WHO Poll
Q: 2020/2021 Where will we finish up this season?
a. Top Four, Champions League here we come
b. 5th-7th Europa League is well within our grasp
c. 8th to 14th anywhere in mid table is about right
d. We're in a dog fight before a ball has been kicked and we'll do well to finish 17th or just above
e. GSB have derailed our season before a ball has been kicked, the Championship beckons

Alan 1:53 Wed Jan 8
Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Chelsea are interested in signing Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast forward Wilfried Zaha this month - but are not willing to meet the Eagles' £80m valuation. (Express)

Zaha's agent is trying to get him a move to Tottenham Hotspur - but they are also not prepared to pay that amount for the 27-year-old winger. (Mirror)

Manchester City are interested in signing Wolves' Spanish winger Adama Traore, 23. (Calcio Mercato)

The agent of Barcelona and Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal, 32, will speak to Manchester United about the player moving to the Premier League in January. (Corriere Della Sera, via Mirror)

Aston Villa have been in contact with Crystal Palace over a move to re-sign Belgium striker Christian Benteke, 29. (Telegraph)

Villa have been offered the chance to sign Spanish former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, 37, from AC Milan. (Mail)

West Ham United's move for Benfica's Portugal midfielder Gedson Fernandes, 20, has stalled. (Guardian)

The Hammers are considering Genk's Norwegian Sander Berge, 21, and 29-year-old Wales international Joe Allen of Stoke City as possible midfield alternatives to Fernandes. (Mail)

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says a number of Manchester United players are playing for their futures. England midfielder Jesse Lingard, 27, only has 18 months left on his contract, with Serbia midfielder Nemanja Matic, 31, 22-year-old Dutch full-back Timothy Fosu-Mensah and and Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly, 25, out of contract at the end of the season. (Manchester Evening News)

Chelsea left-back Marcos Alonso is a target for Italian side Inter Milan and the Blues could allow the 29-year-old Spain international to leave. (Telegraph)

Iceland midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, 30, is one of the players Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti is expected to try to offload. (Sun)

The Toffees want to take Juventus' French midfielder Adrien Rabiot, 24, on loan until the end of the season. (Corriere Dello Sport, via Sport Witness)

Mario Gotze, who scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, is set to leave Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season. He has played under both Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. (Bild - in German)

Newcastle United are interested in signing former Liverpool winger Ryan Babel from Galatasaray. The Turkish side are keen eager to offload the 33-year-old Netherlands international in January, with Ajax also considering a move. (Expres

The Magpies are keen to sign RB Leipzig forward Ademola Lookman, 22, and have proposed a loan move with a view to a permanent deal in the summer for the English forward. (Mail)

Germany forward Leroy Sane, 23, is close to a return to Manchester City training after five months out with a cruciate ligament injury. (Manchester Evening News)

Napoli are interested in Brighton's French striker Neal Maupay, 23. (Telegraph)

Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham are among the clubs monitoring the Seagulls' English defender Ben White, 22, during his loan spell with Championship side Leeds United. (Sky Sports)

Arsenal are unlikely to make permanent signings in January and will instead focus on loan deals. (Goal)

A number of English clubs are in talks over a move for Barcelona's English midfielder Marcus McGuane, 20. (Sun)

Aston Villa want to sign Middlesbrough's DR Congo striker Britt Assombalonga, 27, as cover for injured Brazil forward Wesley. (Northern Echo)

Charlton will consider offers for striker Lyle Taylor, 29 after withdrawing a contract offer for the Montserrat international. (South London Press)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Will Unwin

Chelsea are more than happy to listen to offers for the full-back Marcos Alonso who is attracting interest from Internazionale, managed by his former boss Antonio Conte, who will know what the Spaniard can bring to a side. He could be joined at the club by Ashley Young. Another of Frank Lampard’s squad players who is being linked with a departure is Olivier Giroud who has received a tentative approach from Aston Villa for his heading abilities. Alternatively, Christian Benteke could return to Villa Park from Crystal Palace where he has failed to live up to expectations.

The bad news for Palace is that Wilfried Zaha, with new agent Pini Zahavi in tow, is interesting Chelsea as a they look to add a touch more attacking flair to the ranks.

Another ageing star on Dean Smith’s radar is the former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who could be the answer to Aston Villa’s goalkeeping problem after Tom Heaton was ruled out for the remainder of the season. The 37-year-old Spaniard is currently second choice at Milan and could be open to a return to England.

Daniel Farke has decided one alice-band wearing midfielder is not enough for Norwich’s survival fight and has entered the race to sign the Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan for the rest of the season. Burnley are also thought to be interested in the teenager who has impressed at Charlton in the opening half of the campaign.

The former Liverpool winger Ryan Babel could be making another return to the Premier League as Newcastle are keen on the Dutchman who is not enjoying life at Galatasaray where he has struggled to make an impact in the first team.

Neal Maupay has impressed since joining Brighton from Brentford in the summer, so much so that he is now a target for Napoli. The French striker has scored seven times, prompting the Seagulls to slap a £40m price tag on him. Another Brighton player repeatedly cropping up on scouting reports is Ben White, currently excelling on loan at Leeds. Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham are all considering where to make their move on the centre-back.

The ex-Arsenal youngster Marcus McGuane is trying to return from Barcelona where he has achieved little of note since departing London. This season he’s been on loan in the Dutch second-tier with Telstar but now wants to cut that short and arrange a move to his homeland.


West Ham’s loan move for Benfica’s Gedson Fernandes stalls

• Sources at east London club sceptical deal will be completed
• Midfielder is also a target for Everton and Manchester United

Jacob Steinberg

West Ham’s attempts to sign Gedson Fernandes have stalled following the latest round of talks with Benfica over a loan deal for the Portuguese midfielder.

David Moyes’s club, who reportedly face competition from his former employers Everton for the 20-year-old, want to sign Fernandes on an 18-month loan with a view to making the signing permanent. The Portugal international is expected to move this month after falling out of favour at Benfica.
Transfer window January 2020 – every deal from Europe's top five leagues
Read more

However, West Ham’s hopes of signing Fernandes, who can play in an advanced role in central midfield or on the right, are in doubt. While it was hoped the deal might move on Tuesday, it is understood negotiations with Benfica are yet to progress far. Sources close to the deal are sceptical about West Ham’s chances of completing the signing.

Fernandes is highly rated and it is widely believed he has a good chance of ending up at a club with greater aspirations than West Ham. While he has family in London, he has been strongly linked with Lyon and Manchester United.

West Ham are keen to strengthen their midfield as they look to preserve their Premier League status and their business in January would not be over if they do sign Fernandes, who is regarded as a long-term prospect rather than a player who can go straight into Moyes’s side. Moyes, who replaced Manuel Pellegrini as manager last week, has long been an admirer of Stoke City’s Joe Allen and there is interest in Genk’s Sander Berge. West Ham are also believed to have renewed their interest in Marseille’s Morgan Sanson.

Darren Randolph’s £4m move to West Ham has been held up by a thigh injury that has troubled the Middlesbrough goalkeeper this season. The Republic of Ireland Ireland international travelled to London to hold talks over personal terms on Tuesday but he is yet to pass a medical and will have another scan on the problem on Wednesday.

Moyes could target cover at right-back after Ryan Fredericks was ruled out for a month with a hamstring injury. Options include Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne, who needs a fresh start after an injury-hit spell, and Newcastle’s Javier Manquillo.

There is a belief within West Ham that Joe Cole could return in a coaching role as Moyes looks to fill his backroom staff. However, it is understood that talk of a deal for Cole to return to his boyhood club being close is extremely premature.

Sport Witness

West Ham ‘came forward yesterday’ with offer for player – Loan move with right of redemption

Just two days ago, Gazzetta dello Sport reported claims of Chelsea and West Ham approaches for Gabigol weren’t true.

Flamengo were presented as the only club really in for the Inter Milan owned player, which created a problem when it came to the Italian side getting the kind of deal they want.

Well, that’s changed.

Wednesday’s edition of the same newspaper reports West Ham ‘came forward yesterday’ with an offer for the Brazilian striker. They want to loan him and have a right of redemption in the contract.

For Inter that’s ‘not a good thing’ as they’d much rather someone pay them money for a full transfer now. Flamengo are described as still being in the lead, however, their problem is the player’s €4m a year wages, a figure which is likely to be after tax.

Gabigol seems like the kind of punt the Hammers would take, and doesn’t sound an unreasonable option given his goalscoring form in Brazil last year.

That said, it’s still not clear if West Ham are genuinely keen or being used by Inter and/or Gabigol’s representatives to pressure Flamengo to come up with a better deal.

The Athletic (article care of Scouse Kid)

When Pablo Zabaleta walked back into the away dressing room after scoring West Ham’s opening goal in the FA Cup victory at Gillingham, there were chants of “one more year” from his team-mates. The 34-year-old, out of contact at the end of the season, scored his first goal as a substitute in English football before Pablo Fornals added a late second to see West Ham through to the fourth round.

Right-back, though, is just one area West Ham will look to strengthen this month, with the club also on the lookout for a back-up goalkeeper, a defensive midfielder and a winger.

The current board have often underspent at this time of the year, with the £19 million paid for Robert Snodgrass and Jose Fonte in 2017 their biggest outlay in the January window. But the club’s current league struggles mean forays into the transfer market this month are a necessity.

The return of David Moyes will see the West Ham boss work closely with joint-owner David Sullivan to identify players and get deals over the line, with many at the club keen to do their business early this month.

West Ham are expected to seal the return of Darren Randolph, 32, for a fee in the region of £4 million, which could be done within the next 48 hours. They made a similar offer for Cardiff No 1 Neil Etheridge but bringing Randolph back to east London from Middlesbrough after two-and-a-half years was the priority.

Against Gillingham we saw why Lukasz Fabianski is so reliable to this team, while it also says a lot that since his return against Bournemouth he has kept back-to-back clean sheets. But like all goalkeepers, Fabianski needs competition and the error-prone Roberto has shown he isn’t good enough to be his understudy. The club could yet explore sending the Spaniard out on loan, with David Martin reassuming his role as third-choice goalkeeper once Randolph’s move to West Ham is confirmed.

Jack Butland was also on West Ham’s radar, but The Athletic understands the club did not make an official approach and would have had to pay in the region of £20 million to lure him away from Stoke City. Even if he might be the better long-term replacement for 34-year-old Fabianski, Butland, 26, has struggled to find form in the second tier this season and was dropped from Gareth Southgate’s England squad in August.

Ryan Fredericks sustained a hamstring injury against Gillingham and Zabaleta performed well after coming off the bench. But with Fredericks now potentially sidelined, tougher tests await Zabaleta. His performances this season, notably against Newcastle United, have been those of an ageing full-back, so this is an area West Ham will look at strengthening.

When was the last time West Ham had a really good right-back? Joey O’Brien? Guy Demel? It is one of the weak areas in this team which needs to be addressed. Ben Johnson could be the answer but the 19-year-old is yet to show he can remain injury-free for large spells of the season.

Newcastle’s Javier Manquillo, 25, and Max Aarons of Norwich City are two of the names being weighed up. While the former isn’t much of an upgrade from Fredericks, 19-year-old Aarons is an exciting young player who has already been capped five times at under-21 level for England. Another player who has been linked with a move to West Ham is Jayden Bogle who, similar to Aarons, has plenty of potential and the 19-year-old excelled under Frank Lampard last season at Derby County.

As my colleague David Ornstein has reported, one of the areas West Ham are looking to strengthen in January is midfield. Jack Wilshere is pondering a move to MLS, which The Athletic revealed in November, and Carlos Sanchez has been a poor signing since his arrival in 2018. Although the likes of Joe Powell and Conor Coventry are promising academy players, West Ham need a holding midfielder who will hit the ground running. Tottenham’s Victor Wanyama and Genk midfielder Sander Berge are possible options.

If history is anything to go by, there is a tendency by the board to sign flair players when it comes to midfield. If you look at West Ham’s current squad, the likes of Felipe Anderson, Fornals and Manuel Lanzini are all very similar. There were torturous negotiations with Sporting Lisbon when West Ham tried to sign defensive midfielder William Carvalho in 2017. It is the one area of the team where the board have continuously been parsimonious — the most money they have spent on a central midfielder is £7 million when Cheikhou Kouyate joined from Anderlecht in 2014.

Gedson Fernandes, the Portugal Under-21 and Benfica midfielder, can operate in the centre or on the right flank, but The Athletic understands Everton are the favourites to sign the 20-year-old on an 18-month loan deal.

Hull City winger Jarrod Bowen has been heavily linked with a move to West Ham in January. The highly-rated 23-year-old has 16 goals and six assists in 26 appearances in the Championship this season and can operate in a playmaker role or on the flanks.

One of the main issues with Moyes’ team is their lack of pace and the age of some of the players who predominantly play on the wing. Andriy Yarmolenko is 30 and Robert Snodgrass is 32. The exuberance of youth is needed and Bowen most certainly fits that profile, although he is as yet untested at Premier League level and Hull will hold out for a fee in the region of £20 million.

In the 4-0 win over Bournemouth Moyes played a 4-4-1-1 formation and Sebastien Haller was one of the standout performers. For the game against Gillingham he rotated between a 3-5-1-1 formation and a 3-1-4-2 and, barring his two great chances in the second half, it was hard for Haller to get into the game.

If Moyes, similarly to Manuel Pellegrini, insists on playing one man up front then it will be difficult to attract a striker who will be largely limited to a substitute role. You only have to see the lack of minutes Albian Ajeti has had this season to know that being a back-up striker for Haller is a position no one desires. Anthony Scully, one of the stand-out performers for the under-23s, is one option under consideration.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 7:21 Thu Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 3:53 Wed Jan 8

Thanks Alan 3:53 Wed Jan 8
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
The Ermine 2:34 Wed Jan 8

The Stoat 2:34 Wed Jan 8
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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