he added.

Arsenal pressed on to the front foot but there was zero excitement until the 39th minute, when Sead Kolasinac made inroads up the left. He crossed and when Collins and Angelo Ogbonna followed Giroud to the near post, Theo Walcott was left unmarked in front of the penalty spot.

The home fans howled when he directed his diving header wide of a post. It was a long way from being Walcott’s night.

It is plain Moyes does not have the same resources as Wenger and he retained five of the starting XI that had won at Stoke City last Saturday. It was also easy to see this Saturday’s home game against Newcastle is his priority.

Moyes made his move with the double introduction of Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho. The plan B was simple: hit Carroll with the high ball. It did not work. Hart was booked after he mistimed a challenge on Welbeck in the 71st minute just outside the area, and West Ham never threatened the equaliser.


Diafra Sakho forced to take his place on the bench for Carabao Cup quarter-final after row with David Moyes over £50,000 bonus

Diafra Sakho was on the bench for West Ham's Carabao Cup defeat at Arsenal
The striker was set to start but became embroiled in an argument with his boss
Sakho had an exchange with Moyes about his lack of appearances in the league
It is understood he gains a reward of £50,000 for every Premier League start

Diafra Sakho came off the bench for West Ham in their Carabao Cup quarter-final at Arsenal after challenging manager David Moyes about his place in the team and his £50,000 bonus.

Sakho had expected to start at the Emirates Stadium until a conversation with Moyes about why the new manager had not been picking him to start in the Premier League team.

Afterwards, the 27-year-old striker said he no longer wanted to play and wanted to go home but was persuaded to stay and take his place among the substitutes.

Sakho has appeared 14 times as a substitute in the league this season — and scored twice including the third in a 3-0 win at Stoke on Saturday — but has yet to make a start and believes that is down to a lucrative bonus clause in a new contract signed in the summer.

The new deal, signed after a £15m transfer to WBA collapsed after a medical, is understood to reward him with a £50,000 bonus whenever he starts in the Premier League — a bonus which more than doubles his basic weekly pay.

An appearance from the bench is worth half the figure. The bonus does not cover the cup competitions and Sakho's only two starts this season have been in the League Cup.

The Senegal international wants to leave in January with Cardiff among those interested but the Championship promotion chasers are put off by West Ham's £15m valuation.

Sakho, a bargain £3.5m signing from Metz in 2014, was close to joining West Brom until his medical detected a back problem which they thought might rule him out of the start of the season but he was fit to play as a sub for West Ham at Manchester United on the opening day of the season.

West Ham have denied that Sakho has been left out of the starting line-up this season due to the bonus in his contract.


Sakho “bust-up” – the truth!

Confirmation the alleged bust-up involving Diafra Sakho and David Moyes has been fabricated has been received by ClaretandHugh.

There remains no question that the player wants out in January but the stories surrounding his alleged problems with David Moyes yesterday remain fiction!

After asking more questions we have discovered that there’s agent activity going on here as there was when the striker rushed off for an ill fated medical at Rennes in the summer.

The Daily Mail wrongly suggested “the striker said he no longer wanted to play and wanted to go home but was persuaded to stay and take his place among the substitutes”

A club insider has told ClaretandHugh emphatically declared the 27-year-old knew 24 hours in advance he would not be e on the bench as the striker knows he is still not fully match fit.

The source says also added that the quoted £50,000 per game apparance money clause in Sakho’s contract as part of a new deal has also been widely exaggerated.

As revealed in October by Claret and Hugh, Sakho is on a basic wage of £33,000 a week with appearance bonuses of £30,000 for a start and £15,000 should he find himself on the bench.

Sakho came on as a 65th-minute substitute last night and he has a very good chance starting up front on Saturday as the Hammers face Newcastle.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mart O 6:19 Wed Dec 20
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan.

Can't find much to argue with here: "Manchester City's official French Twitter account has trolled Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini, by claiming he's not a football player. (Metro)"

BubblesCyprus 4:33 Wed Dec 20
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan much appreciated.

ted fenton 12:10 Wed Dec 20
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 11:40 Wed Dec 20

Thanks Alan 11:40 Wed Dec 20
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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