Tuesday, June 26

Lanzini set to miss the whole of the season?

Today's Daily Mirror claims that Manuel Lanzini could be out for 15 months and will miss the whole of next season. The Mirror states that his injury is more serious than anticipated, a "cruciate plus". This is terrible news for player and club. We've lost a £40million player (on today's prices where Sigurdsson costs £45 million) on international duty and he might never be the same again. 

Lanzini has that ability to make things happen and after injury was just starting to find his form after scoring twice in the final game of the season. So West Ham desperately need a midfield creator. Could it be Joao Mario again? Or the injury-prone Jack Wilshere? Could Anderson fulfil the role? Meanwhile Manuel, the best of luck in recovering from such a shattering injury.

Sunday, June 24

West Ham World Cup scorer shock

Good to see Chicharito score Mexico's winning goal against South Korea. He might even get in a David Moyes side on this form. When was the last time a West Ham player scored in the World Cup finals? I've consulted Mystic Matt and he reliably informs me that it was Matthew Upson in England's 4-1 defeat to Germany in 2010.

Thursday, June 21

Absolutely Fabianski

My Swansea-supporting pal Huw thinks we've got a good goalkeeper and a decent bloke in Lukasz Fabianski. He was regularly serenaded by Swansea fans with chants of "we've got a big Pole in our goal!" and after relegation he shed genuine tears as the fans implored him to stay. Fabianski also thanked his neighbours for treating him as a person and not a footballer. 

He spent four years in Swansea's goal and during that time made more appearances than any other Premier League goalkeeper, missing only three games. Football365 also has some impressive stats. Over the last three seasons Fabianski has made 369 saves, more than any other PL goalkeeper and he's also come out top in shots saved from both inside and outside the box. Those figures may be slightly skewed by he fact he's played more games than his rivals, but still indicate he's a pretty good goalkeeper. And if he wants to keep up his reputation as a fine shot-stopper he'll get plenty of practice at West Ham…

Wednesday, June 20

Hammers double swoop for Fabianski and giant stopper Diop

Proof that West Ham and Manuel Pellegrini mean business in the transfer market this summer has come with the double signings of Issa Diop and Lukasz Fabianski. Diop has cost a club record £22 million from Toulouse (though Arnie cost £20 million plus add-ons amounting to an eventual £24 million). Centre back Diop is a good age at 22 and will be the tallest player at the club at 6ft 4ins, bigger even than Andy Carroll. 

Issa made his debut at 18 and at just 20 was named club captain so he's clearly got leadership qualities. Toulouse only just avoided relegation last season but Diop is a fine prospect having already starred for France's Under-19 side. You wonder if this might spell the end for Winston Reid, whose body is creaking a little, with Diop partnered by either or both Ogbonna and Rice. But the club now have four quality centre backs, which is essential in the Premier League.

Polish international Fabianski won the FA Cup with Arsenal and has had four fine seasons at Swansea — he was the club's player of the season last time round. He's 33, but an underrated keeper and a decent signing. If he can play for another three seasons then £7 million is a fair price. If Adrian stays there's going to great competition for the number one spot — though I do fear that after two seasons of moves to replace him Adrian might be on his bike. 

Pellegrini has noted WHU's terrible defensive record and acted. With the signings of Ryan Fredericks, Diop and Fabianski the club has strengthened in three key positions. Sullivan and Gold have spent £29million so far, though it should be remembered that the club made a profit in the January transfer window through the sales of Ayew and Fonte, so there's still a lot of money left from our TV revenue. Now Pellegrini has to do something about the midfield absence of Manuel Lanzini, but he's made a promising — and early — start in the transfer market. 

Monday, June 18

Chicharito's on fire

Congratulations to a tearful Chicharito on Mexico's great World Cup victory against Germany. Hernandez had a fine game, leading the line superbly and playing the through ball for the winning goal. Hard to believe he is a West Ham reserve striker. As my pal Matt texted: "It's all very well destroying the world champions but you've got to do more than that to get into a David Moyes team." I have some sympathy for Moyes in that he was trying to solidify a poor defence in a relegation struggle, but watching this, you think Pellegrini must be seeing Chicharito as central to his plans. Javier needs reassuring that he'll play most games. He's too good a goalscorer to let go.

It's been a good tournament for West Ham links. We've seen Javier Mascherano still turning out for Argentina, Portugal's Jose Fonte getting bullied by Diego Costa, Joao Mario coming on a sub for Portugal and 33-year-old Valon Behrami still looking super-fit for Switzerland. Plus a much more-relaxed looking Slaven Bilic starring as a pundit.

Friday, June 15

I heard a rumour…

I know it's that time of the season, but according to the press today West Ham are about to sign Lucasz Fabianski and Alfie Mawson from Swansea City, Chris Smalling from Man United, Mario Gotze from Borussia Dortmund, Lazio's Brazilian Felipe Anderson, Jack Wilshere from Arsenal, Barcelona's Marlon Santos and Toulouse defender Issa Diop. Which would give us a hell of a squad. So in reality we'll probably end up with Australia's 38-year-old Tim Cahill if he has a half-decent World Cup…

Thursday, June 14

Super Mario is Director of Football

But WHU do now have a new Director of Football. He's Manuel Pellegrini's old mate from his Malaga days, Mario Husillos. As someone said on Facebook, he looks a bit like an older Robbie Williams. Mario's from Argentina but also has good Spanish links, so we could be in for some interesting signings. It seems David Sullivan has finally relinquished control of player purchasing and Husillos will have "complete strategic control" of recruitment. This is the right thing to do and what the fans have been asking for. And if it all goes wrong, at least we'll have a nw person to complain about.

It's all kicking off at Anfield

The fixtures are out and West Ham kick off the 2018-19 season with an easy fixture way to Liverpool. We won't even have the hope of playing against a dodgy keeper if Klopp makes the predicted big signing. First home game is Bournemouth, which is winnable, but it's a difficult start with Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United in the first six games. Still, we're too good to go down…

Wednesday, June 13

West Ham-themed stamps?

Good to see that the Royal Mail has issued some West Ham-themed stamps featuring Dad's Army. There's even one of Captain Mainwaring telling off that that stupid boy, Geoff Pike.

Sunday, June 10

Bonds and Brooking get shirty

Bonds and Brooking salute West Ham's new star signing from the blogosphere

Went along to the London Stadium Store today to see Sir Trevor Brooking and Billy Bonds at their signing to coincide with the new kit launch. In the queue was Tom from Erith, who recognised me as the author of the book Hammers in the Heart and said hello. We were all given numbered tickets in the queue. One punter asked what we would win, so a steward quipped, "This is West Ham, no one ever wins anything!"

After a long wait we were eventually ushered through to the top table. Trevor was sporting a pair of shades because of an eye infection, but both Bonzo and Brooking looked like they could still do a decent job for the Irons. Bonzo hadn't heard that Manuel Pellegrini had been mugged at gunpoint when I mentioned it, so me and Trev put him straight and Broking quipped that it would be good preparation for managing West Ham. Both men were very affable with the 400 or so fans and posed for myriad photos — including this one with me.

Friday, June 8

Absolutely Fabianski? What's it all about Alfie?

Slightly better news is the fact that West Ham have had bids for Swansea City's Alfie Mawson and Lukasz Fabianski rejected. There was nothing much wrong with the Swans' defence last year, it was a lack of goals that sent them down. 

Mawson is a Londoner and a promising ball-playing centre back, while Fabianski is an underrated goalkeeper and was Swansea's player of the year last season. It would be a shame to see Adrian leave, as he might, but Polish international Fabianski is a better keeper than Hart was last season. Should we end up with both Adrian and Fabianski there would certainly be great competition for the number one spot. No one knows what offer West Ham put in (one twitter user suggested £10m and a box of last year's sex aids) but we'll certainly have to up it. 

My Swansea supporting pal Huw rates both players and suggests Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins will want £20-25 for Mawson, a Chelsea fan who might fancy a move to a top eight club if he can get it. While he says Fabianski is better than either of Liverpool's current keepers (admittedly not difficult) and would benefit most clubs, despite being 33.

Lanzini crocked

The West Ham curse is strong in this one… Pellegrini must be wondering what he has let himself in for. All the forces of the Empire seem to be against us. First Pellegrini's attacked by gun-toting muggers and now Manuel Lanzini is out of the World Cup with what sounds like a serious knee injury. Lanzini has injured his anterior cruciate knee ligament in training, which will surely spell a long lay-off. The one player West Ham can't afford to lose. Let's hope it's not as bad as reports suggest. Poor old Manuel. Looks like the club will definitely have to sign another playmaker this summer. 

Wednesday, June 6

Freddy signs and Manuel heroics

Ryan Fredericks has finally signed for the Hammers on a free, becoming the club's first deal of the summer. Not sure it's actually Pellegrini's first signing though, as this has the feel of something that was set up last season by either David Moyes or David Sullivan. But it doesn't look like it's ever going to happen for the injury-plagued Sam Byram, so this could well be a good signing. 

Meanwhile it seems Manuel Pellegrini was pretty heroic in the mugging incident in Chile. Manuel told El Mercurio“I threw myself on the guy, and that made him stop, but then he came back to me and pushed his gun on me, pointed it at me and fired into the air. The bullet hit a building." So as well as having a manager who committed suicide (Syd King) West Ham very nearly had the first PL manager to be shot before a ball had been kicked. 

Throwing himself at gunmen is one thing, but will Pellegrini be able to deal with the far scarier task of getting some dosh out of the board? (Hopefully the board hasn't deducted the cost of his Rolling Stones ticket from his budget.) The Daily Mirror today reports that Pellegrini has already clashed with David Sullivan over transfer targets and expenditure, though hopefully this is just tabloid mischief-making. It's certainly been an eventful start to Manuel's reign — and he's only been here two weeks.

Monday, June 4

West Ham manager mugged at gunpoint in Chile

Just another normal morning at WHUFC. "West Ham manager mugged at gunpoint in Chile." Manuel Pellegrini. his wife and friends were mugged by gun-toting gangsters on his way to a restaurant in Santiago. Thankfully he's ok, although shots were fired at police as the gang made their getaway with a handbag. Now West Ham finally have a decent manager we were wondering what could possibly go wrong… and I think we just found out. Let's hope Manuel doesn't follow this up with a scouting trip to North Korea.

Sunday, June 3

Hasta la vista, Arnie?

It's the silly season and the press seem intent on starting rumours about Marko Arnautovic. The Sun has rather a worrying amount of detail about how Jose Mourinho was impressed by the way Arnie bullied Smalling and Jones in the recent draw at the London Stadium and claim Jose has told his board he would be getting four forwards for the price of one. Admittedly Arnie has played for Mourinho before at Inter Milan. But would United really want a 29-year-old who is still basically a maverick, albeit one who's just had a very good half season, particularly if it meant ditching Marcus Rashford? 

The other rumour is that new Everton boss Silva is after Marko as well — which would definitely be a sideways move. The way Arnautovic treated Stoke means he might do the same to West Ham, though you would hope that all that badge kissing and arm crossing might be genuine. Selling him would send the wrong signal and David Sullivan knows he has to placate the fans this summer. There's also a good chance that Mourinho will suffer his familiar third season implosion and be gone from Man United by the end of next season. If United are genuinely interested then West Ham have to stand firm.

Saturday, June 2

Right said Fredericks

The Evening Standard reports that Ryan Fredericks will be Manuel Pellegrini's first signing next week, having agreed a four-year contract. The Fulham right-back is out of contract at Craven Cottage, despite playing in the  Play-Off Final against Aston Villa, and it seems he's been tempted by a better deal at West Ham. The Fulham fans aren't too happy about this and for a brief period yesterday someone had replaced the words "professional footballer" on Ryan's Wikipedia entry and inserted something much ruder. 

Looking at the evidence of the Play-Off Final, Fredericks, a former sprinter, is really pacy when going past his man. He was also lucky not be sent off for a stamp on Grealish, so clearly has a bit of Devil in him. He could be exactly what West Ham need if the injury-ravaged Sam Byram departs — someone who can challenge Zabaleta and ultimately replace him. Aged 25, Fredericks has played 106 games for Fulham, having started out as a junior at Spurs. He played on loan at Brentford, Millwall, Bristol City and Middlesbrough, so has plenty of lower league experience.

Meanwhile Sky Sports reports that the club are close to signing playmaker Javier Pastore from Paris St Germain for £17 million. The 28-year-old Argentina international lists fellow Argentine Juan Riquelme as a playing influence, which doesn't sound bad. It could be an exciting summer at West Ham.