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Alan 11:57 Thu Feb 8
Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Liverpool are preparing a second move for Monaco's 22-year-old France midfielder Thomas Lemar, after he turned down a new contract at the Ligue 1 club. (Independent)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will not revive his interest in Leicester City's 26-year-old Algeria midfielder Riyad Mahrez in the summer. (Mirror)

Luis Enrique, the former Barcelona boss who has been linked with replacing Antonio Conte at Chelsea, is preparing for a move to England. The 47-year-old does not want to take over until the end of the season. (Telegraph)

Tottenham are interested in signing Watford's 25-year-old French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure in the summer. (Mail)

Brazil defender Fabinho, 24, whom Manchester United were interested in signing last season, says his time at Monaco is "coming to an end". (Metro)

Chinese Super League club Hebei China Fortune are preparing another bid for Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, 30, after their first move was rejected. (Mundo Deportivo - in Spanish)

Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred has chosen Manchester City as his next club, according to former coach Mircea Lucescu. The 24-year-old Brazil international has also been linked with City's neighbours Manchester United. (Mirror)

Arsenal are in talks with midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles over a new deal. The 20-year-old Englishman has 18 months remaining on his current contract. (ESPN)

Italian striker Fabio Borini and Dutch winger Jeremain Lens will leave Sunderland in the summer after triggering the clauses in their loan deals that force their temporary clubs to buy them. They are on loan at AC Milan and Besiktas respectively. (Northern Echo)

Nottingham Forest look set to sign Greece keeper Stefanos Kapino. The 23-year-old left Olympiakos - once owned by current Forest owner Angelos Marinakis - after a series of disputes. (Sun)

Striker Benik Afobe, 24, is in line to make his Wolves return permanent if the Championship leaders seal promotion. He left Molineux to join Bournemouth in January 2016 but returned on loan in January. (Mirror)

Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 28, says he joined Arsenal in January after a phone call with former Borussia Dortmund team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan. (Sky Sports)

Portugal and Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo, 33, says he can continue playing "for years to come". (GQ - in Italian)

Manchester United full-back Luke Shaw looks set to sign a new contract at the end of the season. (Mirror)

Forward Theo Walcott says Everton boss Sam Allardyce was one of the main reasons he joined the Toffees in January after 12 years at Arsenal. (Sky Sports)

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini, 33, says training sessions with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte left players "dead" when he was in charge of Juve and Italy, and likened him to a "a police sergeant". (Mail)

Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler wants to see the "phenomenal" Mohamed Salah break "all the records going" after he became the fastest Reds player to reach 20 Premier League goals. (Star)

Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan has agreed to sell the League One club to a Hong Kong-based company who run a hotel and casino in the Philippines. (Guardian)

Lincoln manager Danny Cowley is Barnsley's preferred choice for the vacant managerial role. (Mail)
Best of Wednesday's gossip

Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique is top of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's list to replace manager Antonio Conte if he sacks the Italian. (Sport - in Spanish)

Spaniard Enrique will make Barcelona's 31-year-old Uruguay forward Luis Suarez his first signing if he is appointed Blues manager. (Le10Sport - in French)

However, Enrique is not interested in cutting short his year-long break from football and would only take the job at the end of the season. (Goal)

Chelsea boss Conte is paying for the mistakes ex-technical director Michael Emenalo made in the summer transfer window, says former player and assistant manager Ray Wilkins. (Talksport)

Conte has 18 months left on his contract and will not quit the club. (Mirror)

Abramovich will not allow player power at Chelsea to decide whether or not Conte remains at Stamford Bridge. (Telegraph)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Simon Burnton

Mircea Lucescu, currently in charge of Turkey’s national team but who spent 12 years at Shakhtar Donetsk between 2004 and 2016, has revealed the next career move of the Ukrainian side’s highly-coveted midfielder Fred. Apparently the Brazilian, who replaced Fernandinho in the Shakhtar side when his compatriot moved to Manchester City in 2013, will shortly replace him again, this time in the Manchester City side. “Shakhtar Donetsk’s best player is Fred in the centre of midfield,” Lucescu said. “He will go to City like Fernandinho before him.” Fernandinho, uncannily, is an anagram of “Fred in? Ha, non!”

Meanwhile in France, Monaco’s Fabinho has said that “my time here is coming to an end” and might end up among Fred’s neighbours, with Manchester United having already opened talks over a £45m deal – though PSG will compete for his signature.

One player who won’t be moving to Manchester, however, is Riyad Mahrez – who might want to disappear again after reading today’s newspapers, several of which reveal that Pep Guardiola has, in the words of the Star, “been shocked by the awol star’s behaviour after failing to seal a deadline-day move” to Manchester City and is thus, writes the Sun, “set to turn his back on him for good”.

Gianfranco Zola’s agent, Fulvio Marrucco, says he knows who Roman Abramovich wants to replace the inevitably-departing Antonio Conte: “Chelsea are among the clubs that would be in for [Napoli’s Maurizio] Sarri, he would be Abramovich’s dream,” he said. Should this dream come true, it might involve the arrival of “Zola as a sporting director”. However on their back page the Mail trumpet the likely arrival of Luis Enrique – though not until the summer, because he’s busy being on holiday at the moment – with the former Chelsea full-back Juliano Belletti as director of football.

Mauro Icardi is ready to move on after tearing up Serie A in an Internazionale shirt this season, with his agent, Federico Pastorello, declaring that “Icardi will be the summer’s big transfer”. Precisely where he’ll end up went undeclared, but there have been persistent rumours that Real Madrid will target him as they look to shake up their ageing frontline. According to AS Real are also ready to let Isco leave in the summer, with the Mirror suggesting that he could end up at Liverpool – where he could be joined by Thomas Lemar, the Monaco winger who according to today’s Independent “is understood to favour a move to Anfield”.

Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucouré is wanted by Tottenham, having been watched by Mauricio Pochettino himself as the Hornets thrashed Chelsea 4-1 at Vicarage Road on Monday night. Spurs could, however, “face competition from Arsenal and Liverpool for the highly-rated Frenchman”, reports the Mail, and would also have to spend in excess of £20m if they’re to convince Watford to part with the 25-year-old. In other midfield news, Harry Arter will leave Bournemouth if he doesn’t play more often over the next few months than he has over the last few. “If I don’t play between now and the end of the season and am a continued spectator then, naturally, there would be a discussion,” he raged.


Patrice Evra has great pedigree but Premier League return will be testing

Sachin Nakrani

The 36-year-old former France captain, who looks in fine shape and has a point to prove after his ban for kicking a fan, faces a big job to lift an ageing West Ham defence

It should probably surprise no one that West Ham have signed Patrice Evra. After all, they have previous when it comes to taking a punt on a player who has been banned for lashing out on a football pitch. Just over 19 years ago it was Paolo Di Canio, who arrived at Upton Park on the back of “Alcockgate” and, as the Guardian’s Jon Brodkin wrote at the time, with “more eyebrows than glasses” raised in east London. The Italian went on to shine and the hope for those of a claret and blue persuasion will be that Evra can do the same.

West Ham certainly need a lift given the slump that has seen them exit the FA Cup and slip to only three points above the relegation zone. Injuries are mounting, as is supporter dissatisfaction with the board following an underwhelming transfer window, and if that were not enough the club sacked their head of recruitment Tony Henry last week after he made disparaging comments about African players. Whichever way you look at it, West Ham are sliding into another crisis.

Evra cannot solve that on his own but the Frenchman’s return to these shores three and a half years after he called time on a hugely successful spell at Manchester United brings clear benefits: experience, a winning mentality and, perhaps most significantly, the guarantee of a player desperate to prove a point.

The 36-year-old has not kicked a ball in anger since he launched an angry kick at a Marseille supporter before a Europa League game at Vitória de Guimarães in early November. He was banned by Uefa from all European club matches for seven months, fined €10,000 (£8,829) and had his contract terminated by Marseille 10 months after arriving from Juventus. It was an unhappy end to what had been a frustrating return to France for the veteran full-back but now comes Evra’s chance to play football again and remind those who may have forgotten that he is still around.

Having signed a contract at West Ham until June, the former France captain could feature as early as Saturday at home to Watford. With Arthur Masuaku serving a six-match ban for spitting at Wigan’s Nick Powell last month, a space at left wing-back is open, with Aaron Cresswell the only other option. The 28-year-old played there in the 1-1 home draw with Crystal Palace and last week’s 3-1 defeat at Brighton – two unhappy experiences and, as such, David Moyes may see the visit of Javi Gracia’s side as the ideal time to select a player he worked with during his time in charge at Old Trafford.

Whether Evra can flourish in a system that requires wide defenders to cover a lot of ground remains to be seen. It would not have been a problem when he was in his prime – strong defensively while also a rampaging, astute presence in attack – but now, with Evra closer to his 40th birthday than his 30th, it may be. If his recent Instagram postings are anything to go by he remains in good shape but advancing age is advancing age and however well he has looked after himself, Evra will feel the burn of time course through his legs when he steps back into English football.

In that regard what appears to be a no-risk signing carries an element of a gamble and asks a wider question of West Ham’s transfer policy given Evra has become the third defender over 30 to have arrived there in the past 12 months, following on from José Fonte and Pablo Zabaleta. Throw in James Collins (34), Winston Reid (29) and Angelo Ogbonna (29) and West Ham’s rearguard looks creaky.

There is, though, no doubting Evra’s pedigree. He has won five Premier League titles and a Champions League with United, two Serie A crowns with Juventus and 81 caps for his country.
Marseille suspend Patrice Evra after kick at fan as Uefa takes action
Read more

He will also light a rocket in a dressing room that may well be in the doldrums, partly through his desire to play again and partly through an eccentric character carved from an unconventional path to the top.

Born in Senegal, Evra grew up in the Parisian suburb of Les Ulis where as a teenager he got involved in scrapes and petty crimes, including what must surely be the most French misdemeanour ever – stealing croissants.

From there came spells in Italy and back in France before Evra established himself at United, an eight-year period filled with plenty of highs as well as the upsetting, disruptive low of the Luis Suárez affair.

Now Evra is back and anyone wondering whether he has lost his spark should go back to that Instagram account of his and check out the video posted there on 17 December. Having just finished a workout, Evra slaps a manikin, gives it a kiss, slaps it again and then, straight to camera, shouts: “I love this game!” It’s surreal, bizarre, weird and wonderful, and for West Ham proof that they have acquired a unique footballer.


West Ham United confident of beating Everton to Daniel Opare

John Verrall

West Ham United and Everton are both said to be tracking the Augsburg right-back.

According to a report on Soka25, West Ham United are close to signing Daniel Opare from Augsburg on a free transfer.

West Ham are free to talk to Opare, as he only has six months remaining on his contract.

And David Moyes’ side have acted quickly, in their attempts to bring in the right-back.

The Ghanian is believed to have wanted a move away from Augsburg last month, but his attempts were blocked.

West Ham are now keen to add him to their squad in the summer, and they are confident of winning the race.

Everton had also expressed an interest in the 27-year-old, but look set to miss out.

Sam Allardyce reportedly felt that the right-back could have bolstered his squad, and provided competition from Seamus Coleman.

However, West Ham have reportedly won the race, with Opare edging closer to a move to the London Stadium.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Queens Fish Bar 9:56 Thu Feb 8
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
bill green 12:32 Thu Feb 8

Kelly Smunt 2:49 Thu Feb 8
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
"West Ham certainly need a lift given the slump that has seen them exit the FA Cup and slip to only three points above the relegation zone. "

Isn't the 'best' we've been this season 4 points above the relegation zone? Twats!

Mad Dog 1:05 Thu Feb 8
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Isn't ghana in Africa?

bill green 12:32 Thu Feb 8
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
thanks Alan

Takashi Miike 12:26 Thu Feb 8
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Thanks Alan 12:18 Thu Feb 8
Re: Thursday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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