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Hammers in race for Serie A defender

West Ham are in the race to sign Napoli defender Nikola Maksimovic this summer, according to a new report.

Plaza Deportivo, via Sport Witness, reports that the Hammers are in the hunt to snap up the centre-back, as are Spanish side Valencia.

The 29-year-old’s contract is set to expire next week, meaning he will be available on a free transfer.

Maksimovic remained a relatively key member of Napoli’s squad last season and made a total of 27 appearances in all competitions in 2020/21.

Real Betis are also interested, along with a number of Italian teams, and Maksimovic is regarded as a big opportunity for any potential buyer this summer.

Maksimovic is said to fancy a move to La Liga but the Irons are in desperate need of a centre-back this summer, with Fabian Balbuena leaving upon the expiration of his contract.

Valencia are said to be at the front of the queue but it remains to be seen if that changes over the next few weeks.

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Leroy’s back and reckons the Irons are well and truly on their way

It’s a genuine joy to welcome back our most popular blogger since CandH started life seven years ago this evening – the one and only Leroy Rosenior! Lee has become an ambassador for the West Ham Foundation since he was last with us and is also greatly involved with the Premier League on match days. He will be joining us for the new season but in this exclusive blog he looks back on last season and as an active anti racist campaigner gives his views on taking the knee.


West Ham has become an entirely different club over the last few months as a result of an empty stadium due to the pandemic and the arrival of David Moyes as manager. There is no question in my mind that he is now entirely in charge of recruitment, team affairs and has done a magnificent job.

However, it has to be said that the pandemic has allowed the club to take far less emotional decisions which is not always possible when the fans are justifiably piling on pressure of praise. Next season will be different but I think we are now all supporting a football club which is at last well and truly on its way.

There was an awful lot of pressure after the club left the Boleyn for the London Stadium and hey, listen, nobody loved Upton Park more than me but I think we can all agree now that it was the right move to make.

As for next season and who we are going to bring in I think James Tarkowski will be a major target. Craig Dawson was magnificent butt with the Burnley boy coming to the club we will have three great central defenders with those two and Oggy. I’m not sure about Diop so it will be interesting to see what happens on that front.

As for a striker, I think Tammy Abraham – at the £30m to £40 m Chelsea will want – is not the right guy – he doesn’t hold the ball up or link the play like Mikey and isn’t as great as running channels like  Jarrod Bowen – who at £20 million was a sensational buy. If we could get Tammy on loan fair enough but I would’t pay big money for him.

I’ve seen Adam Armstrong develop at Blackburn – he’s quick and agile and could easily be the one for David Moyes who of course makes a habit of dipping into the lower leagues.

No more needs to be said about Tomas and Vladi – out and out West ham players who sweat blood and tears whilst so called luxury players like Haller and Anderson provided no luxury at all. Selling the French boy for £20 million was great business despite us taking a loss on him – he was never going to hack it at Wesyt Ham. Anderson looks unlikely too either.

Getting rid of those so of players is just as important as who you sign and in David Moyes we have a manager who is adept at doing so.

I believe there’s a great season ahead and see the club going from strength to strength.

Taking the knee

There’s been plenty of discussion about the effectiveness of otherwise of the players’ decision to do this and as somebody who has been very involved in anti racism activism I can assure you it has been extremely effective for the issue at large.

Ivan Toney at Brentford and the squad – along with Wilfried Zaha have spoken out against it and the Bees will presumably not be taking the knee in the PL next season.

My question to them both is: “What would you sooner do.” I’d love to have a conversation with both of them and get their ideas.

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Report: Hammers set to sign England and Ireland international

West Ham will soon sign Celtic youngster Armstrong Okoflex, according to a report

Celtic fan website www.67hailhail.com quotes ExWHUemployee on the The West Ham Way podcast as saying:

“We have signed one player, I think he’s due to be announced soon and the guy is called Armstrong Okoflex, which is a quality name.

“He plays for Celtic and he’s a former Arsenal youth player.

“He’s actually played a couple of times for Celtic. He was born in Dublin and started out in one of the country’s famous academies St Kevin’s Boys.

“Then Liam Brady spotted him for Arsenal, brought him over and then he signed for Celtic on a three-year deal.

“He’s actually played for Celtic, he made his first-team debut for the club as a substitute against Hibernian in January 2021.

“But I believe his contract is up and I think he’s going to be coming over to West Ham, which will be interesting because he’s already played a couple of times for Celtic so he’s going to have some calibre.”

The 19 year-old left winger was born in Dublin, Ireland and started out playing with one of the countries most famous academies, St Kevin’s Boys before being spotted by Arsenal legend and scout Liam Brady, who had also come through the St Kevin’s, with Okoflex then signing for the London club. He joined Celtic on a three-year deal from Arsenal in September 2018 on a free transfer.  Okoflex has been a member of the republic of Ireland U16 and U19 squads and also England U16 and U17’s.

His main position is a left winger but can also play on the right wing or as a centre forward.

The youngster found him self in hot water last year after Armstrong was slammed for saying an eight-year-girl would be “peng” when she’s older.

The Hoops youth team player hosted an Instagram Live – inviting followers to get involved and provide “entertainment”.

A spokesperson for Celtic at the time said: “The matter will be investigated and the appropriate action will be taken.”

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Report: Hammers make goalkeeper enquiry

West Ham are interested in a deal to sign Fiorentina goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski this summer, according to a new report.

  1. We know that the Hammers will eventually be in the market for a new stopper this summer to provide back-up to the ever-dependable Lukasz Fabianski.

Viola News, via Sport Witness, claims that the Hammers have joined Southampton in the race to sign the 23-year-old in the summer transfer window.

Dragowski has emerged as Fiorentina’s first-choice stopper this season, making 36 appearances in Serie A, and keeping eight clean sheets in total as they finished 13th.

Tottenham and Wolves are also said to hold an interest in signing the Poland international, who has won one cap for his country, and they are all said to have asked for information about the stopper.

That would likely be to gauge his availability this summer and, to that end, Fiorentina are already on the lookout for replacements; Juventus’ Mattia Perin appears to be at the top of the list.

Dragowski has a contract until 2023 and is valued at £14.4m by Transfermarkt.

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Report: Hammers still want striker

West Ham still want to sign Youssef En-Nesyri this summer, according to a new report in Spain.

The Sevilla striker was a target in the winter window but now, they are said to again be keen on a deal.

En-Nesyri has been in fine form for the Spanish club and scored 24 goals in all competitions in 2020/21.

El Desmarque in Spain, in a report carried by Sport Witness, claims that the Hammers are willing to pay €40m to bring En-Nesyri to the club in this transfer window.

That would equate to £34.2m but it does not appear that the Irons are the only club in the race.

Wolves also want to bring the striker into the club, though his agent has reportedly already scotched the idea of him leaving.

He claims, per the report, that his client is happy at Sevilla, and is intending on staying, which may explain why the Hammers’ attempts to sign him in January were also rebuffed.

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West Ham get new flood lights

London Stadium have installed state-of-the-art LED lighting system that will improve visibility and uniformity on the field of play. In addition to benefits of clarity and brightness, the LED lights improve energy efficiency and promote sustainability with a longer-term solution at the venue London stadium 185 owners claim.

The older floodlights were installed in 2015 using original lamps that shone over the Stadium during London 2012 Olympics.

Floodlight energy consumption at London Stadium will be reduced by more than 50% compared to the previous lights, and the Stadium will significantly reduce maintenance costs well into the future as a result of Musco’s long-term warranty that covers all parts and labour. Specialist advisers Griffiths Evans were used by the London Stadium to oversee the installation.

The upgrade ensures the venue complies to the comprehensive standards across the calendar of events, from Premier League football, UEFA Europa League and international athletics meets. The adaptability of the lights will enhance the experience for concert-goers during the summer months at the stadium say the stadium.



Soucek feels strange being on opposite side to Irons fans

Tomas Soucek v Declan Rice looks to be one of those epic international moments for West Ham.

With the game between England and the Czech Republic set to command all the intention on the world tonight there’s little doubt Irons fans will be suffering mixed emotions.

But the Czech midfielder has made it very clear in an interview with The Times that this is a game to be seriously enjoyed although he understands his passionate Irons fans will be wanting the Three Lions to win.

The pair have been quite amazing for the Hammers since they teamed up in our midfield and we will be fascinated to see who comes out on top tonight.

Maybe his experience and Champions Cup experience with his former club will give Tomas the edge but that isn’t a scenario  to be taken for granted.

Declan will want to be right on top of his game which probably represents the most interesting yet for us irons.

Tomas commented ahead of the game: “It will feel strange being on the opposite side to West Ham United fans and them wanting me to lose. I’ve heard and read them saying, “We really love you and Vlad [Vladimir Coufal] but please don’t beat England and please don’t be injured.”

I just smile, it is funny. We hope people support us. We hope it will be a fair game and show our quality. I understand they might suffer with England but hope after the game they will still love us, whatever the result.

England will be a big game for me, playing here. It will be really tough for us. It will be a little strange but I hope we do well. I look forward to playing in front of fans at Wembley and hope we can both go through.

I mentioned earlier this season that I would usually take three weeks off at Christmas and mainly eat potato salad. The guys found it funny and Declan tweeted, “How can you not love him? People now call us, ‘Rice and Potato Salad’.”

We have a close bond. It will be special to see Declan, my midfield partner. We might speak before and after the game and say something for motivation. During the game it will be like a fight between us.

We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and that will make it hard. I don’t like this type of situation. But I want to concentrate on my performance for the team, rather than Declan. I came up against him before I joined West Ham in the qualifying campaign in October 2019.

I’ve reminded him that “Czech beat England 2-1 and I hope we can do it again”. I never knew England’s players and they never knew me then. Now I’m playing against them every week.

Declan is among the many English guys in training — including Stuart Pearce [the first-team coach], who is very competitive — and that is one of the motivations for me to take my West Ham form into the match.

David Moyes, our manager, said that he will support Scotland. I replied, “It’s a bad choice because we will beat you”. I will have a laugh with the manager soon.

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West Ham podcast: Czech mates v Rice

Episode fifty of season ten of the popular West Ham podcast Moore Than Just A Podcast is now available to listen to online or download.

Join Claret and Hugh associate editor, Sean Whetstone with fellow podcast presenter Canning Town Len and Nigel Kahn as we take a ‘butchers hook’ at Stelios Kyriacou from the Irons United West Ham Youtube channel. We also talk about non existent transfer activity and chat the Euro 2020 championships so far among other things.

As usual, we answer questions posed by our collective audience on Facebook and Twitter as well as giving our predictions for England v Czech Republic.

Download or listen to the podcast online at https://play.acast.com/s/moorethanjustapodcast/

This two hour episode was recorded on Monday 21st June it is available on all popular platforms to listen online or download including Acast, TunedIn, Player.FM and ITunes

Now also on Spotify too at MOORETHANJUSTAPODCAST

Join the discussion on the MTJAP Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/moorethanjustapodcast/

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Rice books place in final sixteen

England round off their group stage campaign at Euro 2020 against Czech Republic this evening, but Declan Rice and his team mates have already qualified for the knockout stages

The Three Lions  are guaranteed to go through to the round-of-16 at Euro 2020 as one of the four best third-placed teams after Belgium beat Finland and Denmark saw off Russia in Group B.

If England top their group, they will face a last-16 tie with the runner-up from Group F, which is likely to be one of Portugal, Germany or France.

If England finish second, they will take on the runner-up from Group E, which would be any one of Sweden, Spain, Slovakia or Poland.

There are three possible scenarios for England if they finish third. For the Three Lions to finish third, it would require Czech Republic to win at Wembley and Scotland beat Croatia and overturn a poor goal difference. England currently have a goal difference of +1 while Scotland are on -2.

One scenario would see Southgate’s side face the Netherlands in Budapest on Sunday 27 June.

Another could see them take on Belgium in Seville, also on Sunday 27 June.

The final possible scenario would see England play the winners of Group E in Glasgow on Tuesday 29 June. As it stands, that could be Spain, Poland or Slovakia.

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Lingard hints at his future

Jesse Lingard has told Sky Sports  that  West Ham was a “great loan” which allowed supporters to see the “real me”.

“Regular football is the most important thing for me,” the 28-year-old told Sky Sports.

“After going on loan and getting a good run in the team, you started to see the real me, with the goals and the assists.

“I’ve never doubted my ability, I’ve always believed in myself. I spoke to the manager [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] in pre-season and said, ‘I need game time’. He said, ‘we can discuss it December time’, and we spoke again and he agreed to let me go on loan.

“I had various conversations with him during my time at West Ham. He was very supportive and it was a great loan for me.”

Claret and Hugh says:

Lingard’s latest words will give hope to many West Ham supporters that the London Stadium will be destination.  It would be surprising if  Solskjaer can guarantee his player regular football at Manchester United. If his words can be taken at face value then playing football is more important than money. It is hoped that Lingard could be available as little as £15m with wages around £80,000 per week he receives at the Manchester club.   Let’s hope he can commit to West Ham and we can get the deal done before pre-season training starts in early July. We have said consistently, like many others, that a decision to remain  at Old Trafford is hardly in his best interests and that is the way it seems his thinking is going.