Transfer Gossip

Kouyate Signing is Confirmed

The Club website have just confirmed that Anderlecht defender and Senegal international Cheikhou Kouyate has signed for a fee of around £7 million.

Full story HERE

He looks an awesome signing, to be honest. Valencia were in for him too. But does this mean that Winston Reid might be sacrificed? He’s only got a year left and is holding out for a salary of £75k a week. Arsenal are said to be sniffing around….


Spurs at Home on the Opening Day!

The new fixtures have been announced within the last half an hour. Here they are for your delights and delectation…

Sat Aug 16 Tottenham Hotspur H
Sat Aug 23 Crystal Palace A
Sat Aug 30 Southampton H
Sat Sep 13 Hull City A
Sat Sep 20 Liverpool H
Sat Sep 27 Manchester United A
Sat Oct 4 Queens Park Rangers H
Sat Oct 18 Burnley A
Sat Oct 25 Manchester City H
Sat Nov 1 Stoke City A
Sat Nov 8 Aston Villa H
Sat Nov 22 Everton A
Sat Nov 29 Newcastle United H
Tue Dec 2 West Bromwich Albion A
Sat Dec 6 Swansea City H
Sat Dec 13 Sunderland A
Sat Dec 20 Leicester City H
Fri Dec 26 Chelsea A
Sun Dec 28 Arsenal H
Thu Jan 1 West Bromwich Albion H
Sat Jan 10 Swansea City A
Sat Jan 17 Hull City H
Sat Jan 31 Liverpool A
Sat Feb 7 Manchester United H
Tue Feb 10 Southampton A
Sat Feb 21 Tottenham Hotspur A
Sat Feb 28 Crystal Palace H
Tue Mar 3 Chelsea H
Sat Mar 14 Arsenal A
Sat Mar 21 Sunderland H
Sat Apr 4 Leicester City A
Sat Apr 11 Stoke City H
Sat Apr 18 Manchester City A
Sat Apr 25 Queens Park Rangers A
Sat May 2 Burnley H
Sat May 9 Aston Villa A
Sat May 16 Everton H
Sun May 24 Newcastle United A

Transfer Gossip

Reports emerge that Alonso is to arrive in a £1.5m deal, as the PL Fixtures are announced at 9am today!

We know that West Ham have prioritised left-back as a key position that requires addressing in the summer transfer window. There have been reports that the club have been holding concurrent talks with up to four possible left-back targets. The best known of these is Norwich City’s Martin Olsson. However, latterly, another name has come in to the frame, Fiorentina’s Marcos Alonso. West Ham will recall Alonso on loan at Sunderland last season and him turning in some useful performances. The Black Cats are seeking a permanent deal for the player, but it appears West Ham could be looking to guzump them.

Indeed, the Mirror Sports are reporting that the Hammers are close to agreeing a bargain £1.5m deal for Alonso’s services, which represents very good value for money. It appears negotations with the player may be at an advanced stage and, all things being equal, a deal could be concluded sooner rather than later. It has been suggested that West Ham switched their attentions to Alonso after being priced out of a deal for Nice’s Timothee Kolodziejczak.

The Sports Mirror’s Darren Lewis has also published an interview with David Sullivan. In it, our co-owner confirms that Sam Allardyce was fully supportive of the idea of appointing an attacking coach and Teddy Sheringham was the manager’s choice; that a club like West Ham must have higher ambitions than just staying up and Hammers fans expect a concerted effort to break in to the top six, even if they do not actually achieve it next season; and Sam Allardyce knows that improvement is needed on the last campaign and the Hammers fans will not stand for a repeat. Finally, Mr Sullivan refutes the suggestion that the board are being overly dictated to by fans opinion. In fact, in response and by way of a rebuttal, he makes the point that the fans voted by c.80% to 20% in a poll to sack the manager, but the board chose not go down that road.

The club have not yet announced the deal officially, but a number of sources are reporting that the club have sealed a deal for Anderlecht’s Chiekou Kouyate on a 4 year contract. The reports state that West Ham beat off competition from a couple of Spanish clubs (thought to be Valencia and Seville) to secure the player for a fee of c£7m. If true, and there are conflicting views on this, it is excellent news for the club. The Senegal international is a towering 6ft 4 inch dynamo, who can operate both at centre-back and as a defensive midfielder. I personally hope that he gets the chance to play as a defensive midfielder, alongside Mark Noble. Whilst fans naturally respond best to the signing of players with silky, creative attacking skills, others who are powerful, industrious and facilitate the attacking play are equally as important within a team context. Think of players like Neill Orr in the 1985-86 team, who oiled the wheels of the team, won the ball and created the space for the Devonshires, Dickens, Cottees and McAvennies to attack the opposition. In that, and other key respects (he is a good passer of the ball and keeps possession well), Kouyate can be a major player for West Ham and a great addition for next season. Yes, fans are probably still looking to add another flair player or two, but that is no reason to under-value the significance of this deal. In fact, Kouyate can compliment those type of players and help them to maximise their performance.

Talking of players who are on the more creative end of the playing spectrum, it has been reported by some sources that West Ham might make a move for Newcastle Utd’s midfielder, Hatem Ben Arfa. Ben Arfa is thought to be unhappy at St James Park and nurtures ambitions to move to another Premier League side. He could even be available for a £5m fee, which is good value for money in the current market. However, there is likely to be fierce competition for his signature, with Spurs, Everton, Monaco and Dortmund all supposedly with an active interest in acquiring the player. On the subject of the bar codes, it appears that Alan Pardew is in talks to sign Hertha Berlin striker, Pierre-Michel Lassoga in a c.7m deal. Lassoga spent last season on loan at Hamburg and was prolific, scoring 13 goals in 20 matches. At 22 years of age, he seems a good prospect, although he did have some persistant injury problems earlier in his career. West Ham were linked with him at one point, and if they are still interested they need to get a move on, because Newcastle utd appear to have stole a march in signing him.

While the attention is naturally on incoming deals, there are some key players who entering the final year of existing contracts. This includes Winston Reid, Ravel Morrison and Mo Diame. The outcome of negotiations will be of equal interest to Hammers fans. Surely some progress/outcomes will be reported soon?

Finally, the 2014-15 Premier League fixtures are due to be announced at 9am today. The rumour is that we have drawn an opening, away day, fixture at Hull City. We will see soon enough whether that is true. What other key fixtures are fans looking out for? How kindly or otherwise will the fixtures treat us in the various phases of the forthcoming season? All will be duly revealed this morning!

SJ. Chandos.

Talking Point

Pablo Armero the dance machine

Former Hammer Pablo Armero gave Colombia the lead in the fifth minute against Greece last Saturday.

Armero’s scuffed shot was not the finest finish we have seen in the World Cup so far, but his elaborate dance celebration in front of the Colombia bench was certainly one of the best celebrations so far.

That was the 27 year old’s second International goal in 54 appearances Colombia.

While at West Ham Armero told the official website “I am a left full-back, who likes to work in defence. I am a good defender, strong and quick, but I also like attacking. I like to go to the front and make good crosses. I will give good defending to the team, and good attacking too and hopefully I will help my team mates to win games.”

Armero impressed well in training at West Ham and the talk of a permanent deal at the end of the season died out after he broke into the first team but managed demonstrated the odd defensive lapse which helped cool interest in a permanent deal.

According to rumour, Razvan Rat who was later replace Amero was disposed of because of his failure to adhere to instruction, and getting into a habit of being too far up field, and too far out of position.

Next season with our new attacking coach and entertaining football promised it is interesting that we are still not keen on full backs go like to go up the pitch too far. If we wanted entertainment Armero’s dance routine could replace the Hammerettes at half time.

Talking Point

Former Homesick Hammer Could Return to Premier League

Former Hammer Valon Behrami is refusing to discuss a possible Premier League return until after the World Cup.

The midfielder – whose tackle for Switzerland in the build-up to the winning goal in Sunday’s World Cup game against Ecuador was arguably the best defensive action of his career showed he still has what he takes.

His departure came in 2011 as he claimed home sickness and injuries which eventually saw West Ham sell him for £1.7m to Fiorentiana, a £2.3m loss on what we paid Lazio in 2008. He has been recently linked to Spurs and Inter Milan but has dismissed transfer talk until after the tournament. Levy has admired Behrami for years and is likely to tempt the 29 year old with a bid during the summer.

He is said to be unhappy at Napoli with limited opportunities in the first team under Rafa Benetiz. The Switzerland international has started just 15 Serie A games for Napoli last season failing to find the net in any of them. He is also upset after being robbed twice in Naples. He was robbed at gunpoint by two men on a scooter of his £5,000 Hublot watch as he sat in his car and this year he had his car stolen.

Behrami spent almost three seasons at West Ham making 63 appearances and scoring 4 goals once said he does not think that he would have enjoyed the direct style with which Sam Allardyce has become associated.“I don’t really like it because I like to play like Zola wants to play — every time with the ball, every time try to be attractive as well,”

I understand a return to West Ham is extremely unlikely considering the way he engineered his move away from the Hammers in 2011.

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