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Pre-season fixture confirmed

SOUTHEND, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03:  A general view of Roots Hall prio to  the npower League Two match between Southend United and Northampton Town at Roots Hall on September 3, 2011 in Southend, England.  (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

A West Ham XI  team will play Southend United on Saturday 23rd July with a 3pm kick off the official Southend United website has confirmed this afternoon.

It was at the same pre-season friendly in July last year that one Dimitri Payet make his debut for West Ham scoring two goals and forcing a third own goal to make it 3-2. It was also his first free kick goal and taste of things to come.

The new fixture will join two pre-season friendlies in a US tour against the Seattle Sounders and Carolina Railhawks.  West Ham now have two Europa League fixtures to fit in before the Juventus friendly on Sunday 7th August, a week before the Premier League kicks off again.

5th July v Seattle Sounders (CenturyLink Field, Washington)

12th July v Carolina RailHawks (WakeMed Soccer Park, North Carolina)

23rd July v Southend United (Roots Hall Stadium)

28th July UEFA Europa League third qualifying round first leg

4th August UEFA Europa League third qualifying round second leg

7th August v Juventus, Stadium on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

13th August First Saturday of the Premier League

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Hammers play cards close to chest on winger

gokhan-tore-551520West Ham were this morning reported to be in advanced talks with Besiktas flying winger Gokhan Tore.

But although they have admitted to us in the past he is a potential target the club were refusing to put anything on the record when ClaretandHugh contacted them a few minutes ago

That, however, is sometimes the best  indicator that a deal may indeed be on the cards.

Slaven Bilic has called for a clampdown on transfer leaks within the club but both the morning newspapers and Sky are claiming the deal is close.

Our senior source said simply: “No comment – we are running with for 25 players.”

The player however is a huge Bilic favourite and the manager wanted to sign him at the stat of his Hammers reign last summer.

We were indeed told a couple of weeks ago that Tore was a target although a striker was the bigger priority and that the club would only move in on the Turk sooner if they failed with bids in that area.

 

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Juventus match restricted to 54,000

osDemand for Juventus friendly match on Sunday 7th August continues to grow with the club are confident that they will sell out all 54,000 tickets by the end of this week.

A source close to the ticket office told Claret and Hugh at lunch time “We expect a sell out most likely by the end of the week. It has been incredible sales figures”

The pre season friendly against Werder Bremen on 2nd August last year managed just 9,919 supporters despite being the final season at the Boleyn Ground.

When Claret and Hugh checked the ticket premium rate hotline at 12 noon there were 11 people in the queue with an average wait time of 24 minutes.

The Juventus sell out will limited to 54,000 seats rather than the increased 60,000 capacity of the converted stadium.

Our source told us “At present the stadium is part of the initial test stage which is set to 54,000 for safety certificate reasons, therefore it allows a preview in advance of the first 60,000 game a week later “

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Michail Antonio is not for Sale

Michail-AntWe know the silly season is now in full swing with the ludicrous suggestion linking Michail Antonio with newly promoted Middlesbrough today.  The transfer gossip section of the London evening standard writes:

“Even newly promoted teams will have a significant amount of bargaining power and Middlesbrough, who are set to compete in the top tier next term, have reportedly identified West Ham’s Michail Antonio as a key target.

The versatile midfielder, who can also play at right-back, proved to be a slow burner for Slaven Bilic’s side but enjoyed a stellar second half of the season.The Hammers are not thought to be keen to sell while Boro are willing to offer up to £8 million for the 26-year-old.”

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Hammers linked with French left back

sidReports in the Daily Mail suggest West Ham have made enquiries for Lille  left back Djibril Sidibe.

Watford, Arsenal , Everton and Lyon are also reported to have made enquiries for the 23-year-old, who can also play as a right back. Sidibe is valued at 15 million euros (£11.5m) by his club, who finished the 2015-16 season in fifth place in Ligue 1.

Everton reportedly had a £10million bid for Lille left-back rejected this week while Lyon and Watford have both scouted the defender. Arsenal are said to be willing to make a move if the out-of-favour Kieran Gibbs leaves the club.

Sidibé can play as a full back on the right or left, but can also be utilized in the midfield in a defensive position. He began his career at his hometown club Troyes in 2000 at the age of eight. Sidibé made his professional debut on 17 September 2010 in a French league match against Grenoble. After helping earn Troyes promotion to Ligue 1, the then 19-year-old signed for Lille in July 2012, as cover for Mathieu Debuchy. Sidibé made his debut for Lille on 25 August 2012 against Nice.

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Vardy release bait clause

vardyJamie Vardy is available to Champions League clubs although his personal demands are likely to remain out of West Ham’s reach.

The 29 year old is understood to have a £25 million release trigger in his contract and the  Irons are ready to pay the fee.

Any talking cannot take place until after the transfer window opens but it is well known that the club has had him on the radar but with one more bumper deal in prospect the Hammers are set to be priced out of that market.

We understand that a minimum £100k a week plus first team appearance bonuses would be involved and that could rise to as high as £125k plus.

Vardy has regularly pledged loyalty to the Foxes but the fact he can be prised away for a cut price fee will alert Premier League rivals.

Vardy’s release clause is reported as having been inserted into the contract he signed in February, and was also apparently extensively scouted by Manchester City during his 24-goal Premier League campaign.

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Boleyn Pub SOS

BoleynPubThe famous Boleyn pub, on the corner of Green Street and Barking Road is preparing for life after after the Boleyn Ground is demolished by offering a membership scheme for West Ham supporters.

They are asking their football regulars to pay £120 annual membership to stop the place being closed down. The membership fee will fund private coaches to the former Olympic stadium on home match days but members will also receive a discount at the bar.

The posters in the windows read like an SOS saying : “As you all know West Ham United are moving to the Olympic Stadium, Stratford for the 2016/2017 season. We want to keep the spirit of the The Boleyn Pub going, so we are offering an annual membership that will provide transport from the Boleyn to Stratford for every home game. You will also receive bar discounts on every home and away games. To find out more or to sign up for your membership call us or speak to one of our bar staff.  Call us on 0208472 2182″ 

The Black Lion in Plaistow, another West Ham pub, is also looking at transporting fans to Stratford.

 

 

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Hammers target hopes look dead in water

11Ibrahimovic1602Regular speculation that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a West Ham target looks dead in the water this morning with Jose Mourinho reportedly ready to take over the reins at Old Trafford.

The 34-year-old is a free agent after leaving Paris St-Germain and United are set to hand him a one-year, £250,000-a-week contract.

The Swedish superstar was seen as an ideal candidate to join the Olympic Stadium-bound Hammers but the free signing now looks  a strong favourite to join the Mourinho OT regime.

The pair know each other well and sources strongly tip a year’s contract for the 34 year old under his former boss who also has to look at the situation involving Reece Oxford.

It has been strongly reported that United were plotting a £10 million move under sacked Louis van Gaal although Hammers insiders claim he is going nowhere.

However Mourinho will be looking at any proposed business on the United agenda and take a view so nothing can be ruled out at this stage.

 

 

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French striker targets valued at €90m

michyLyon president has told French newspaper Le Progres that ideally they want to keep hold of Alexandre-Lacazette but he has not categorically ruled out a sale of the 24 year old this summer. It has now been claimed that the Ligue 1 outfit have slapped on an asking price of 50million euros [£38.7m] and are not prepared to lower their valuation.

It remains to be seen if the Hammers would ever match Lyon’s demands but they may have to move quickly as a number of clubs have been linked with Lacazette in recent weeks, including PSG, Spurs and Atletico Madrid.

LacazMeanwhile, Olympique de Marseille is said to value their prized striker, Michy Batshuayi at €40million  (£31m) mostly due to a sell-on clause in his contract.

According to Mercato 365, Spurs sent scouts were in attendance at the Stade de France on Saturday evening as Marseille lost 4-2 to Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de France final. The 22-year-old has scored 24 goals and supplied 10 assists in 51 matches in all competitions this season, including 17 goals and nine assists from 36 Ligue 1 encounters.

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Payet: My most important goal

Hammer of the Year Dimi Payet has voted for his most important goal of the season.

The French midfielder could hardly have made a better start to life in the Premier League and has been delighted with his first campaign.

He said:  “Of course there are the two free-kicks at Old Trafford and at home to Crystal Palace, but the most important one came away to Everton because it was the winning goal in our comeback.

Speaking to the official site he added: “It has been a magnificent first year and looking back at the results I’ve had for club and country it has been really fantastic and also these individual accolades are also lovely to receive.

“I would also like to thank all my team-mates, the staff here, the coaching staff, the medical staff were fantastic when I was injured and of course the fans, there’s a lot of love there and they’ve really encouraged me and helped me to settle in.

“Of course it is fantastic to receive recognition from fellow players and, on top of that, it’s in the hardest league in the world so it is a really great feeling and I feel very honoured.

“Even though it is a personal award I still want to share it with my team-mates because the fact that I have won it is down to their help and the fact that they have had confidence in me.”

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