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Alan 11:41 Thu Feb 1
Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Arsenal failed with a late £12m bid for Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans, with West Brom also resisting interest from Manchester City and Everton for the 30-year-old. (Express and Star)

Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 36, has agreed a deal to join LA Galaxy from Manchester United and will travel to America for the start of the MLS season in March. (L'Equipe via Star)

Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez, 26, is "depressed" that a proposed move to Manchester City was stopped by his club, says a friend of the Algeria winger. (Sky Sports)

The Foxes forward went AWOL before his club's Premier League game with Everton on Wednesday night. (Mirror)

And the 2015-16 PFA Player of the Year will hold talks with Leicester manager Claude Puel later this week about his reintegration into the Foxes' squad. (Telegraph)

Crystal Palace made an offer worth up to £16m for French defender Ibrahim Amadou, but Lille refused to sell the 24-year-old. (Sky Sports)

The Lille captain arrived in London to try to finalise a move to the Eagles. (Croydon Advertiser)

Everton manager Sam Allardyce says the futures of five players in the squad that beat Leicester 2-1 at Goodison Park were in doubt on deadline day. (Liverpool Echo)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says he is "really happy to join Miki in the team" after being reunited with former Borussia Dortmund team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Arsenal, 18 months after they last played together. (Mail)

Roma ended their interest in Manchester United's Daley Blind after the Old Trafford club demanded the Italian club take the 27-year-old Netherlands defender on a permanent deal. (Express)

West Ham had a bid for Krasnodar striker Fyodor Smolov, 27, rejected after the player announced he wanted to stay in Russia. (Guardian)

Southampton will renew their bid to sign winger Quincy Promes, 26, from Spartak Moscow in the summer, after a £25m deadline day deal broke down. (Mail)

Charlton manager Karl Robinson has admitted he was ready to sell centre-back Ezri Konsa, 20, but none of the interested clubs met their valuation of the Englishman. (South London Press & Mercury)

Barcelona are targeting a move for Bayern Munich's David Alaba, 25. The club's technical secretary Robert Fernandez is understood to have asked president Josep Maria Bartomeu to find the funds for the Austria left-back. (AS)

Best of Wednesday's gossip

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has held talks with owner Mike Ashley and remains "hopeful" of making a signing before the transfer window shuts. (Mirror)

But Benitez insists his position is unlikely to change even if late moves for targets such as Leicester's Algeria striker Islam Slimani, 29, and Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala fail. (Northern Echo)

Arsenal will allow French defender Mathieu Debuchy, 32, to join Saint-Etienne on a free transfer. (L'Equipe - in French)

West Ham have approached Lille over the signing of their captain Ibrahim Amadou. Crystal Palace have already made two bids for the 24-year-old French defender. (Sky Sports)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Paul Doyle

Claude Puel is widely expected to talk to Riyad Mahrez at training today and tell the disappointed Algeria international that he can go to Manchester City, after all – in 10 days’ time, when Leicester visit the league leaders! He’s always up for a laugh, is Claude.

It’s up to Puel to raise spirits around Leicester now, and we’re not talking about holding a seance, a ceremony for which Puel’s demeanour is of course not absolutely ideal. Now is the time for the manager to bring gaiety to Leicester, where many residents reported being awoken on Wednesday night by a long and mournful wail that seemed to begin at the very moment the transfer window shut and morphed in the hours that followed into bitter sobbing and some very innovative swearing.

Apparently those sounds did abate a little when reports Pep Guardiola hinted in an interview after his team’s win over West Brom that Manchester City may try again in the summer for Mahrez. By which he may or may not mean that they may wait until late August to make an offer that is way below what they can afford and way below what Leicester deem acceptable. Here’s hoping Mahrez demonstrates the folly of that way by going on a thrill spree at the Etihad next week. But the smart money is probably on more sobbing.

Talking of tears, not to mention gnashing, mewling and generally making an undignified show of one’s self, Arsenal fans will be on form when they hear that their club reportedly made a stupidly late inquiry for Jonny Evans before the deadline. It’s not clear what caused Arsène Wenger to realise, after all these years, that he needs a decent centre-back but apparently the penny dropped just as the window was closing. Realistically, that left no time for any deal to get done even if the price had been right, because West Brom would not have been able to find a replacement. Still, the Mill likes to think that someone in Arsenal’s media department has a video of Wenger expressing his joy at the arrival of Evans and will accidentally release it in the coming days.

Southampton will attempt to sign Quincy Promes again in the summer, unless they are in the Championship. Meanwhile in Spain, Barcelona are readying a summertime bid for David Alaba, currently of Bayern Munich.

Despite the lack of strong personality shown by Manchester United at Wembley against Spurs, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be allowed to swagger on over to Los Angeles Galaxy when the MLS season starts in March.

Finally, there are suggestions that West Ham may ban English people from holding any kind of senior position on the grounds that they cause mayhem.


West Ham’s window ends in frustration, racism claim and no Dendoncker

• Anderlecht refuse to sell midfielder Leander Dendoncker
• Tony Henry alleged to avoid African players for ‘bad attitude’

Jacob Steinberg

West Ham United’s deadline day ended in acrimony and frustration after their director of player recruitment was reportedly accused of racism and unlawful discrimination, and their hopes of signing a midfielder were dashed by Anderlecht refusing to sell Leander Dendoncker on Wednesday night.

A report by the Daily Mail alleged Tony Henry, who was heavily involved in West Ham’s attempts to sign Dendoncker, told agents the club did not want to sign any African players in the transfer window. Asked for a response by the paper, Henry is reported to have explained West Ham wanted to limit their number of African players because “they have a bad attitude” and “cause mayhem” when they are not in the team.

Lord Ouseley, the chairman of Kick It Out, described an email that Henry allegedly sent to another West Ham official and an agent regarding an inquiry about a player of Cameroonian descent as potentially unlawful. Henry is thought to have written that West Ham did not want any more Africans in their squad. Pressed by the paper, he suggested the policy was supported by senior management.

Henry also denied the policy was racist. He told the Mail: “It’s nothing racist at all. It’s just sometimes they can have a bad attitude. We had problems with Diafra Sakho. We find that when they are not in the team they cause mayhem. It’s nothing against the African race at all.”

West Ham, who did manage to complete the £8m signing of Jordan Hugill from Preston North End before the window shut, have seven players of African descent in their first team. However, they experienced problems with Diafra Sakho before selling the Senegalese striker to Rennes this week and felt they had no option but to allow André Ayew to return to Swansea City for an initial £18m on Wednesday after the Ghanaian forward made it clear he wanted to leave.

Sakho had not played since 16 December because of a knee injury and Ayew, who joined West Ham from Swansea for £20m 18 months ago, had been out since 16 January with a hamstring problem. West Ham questioned the seriousness of those injuries after both players passed medicals at their new clubs.

The furore capped off a messy end to the window for West Ham, who are four points above the bottom three. David Moyes had made the acquisition of a top midfielder a priority and there were hopes Dendoncker would arrive for £20m.

Having allowed Reece Oxford to return to Borussia Mönchengladbach on loan, West Ham were cautiously optimistic about signing Dendoncker, the 22-year-old Belgian international. They knew the player wanted to join. But while initial talks were positive, talks broke down when Anderlecht pulled out.

This leaves West Ham with only two fit, senior central midfielders. Pedro Obiang is expected to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury and Edimilson Fernandes is out with an ankle injury.

Despite bringing in João Mário on loan from Internazionale last week, West Ham also found it hard to improve their options in attack. Attempts to sign Islam Slimani on loan ended when Leicester City’s owners refused to negotiate with them and FC Krasnodar’s Fyodor Smolov turned them down. But their search for a striker led them to Hugill, who has scored 10 goals in all competitions for Preston this season.


Club statement: Tony Henry

The Club can confirm that Director of Player Recruitment Tony Henry has been suspended pending a full and thorough investigation. West Ham United will not tolerate any type of discrimination and has, therefore, acted swiftly due to the serious nature of these claims.

The West Ham United family is an inclusive one where, regardless of gender, age, ability, race, religion or sexual orientation, everybody feels welcome and included.

The Club will make no further comment until the investigation has been concluded.


West Ham snap up forward Oladapo Afolayan

West Ham United are delighted to announce the signing of highly-rated young forward Oladapo Afolayan.

The prolific 21-year-old, who will initially join Terry Westley’s U23 squad, has been snapped up from National League club Solihull Moors, where his goalscoring exploits were attracting intense interest from a host of Premier League and Championship clubs.

The speedy striker, who has joined on a three-and-a-half year contract for an undisclosed fee, is looking forward to pulling on a West Ham shirt.

“It’s a dream come true,” said. Afolayan, who was in the same year-group as Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke as a youngster at Chelsea. “I’ve worked hard to get here and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

“I started out with Chelsea and was there until I was 15, then my family moved to Canada and I was part of the Academy at Toronto FC. Then, when we moved back, I studied civil engineering at Loughborough University before the opportunity arose to join Solihull and play in the National League and it was something I couldn’t turn down.

“Now, the opportunity has come to join a Premier League club and West Ham is one which has always given youngsters opportunities to come through, as we have seen this season, so I’ve come here to get into the first team and make a name for myself.”

The youngster was scouted by Academy Director Westley and his staff, who believe his huge potential will flourish in east London.

“Oladapo is an interesting player on many levels and we are delighted that he has chosen to continue his footballing education with us,” said Westley. “He has hunger to make it at the highest level.

“He is aggressive, has great pace and the knack of scoring goals, which he has done regularly in his first season in senior football. For now, Oladapo is one for the future and I would like to thank my head of recruitment Dave Hunt and his team for identifying him as an exciting prospect and completing the deal.

“With a number of other clubs interested in signing Oladapo, we felt we could not wait until the summer to make our move and that bringing him to West Ham now was too good an opportunity to miss.”

Hunt himself is also excited about what the young recruit will bring to east London.

“Our semi-professional scout Mark Dorado initially spotted Oladapo and he, one of our full-time Academy scouting team Brad Farmer, Terry and myself all went to watch him in person on a number of occasions,” said Hunt.

“The reports we had received proved to be accurate, as he did really well when we saw him play. He is quick, likes to run in behind and knows where the goal is.

“Oladapo is originally from London and played for Chelsea between the ages of eleven and 15, where he knew Declan Rice, Dan Kemp and Vashon Neufville. He spent time in the Academy system in Canada before returning to England to study at Loughborough University.

“He has scored regularly for Solihull this season, netting eleven times for a struggling team in the National League, and had attracted a lot of attention from some big clubs, so we knew we had to move fast and we did.”

Afolayan will join up with the U23s and could make his debut in Claret and Blue in Monday’s Premier League 2 Division 1 fixture with Sunderland at Chigwell Construction Stadium.


West Ham failed to sign Anderlecht star Leander Dendoncker after bidding just £4.4million

West Ham failed to prise Leander Dendoncker away from Anderlecht after they offering just £4.4million up front, it has been claimed.

The Hammers looked to be closing in on the promising 22-year-old midfielder, who has also been strongly linked with Manchester United.

However the move broke down on transfer deadline day and he remains an Anderlecht player despite wanting to join the Hammers

Now Belgian newspaper HLN has lifted the lid on the botched attempt to land one of the country's most talented players, who had missed training on Wednesday in a bid to help complete the deal.

It has been suggested West Ham's initial offer included an up-front payment of just £4.4m with a further £8.75m to follow in the summer.

Anderlecht were not happy with those terms unless Dendoncker had been allowed to remain in Belgium on loan for the season but West Ham wanted him straight away.

Then, despite a second offer being put on the table, Anderlecht decided not to sell him at all with West Ham set to go back for him at the end of the season.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mart O 7:50 Fri Feb 2
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Any news on Alan ? Hope the old boy's OK. Very rare for him not to do his thread.

Takashi Miike 2:41 Fri Feb 2
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Texas Iron 11:43 Thu Feb 1
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Russ of the BML 2:05 Thu Feb 1
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
West Ham had a bid for Krasnodar striker Fyodor Smolov, 27, rejected after the player announced he wanted to stay in Russia. (Guardian)

Because he said that the offer made was so derisory that he felt it unfair on Krasnodar as, and I quote "They deserve a better fee for me".

BubblesCyprus 2:04 Thu Feb 1
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan best read of the day

ted fenton 11:54 Thu Feb 1
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 11:44 Thu Feb 1

Coffee 11:47 Thu Feb 1
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
"The West Ham United family is an inclusive one where, regardless of ... ability... everybody feels... included."

Can't argue with that.

Thanks, Alan.

Thanks Alan 11:44 Thu Feb 1
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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