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Alan 1:34 Wed Jan 15
Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)

Leicester City have asked Manchester United about the availability of 24-year-old defender Luke Shaw in case fellow English left-back Ben Chilwell, 23, moves to Chelsea. (Mail)

Paris St-Germain are ready to rival Inter Milan for Tottenham Hotspur and Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen, 27. (Mirror)

Spurs are edging closer to a first signing under Jose Mourinho after Benfica's 21-year-old Portugal midfielder Gedson Fernandes completed a medical in London on Monday. (Evening Standard)

Atletico Madrid chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin has been in Paris to negotiate a deal with PSG for their Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani, 32. (Marca)

Arsenal's 28-year-old France striker Alexandre Lacazette is an option for Atletico if they are unable to sign Cavani. (Sky Sports)

Manchester City have ruled out 25-year-old England centre-back John Stones joining the Gunners this month. (Manchester Evening News)

City manager Pep Guardiola has no intention of quittingat the end of this season and intends to see out his contract at Etihad Stadium, which runs to 2021. (Telegraph)

Manchester United would have to pay £5m to sack manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. (Sun)

Chelsea are unlikely to take up their £40m buy-back option for Bournemouth's Netherlands defender Nathan Ake, 24, and will also not be bidding for the Cherries' 27-year-old England striker Callum Wilson. (Sky Sports)

France forward Olivier Giroud's potential move to Inter Milan is edging closer nearer, with Chelsea holding out for a fee of about £6m for the 33-year-old. (Star)

Arsenal have made enquiries about signing Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie, 23, from AC Milan.(Corriere dello Sport, via Metro)

Meanwhile, Athletico Paranaense president Mario Celso Petraglia has claimed the Gunners are interested in bringing in their Brazil Under-23 midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, 22. (Evening Standard)

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was seen travelling to France amid rumours the club are targeting Lille's French midfielder Boubakary Soumare, 20. (Star)

The agent of United's 20-year-old Dutch winger Tahith Chong, who is set to leave Old Trafford, has been pictured at Inter Milan.(Mirror)

Leicester and Wales midfielder Andy King, 31, has agreed to join Championship side Huddersfield Town. (Mail)

Bundesliga side Schalke want to sign Everton right-back Jonjoe Kenny, with the 22-year-old Englishman impressing during a season-long loan deal.(Mail)

Philippines goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, 29, will not be involved in Cardiff City's FA Cup third-round replay against Carlisle on Wednesday, amid rumours of an imminent move to West Ham United.(Wales Online)

Rangers' Northern Ireland defender Danny Finlayson, 18, and Scottish left-back Matthew Shiels, 19, are set for loan spells with American side Orange County. (Daily Record)

Los Angeles FC's Carlos Vela would welcome Sevilla's fellow Mexico forward Javier Hernandez to the city, even if the 31-year-old ends up playing for rivals LA Galaxy. (ESPN)

Parma's Italian full-back Matteo Darmian, 30, is a target for Inter Milan. (Tuttomercatoweb - in Italian)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Simon Burnton

Christian Eriksen’s move to Internazionale is in grave danger of collapse, with Paris Saint-Germain set to make a rival counter-swoop for Tottenham’s wantaway 27-year-old. According to the Mirror the French champions “have been monitoring” the situation and could try to add the Dane to their roster of midfield-based talent – of which they have so much apparently “Eriksen’s only concern could be forcing his way into the side”. Inter have further irons in their English fire, with an interest in Manchester United’s Tahith Chong, who is out of contract in the summer, though they are unlikely to get a clear run at that deal either with Barcelona and Juventus ready to join in the fight.

Arsenal are ready to battle Manchester United for James Maddison – though that will have to wait until the summer – and to scuffle with Manchester City for John Stones, though “a senior Etihad source” tells the Sun there is “no chance” of the England defender moving south.

Having already signed Pepe Reina and Danny Drinkwater in this transfer window, Aston Villa’s collection of familiar Premier League faces could be further boosted by the arrival of Steven Nzonzi, currently on loan from Roma to Galatasaray but on an indefinite suspension because of what the Turkish club called “undisciplined behaviour during a training session”. The 31-year-old said this week “it’s probably most advantageous for everyone involved that this loan ends and I find a new place”, and by the looks of things Birmingham could be it.

West Ham could be about to give up on a deal for the Middlesbrough goalkeeper Darren Randolph and sign Marcus Bettinelli from Fulham instead. Tellingly the Cottagers have signed Jordan Archer, most recently at Oxford United, to provide goalkeeping cover should Bettinelli leave.

Southampton and Crystal Palace are battling to seal a loan deal for the Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker-Peters, who has announced a desire for more gametime. The Saints are also closing in on Marin Pongracic, Red Bull Salzburg’s 22-year-old Croatian centre-back who started only four league games in an injury-ravaged 2019, while having also “expressed interest” in Fulham’s left-back Joe Bryan, according to the Mail, giving them a coveted one-day full house of defensive positional rumours.

Burnley are after Bristol City’s Josh Brownhill, who according to the Sun is “rated in the £6m bracket”, even if the Robins will not be keen to lose the midfielder. Until last Saturday – when he missed the win at Wigan with a bruised foot – the 24-year-old had played every minute of every league match, most of them as captain.

Chelsea have recalled Conor Gallagher from his loan with Charlton – even though the defensive midfielder had missed only one game all season, and that through suspension – and will send him straight back out on loan, this time to Swansea, who are 12 places above the Addicks in the Championship table and engaged in a promotion fight. “I’m disappointed,” said Charlton’s manager, Lee Bowyer. “I didn’t see this coming which makes it harder to take.” Gallagher will at least be spared an awkward reunion, with Swansea having already played and beaten Charlton twice this season.


West Ham sign Darren Randolph after goalkeeper passes crucial medical

Middlesbrough keeper needed extra check on thigh injury
Hammers urgently require cover for injured Lukasz Fabianski

Jacob Steinberg

West Ham have completed the £4m signing of Middlesbrough’s Darren Randolph after the goalkeeper passed further medical checks on the thigh injury that threatened to scupper the deal.

Randolph has not played since 24 November and West Ham, desperate to bring in cover for the injured Lukasz Fabianski, considered pulling the plug on the transfer after doubts arose during the Republic of Ireland international’s medical last week. Although Randolph is expected to be available to face Everton at the London Stadium on Sunday, West Ham were concerned about him breaking down again given the problems caused by Fabianski’s injury problems.

Fabianski was out for three months after suffering a torn hip muscle against Bournemouth last September and West Ham suffered without their first-choice goalkeeper. Roberto, signed as Fabianski’s deputy last summer, toiled after coming into the team and David Martin, the No3 goalkeeper, is not viewed as a regular Premier League starter.

Roberto’s disastrous performances played a large part in Manuel Pellegrini’s sacking last month. West Ham, who are a point above the bottom three, slid into a relegation battle while the Spaniard was in goal. Roberto was recommended by Mario Husillos, the director of football, and the free signing was sanctioned by Pellegrini, who has been replaced as manager by David Moyes. Husillos has also been fired.

West Ham knew they had to solve their goalkeeping situation this month and a deal for Randolph to become Moyes’s first signing was expected to be concluded smoothly after a price was agreed with Middlesbrough, only for concerns to emerge during the 32-year-old’s medical.

The transfer was placed in further doubt when Fabianski suffered a thigh injury while taking a goal-kick during last Friday’s 1-0 defeat against Sheffield United. Martin was responsible for United’s winner after replacing Fabianski, who is expected to be out for two weeks, and there were fears on Randolph’s side that West Ham would not want to gamble on his fitness. West Ham were soon considering alternatives, including Aston Villa’s Lovre Kalinic, Cardiff City’s Neil Etheridge, Fulham’s Marcus Bettinelli and Preston North End’s Declan Rudd.

The delay had raised the prospect of Middlesbrough, who were reluctant to sell, pulling out of the deal. After stringent checks, however, West Ham’s medical staff gave the green light for the deal. Randolph has insisted throughout that he is fine and he can point to a good overall fitness record at Middlesbrough, having made 106 league appearances since joining from West Ham in 2017.

West Ham’s January business is unlikely to stop at Randolph. Moyes, who lost out to Tottenham in the race to sign the Portugal midfielder Gedson Fernandes on loan from Benfica, wants a midfielder and is interested in Stoke’s Joe Allen.


Anderson and Antonio injury updates

Felipe Anderson looks set to recover from a small back injury for the game against Everton at the London Stadium this weekend but there remain doubts surrounding Michail Antonio.

The Brazilian took a knock in the second half last Friday evening at Sheffield United but is reported to have been in full training this week and set to play.

However, Antonio has been training alone this week after suffering a setback on his hamstring injury and remains at no better than even money to make the game against Everton.

We were told this morning by a well placed insider on the ‘phone: “We are hopeful but it can’t be put any stronger than that at this stage.”

He was expected back at the latest for this weekend but will be monitored closely over the next few days with fingers firmly crossed that he will be able to play some part.

He had initially developed liquid on the injury but remains on the move in training but is avoiding contact and currently is not involved with the first team squad.

It’s a blow for David Moyes who will definitely be without goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski .


Why West Ham shouldn’t give up on Italy international

West Ham’s search for a central midfielder has already gone far and wide in the ongoing January transfer window. It has seen them draw links with would-be Tottenham signing Gedson Fernandes and former Man Utd star Marouane Fellaini. It is no surprise that their chase led them to Inter midfielder Roberto Gagliardini.

The Italian hasn’t exactly ever been a star at the nerazzurri. He has been that useful player who can do a sound job for any manager he plays under. Indeed so, that has been the case for him this season too. But that isn’t the only reason why the Hammers should see him as a very effective signing.

There was a time not long ago when Gagliardini was seen as one of the brightest midfield talents in Italian football. But because of the emergence of many other midfielders, his name has sadly been fading out.

This season, the former Atalanta man has made 15 appearances in all competitions for the club. He does have a tally of two goals and as many assists. But the 25-year-old has played only 784 minutes of football in Serie A. 11 out of the 15 have been starts and a majority of them came because of Stefano Sensi’s injury in Inter’s 2-1 loss to Juventus.

Not just Sensi, the knee injury to Nicolo Barella left the club thin in the heart of the park. This didn’t just allow Gagliardini more game time, as Matias Vecino also got some minutes under his belt.

Under former manager Luciano Spalletti, Gagliardini became known for his workhorse-like spirit. He made 21 appearances in all competitions last season, chipping in with five goals. He was a regular in the 2017-18 season, playing 32 times in all competitions.

The Italian international is a versatile customer in midfield. But being a box-to-box midfielder is his strength. It makes perfect use of his work rate, technical ability and tendency to get odd goals.

This season, Gagliardini has won 1.1 tackles per game and has picked up 1.2 interceptions per game too. When he was a regular in midfield in the 2017-18 and the 2016-17 seasons, he won 2.1 and 2.4 tackles per game too.

He isn’t the best dribbler or the most creative player. But he is someone who likes to keep playing ticking. His passing percentage at Inter has never dipped below 82 percent of this season. That too will rise as the season goes on. He guarantees around 50 passes per game, when used regularly. In the 2017-18 and the 2016-17 seasons, they stood at 48.2 and 52.3 respectively.

He isn’t a midfielder who wins too many tackles or is very creative. He just does a bit of both in a tidy fashion. That makes for an interesting read for Hammers fans.

As things stand, David Moyes has only two reliable central midfield options in Declan Rice and Mark Noble. The duo has been a regular in the heart of the park, with Carlos Sanchez only a bit-part player with one start to his name only.

Gagliardini adds technical to that midfield and like Noble, adds some work rate in there too. Having him will take the burden off Rice and Noble and having played at a much bigger club, he can take the side to another level. He adds some goals from midfield and his ability on the ball will allow the likes of Felipe Anderson, Pablo Fornals and Andriy Yarmolenko more freedom to attack.

Inter are currently in the chase for Arturo Vidal and adding another midfielder could extinguish Gagliardini’s chances further. This can lead him to consider a possible West Ham move.

Football London

David Moyes has the signing he wanted but West Ham's recruitment strategy is failing

The Hammers are halfway through the January transfer window and have managed to sign a back-up goalkeeper who used to belong to them

By Sam Inkersole

West Ham were in the market for a backup goalkeeper as soon as David Moyes arrived at the club to replace the sacked Manuel Pellegrini and after a protracted transfer saga, have finally got one.

Former stopper Darren Randolph has rejoined the club on a three-and-a-half year contract from Middlesbrough, who he signed for in 2017 when he was allowed to leave by Slaven Bilic, who had signed Joe Hart on a season-long loan from Manchester City.

Randolph is now back in east London after two-and-a-half years away and could make his second debut for the club this weekend against Everton after Lukasz Fabianski's recurrence of a hip injury in defeat at Sheffield United on Friday night. Football.London understands the club wanted to make sure Randolph was ready to play.

The Pole is expected to be out for at last two weeks so Randolph, if he is fit enough having only just passed a medical at the second time of asking, could play against Everton, Leicester City, the FA Cup tie against West Bromwich Albion and potentially the Premier League meeting with Liverpool on February 29.

After the horrific performances of Roberto initially, a new goalkeeper was always on the horizon. Martin's error against Sheffield United that led to Oli McBurnie's winner was further proof the club needed a more reliable stopper.

Now Moyes has that, he still needs more. The club is still desperately short of a quality, box-to-box midfielder and another frontman thanks to continuing injury problems for Michail Antonio.

We are halfway through the transfer window and the Hammers have made one recruit. It can be difficult to sign in January, Hammers vice-chairman Karren Brady said exactly that on Tuesday in an interview with Sky News, and there is no doubt transfers can be tough with inflated prices and clubs not willing to let players go mid-season.

The team clearly needs bolstering, it was one of the first things Moyes alluded to when he returned to the club, but it's taken nearly half of the window to sign a backup goalkeeper.

West Ham's recruitment strategy is coming under enormous fire following the sacking of director of football Mario Husillos, leaving transfer strategy back in the hands of co-chairman David Sullivan.

Sullivan has a trusted network of agents he deals with and has instructed them to find players. Gedson Fernandes was one of them but he has joined Spurs on an 18-month loan deal with a permanent option of more than £40m. That option was what swayed it for Benfica as the Hammers weren't willing to put that in. Fernandes was touted to a whole host of Premier League clubs, not just West Ham.

West Ham's scouting network has decreased in the wake of Pellegrini's sacking. His son was employed as a scout, so was Husillos' son, Mario Jnr and they both left along with their fathers. Husillos himself attended games to scout players and, obviously, no longer does.

Another scout, Juan Carlos Valdivia, has also departed. Brady herself said in her column in The Sun on February 15 last year that the Hammers employ seven scouts so, by process of elimination, the club now has two scouts in Europe. By Premier League standards, that is simply embarassing.

It's not uncommon for scouts to be employed on a freelance basis but looking at official club staff only Jordan Miles, who is head of recruitment analysis, seems to fit the bill as a scout.

So agents and intermediaries are ones trying to get deals done. More often that not, they simply work for their own personal gains and not for the clubs, so it's an incredibly risky strategy Sullivan is employing. Football.London understands that some intermediaries are also working as de facto scouts for the club.

As things stand, Randolph's signing is not set to be immediately followed by any more. The last week of the transfer window could be very busy, just like it was last time Moyes was at the club when West Ham failed in their chase for Leander Dendoncker, who is now a regular starter at Wolves.

Joao Mario did arrive however but took his time to get going, firing towards the end of the season and he's now plying his trade in the Russian leagues with Lokomotiv Moscow. The less said about Patrice Evra, the better.

A protest against the club's board will be taking place at London Stadium on Saturday prior to the Everton game, between 1pm and 2pm, at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park, organised by group Hammers United.

With the club named in the top 20 richest Premier League clubs in the world earlier this week, anger is rising at a perceived lack of investment in a team that is languishing one point above the Premier League relegation zone.

While Moyes temporarily lifted the gloom with two wins in his first two games back at the club, the January transfer window has shown yet more pitfalls behind the scenes at the club.

They are nowhere near safe from relegation with a tough run of games coming up and have a squad that desperately needs an injection of life. It's reaching a desperate stage.

Sport Witness

Agent has offered striker to Newcastle and West Ham – Club demanding €25m for deal

Villarreal striker Karl Toko Ekambi (27) wants to leave the club this month and has been offered to Newcastle United and West Ham by his agent.

The striker is reportedly not comfortable at the club, despite having made 19 appearances for the Spanish side in all competitions this season.

He wants a move elsewhere in the January transfer window and, thus, his agent is looking for a new destination.

That’s according to El Periódico Mediterráneo, who say that his agent is working on finding his client a club and has offered him to both Newcastle and West Ham.

The website reports that the striker’s ‘network’ have been in contact with the Premier League duo, as they are both keen to ‘reinforce’ their forward lines in this window.

Villarreal don’t want to lose the player, especially at this stage of the season, and have set an asking price of €24.5m on Ekambi, who they paid €20m for in August 2018.

Whether that’s a price either Newcastle or West Ham would be willing to pay isn’t mentioned, although Le 10 Sport reported earlier this month that the Magpies were ‘very hot’ on the striker.

That report also stated €25m was the price to get a deal done and El Periódico Mediterráneo, making it clear that the situation is ‘complicated’ and Ekambi will only leave if that amount is offered.


Napoli interested in West Ham defender Arthur Masuaku

Napoli have reportedly joined the hunt for West Ham defender Arthur Masuaku.

According to a report from Foot Mercato, the DR Congo international has emerged as a possible target for the Serie A club, who could sell Faouzi Ghoulam.

Apparently contact has already been made with Masuaku’s representatives.

Masukau, 26, has been with the Hammer since 2016 following a transfer from Greek giants Olympiacos.

The ace has made 86 appearances for the club to date, and is continually in competition with Aaron Cresswell for a place in the starting XI.

The Masuaku exit links come just months after he signed a new contract until 2024 that includes the option for two more years.

TBR’s view – West Ham should wait till summer

West Ham shouldn’t be thinking of selling Masuaku mid-season, as there is a risk that any replacement might not hit the ground running or pose a good enough challenge to Cresswell.

The Irons should therefore wait until the end of the season before deciding whether to get rid.

As suspect as £6.2 million signing Masuaku (BBC Sport) can be sometimes defensively, he does offer a fair attacking threat and is surely worth keeping around if West Ham are to fight for their Premier League status.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mex Martillo 9:06 Wed Jan 15
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

PostmanPissed 7:17 Wed Jan 15
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Top work again Alan!

PostmanPissed 7:16 Wed Jan 15
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Always us and Newcastle linked to so and so on the newspaper thread. The journos know we're both desperate enough!

Queens Fish Bar 5:15 Wed Jan 15
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan 1:47 Wed Jan 15

Alan 3:08 Wed Jan 15
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
The Football London piece added.

Thanks Alan 1:47 Wed Jan 15
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
bill green 1:36 Wed Jan 15

bill green 1:36 Wed Jan 15
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

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