Talking Point

West Ham on way to New Zealand

The West Ham team flew from London Heathrow last night on their way to New Zealand on Qantas flight QF2. They took off at at 9.30pm Thursday evening but will not arrive in Auckland New Zealand until midday on Saturday. They have already landed in Dubai and now on a 13 hour flight to Sydney, Australia then a short 3 hour hop to New Zealand.

Thankfully Air Qantas do not fly routes over the Ukraine but sad news has been reported that two Newcastle fans on their way to New Zealand via Malaysia to watch the football united tour were two of the British fatalities in the tragedy. I am sure all West Ham fans will join the football community in sending their condolences to their friends and family.

When the team arrives and recovers from jet lag West Ham fans in New Zealand will get the chance to watch the hammers train when they stage several open training sessions on their Football United tour. Three will be open to supporters in Auckland and those in attendance will witness Hammers manager Sam Allardyce and his coaching staff whip their squad into shape to face A-League sides Wellington Phoenix in Auckland and Sydney FC.

The open training sessions are scheduled as follows:

Sunday 20th July, 11.30am, North Harbour Stadium,Auckland
Monday 21st July, 11.30am, North Harbour Stadium,Auckland
Tuesday 22nd July, 11.30am, Eden Park Auckland

The real fun starts on Wed 23rd July with a match against Wellington Phoenix at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, (7.45pm local time 6.45am Kick Off UK time)
Ticket prices for the West Ham v Wellington fixture start from 59 NZD (£30.20) for Adults and 20 NZD (£10.25) for Children.

This is followed by a match against Sydney FC at the Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand on 26th July (2pm local time 1am UK time)

Silver ticket prices for the Westpac Stadium double-header are priced at 95 NZD (£48) for Adults, 45 NZD (£22.80) for Children and 235 NZD (£119) for a Family (Two Adults/Two Children).Gold seats are available for 129 NZD (£65.30) for Adults, 59 NZD (£29.90) for Children and 319 NZD (£160.60) for a Family (Two Adults/Two Children).

BT Sport have announced both New Zealand matches will be screened in the UK for those who can get up early enough or decide to Sky+ it or tape on VHS.

I am waiting for confirmation of who didn’t make the trip but Morrison, Maiga and Valencia are three of names missing from the trip but Danny Potts has made the trip.

UPDATE Here is the West Ham squad who have flown out: Kevin Nolan (captain), Mark Noble (vice captain), Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, James Tomkins, Matt Jarvis, Cheikhou Kouyate, Andy Carroll, Mauro Zarate, Stewart Downing, Ricardo Vaz Te, Adrian, Jey O’Brien. James Collins, Guy Demel, Diego Poyet, Carlton Cole, Daniel Potts, Sam Howes, Daniel Whitehead, Matthias Fanimo and Leo Chambers.

Sydney FC head coach Graham Arnold says he will use “novelty” matches against West Ham United in New Zealand next week as selection trials to formulate his new starting line-up. The former Socceroos boss said it would be a great challenge to match it with the English Premier League team but a prime opportunity for players to prove their worth. “The tournament in New Zealand is a novelty to the players, it’s an opportunity for them to test themselves against international quality players,” Arnold said. "Newcastle and West Ham, I’m sure, will be in the same predicament as us; they’re three or four weeks out from their first Premier League game so they’ll be using it as practice in preparation for the season ahead.The slate has been wiped clean since I’ve been here and they’ve got to impress me. They’ve got to earn their own jersey and a starting position. Arnold has no expectations for the games and is more concerned about making sure his squad is prepared for the A-League’s tenth instalment.

Talking Point

What is wrong with Andy Carroll?

The absence of our record signing and highest earner Andy Carroll from the first two pre season friendlies has been a frequent talking point on social media networks. Although the the 25 year striker reported back for training at Chadwell Health and flew to Evian, France with the squad he has been absent for both pre season games. Rumours suggest he had a small niggle and they were not risking him, this seemed sensible and a credible reason for his absence. We were assured he would be flying to New Zealand though.

WHTID Author EXWHUEmployee believes his absence is for a totally different reason suggesting ’’Andy Carroll had reported back quite unfit and has been given an intensive programme to improve fitness and will feature in NZ as well."

West Ham’s official twitter made a point to publish a photo of Andy Carroll together with his mate Kevin Nolan at Heathrow airport on Thursday night ready to catch a 23 hour Air Qantas flight to New Zealand. If his lack of fitness is true lets hope he gets fit soon to repay some of the £15m record transfer fee and £4m in wages he has earned since becoming a permanent West Ham player. At 2 goals from 15 appearances last season that is £9.5m per goal so far or £1.2m per appearance.

In other news new signing Mauro Zarate lasted just 31 minutes on Wednesday night against Ipswich. Assistant manager Macca suggested he was not yet match fit saying “He’s a little bit behind in training with the little aches and pains he’s had, and we’ve had to be careful, so it’s good for him to come into a competitive game.” This is a guy who played a full season in Argentina. Again, at a reported £40k per week, let’s hope he will earn his way,

I am just hoping Enner Valencia can hit the ground running since he has just returned from the World Cup. At least he must be match fit.

Player Analysis

New Signing Stats: Enner Valencia

Enner Valencia

DOB: 04/11/1989
Age: 24
Position: Forward

Previous Club: CF Pachuca
Previous Division: Liga MX Clausura

Transfer Date: 17/07/2014
Reported Fee: Anywhere from £7.9m to £15m

Well, there’s your big money move.

In the tradition of the past two summer transfer windows, West Ham United have once against strengthened the squad with a big money signing (Matt Jarvis 2012, Andy Carroll 2013). The difference this time, is that most people hadn’t heard of Ecuadorian striker Enner Valencia before his excellent performance for his country in the World Cup.

The rumour mill has been spinning about Valencia for some time now, with the likes of Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Valencia all linked with him at various point, and by sources of various reliability. Over this time, it has emerged that this isn’t a flash in the pan sort of signing based on 3 good performances, but that the Hammers have been tracking their new man over the course of the last six months.

But other than his World Cup cameo, what do West Ham fans know about the newcomer?

Head to West Ham United Stats for my full analysis of the new man, including a comparison with his new team mates, and a look at some of his strengths and weaknesses .


Transfer Gossip

Have West Ham bid £4m for Emanuel Insua?

Following on from the confirmation of the signing of Enner Valencia (subject to a work permit), Sky Sports News (SSN) are also reporting that West Ham have submitted a £4m bid for Boca Junior’s defender, Emanuel Insua. Insua is a promising, 23 year old, Argentine left back, who has been targeted to provide cover and compete with summer signing, Arron Cresswell. If the deal is completed, with Cresswell, Insua, Potts and O’Brien in the squad, the vulnerable left-back position should be well covered for the coming season. However, there is also reported interest in Isua by Southampton and possibly Liverpool. So, the club need to move quickly to tie up a deal.

Will Isua be our 6th summer signing? Perhaps that transfer pot is not exhausted just yet after all? Elsewhere, we are also being linked with Inter-Milan’s Algerian international midfielder, Saphir Taider and, it has been reported by kumb, that we are currently giving a trial to 20 year old, Polish centre forward, Adrian Wojcik Kosela.

In terms of outgoing deals, there is mounting speculation that Brighton & Hove Albion, Charlton Athletic and Ipswich Town have all expressed an interest in Hammers reserve keeper, Stephen Henderson. There are rumours circulating that the club may be willing to loan Henderson next season, with a 50/50 salary sharing deal oiling the wheels of a move. However, still no concrete news on a Maiga or Vaz Te exit.

SJ. Chandos.

Player News

Valencia Deal Done says Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan has confirmed that Enner Valencia has signed for West Ham United. Speaking on twitter the chairman’s 13 year old son said "Enner the “eagle” Valencia has signed for whu! After having a connecting flight to Madrid from Quito "

Maybe it is just as well the chairman’s son announced it officially as the West Ham press and media officer is over 11,000 miles away in New Zealand at the moment in a different time zone, as part of the advance team for West Ham’s Football United tour. The team together with manager Sam Allardyce and Joint David Gold are expected to fly out later tonight after some light training today.

Update:’ The official site have caught up with young Jack and released a short statement after this post went live saying

“West Ham United are delighted to announce that exciting Ecuador international forward Enner Valencia will become the Club’s fifth summer signing, subject to a successful work permit hearing,Valencia, who impressed hugely in scoring three goals for his country at the FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil, will join West Ham on a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee.’

According to the Daily Mail Valencia admitted he took advice from his international team-mate and Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia and that advice was crucial in his decision. Speaking to a Mexican radio station Valencia said:

’I’m happy to join a very good team, There were a few issues with some parts of the contract but all parties involved have now reached an agreement.Antonio Valencia has helped a lot in my decision. It is a good team and the people are very friendly.’

Valencia will still need a work permit as he does not automatically qualify but I understand the appeal hearing is likely to be scheduled when Sam Allardyce returns from New Zealand. Valencia has netted 18 times in 23 games for Pachuca last season and also scored all three of Ecuador’s goals at the World Cup finals in Brazil.

West Ham will lodge an appeal to gain clearance for his move under the “exceptional talent” criteria to a FA appointed six man appeal panel. Sam Allardyce and West Ham secretary Andy Pincher will In front of the panel made up of a representative of the Football Association, Premier League, Professional Footballers’ Association together with three independent footballing experts Assuming they recommend approval it will go the borders agency for the permit to be finalised which basically a rubber stamp exercise.

I understand West Ham will pay an initial fee of £9.5m but with extras and success the fee could rise to £14m.

UPDATE: Daily Mail article

UPDATE 2: Club website statement

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