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Defender now tipped to move on in the summer

The General available for Tuesday

Fabian Balbuena is understood to have made his mind up over his future and will move on from the club this summer..

We understand that following reports of various clubs being interested in the Paraguayan, the central defender now believes his future will lie elsewhere.

Almeida claims there are four teams interested in the West Ham centre back this summer in the form of Internacional, Flamengo, a team from Saudi Arabia and a team from MLS.

He joined the Hammers back in summer of 2018 for around 6.5 million.

The central defender has spent three years at the club thus far, having moved from Brazilian club Corinthians in 2018 for £6.5m.

Given his relative lack of minutes this season, with David Moyes instead choosing to use Craig Dawson alongside Angelo Ogbonna, there was interest in tempting him away from the London Stadium

His time at the club has been pretty mixed and it was felt that under Moyes he was initially likely to be moved on.

But he battled his way back for a run of games before finding himself again down the pecking order and is unlikely to sign a new deal with the club.

“The players who took my place are doing quite well,” he told Versus Radio recently.

“When things are like this, you have to work hard and wait for an opportunity to present itself again.”

Balbuena was linked with Lazio during the January window but remained at West Ham.

Now according o Pedro Almeida, Balbuena has made up his mind and decided he wants a return to Brazil.


“The player prefers a return to Brazil,” Almeida said on Twitter.



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Blind Hammer wants action not words a big problem



By David Griffith

Football administration is notorious for sitting on their hands unless it is a question of raking in the big bucks.

The inaction and lethargy they have applied to the question of brain injury in football is unforgiveable. The damage done by repeated blows to the head is no longer a mystery. the unequivocal evidence is in.

This issue has gained higher profile because five members of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team, including our own Martin Peters, have sadly developed dementia.

Unprotected heading of the ball, especially through hours of training during the week, alongside the hurly burly of matches is avoidably harming the brains of men playing football right now.

This is happening not just at the elite level but at all levels of the sport. In normal non lockdown times this damage would be happening at our schools, playgrounds and parks as well.

Now yet another talking shop has been announced. A parliamentary inquiry into the link between sport and long-term brain injury is being launched on Wednesday.
MPs will consider yet again, the links between head trauma and dementia, and how risks can be mitigated.

Yet this is no mystery requiring long hours of deliberation. 2 years ago, Canadian researchers showed how protective headgear could protect footballers from much of the impact of heading the ball.

Only a couple of weeks ago a BBC World Service documentary on Concussion in Sport, in their Fixing the World series, showed how protective headgear in a variety of sports, including football, could significantly reduce the risk of injury to the brain.

Forehead straps with crystal technology can provide a soft protective covering which, when coming into contact with the ball causes the crystals to instantly harden and provide protection to the brain.

Footballers like to think they are tough, but the reality is that their brains are soft, and floating in jelly. Every time they take a blow to the head they are shaking this soft brain in this jelly against the hard confines of their skulls. Each blow is potentially causing incremental or, in the worst case, catastrophic harm.

Footballers at all levels should be required to wear protective forehead straps now. For once we should use a precautionary principle now rather than sitting on our hands.

If youngsters see the stars they adore wearing the forehead straps in their team colours they will become as keen to wear these as they are to wear their club shirts.

A generation of younger sports fans will then avoid injury.

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Leeds look to end London horror shows

Leeds have every reason to be seriously worried as they approach their fifth game in London this season.

So far they have lost every one of their four previous games and are currently reported to be carrying eight injuries.

The Yorkshire outfit have been beaten 4-1 at Selhurst Park, 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, 3-0 at Spurs and 4-2 at Arsenal this season.

It’s a terrible record for a team sitting in 11th place during their first season back ay the top level and they have also, of course been beaten 2-1 by the Hammers at Elland Road.

On top of that they have a horrific injury list with Kalvin Phillips suffering a calf problem, Rodrigo – groin , Pascal Struijk – unspecified, Jamie Shackleton – groin , Ian Poveda – ankle , Robin Koch – knee , Gaetano Berardi – ACL injury and  Adam Forshaw – hip injury

The Hammers meanwhile are in good nick with Lukasz Fabianski being expected back after injuring an arm in training with Angelo Ogbonna their only other problem.


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Irons face En-Nesyri competition

West Ham are facing competition for the signing of Youssef En-Nesyri from Borussia Dortmund, according to Eurosport.

The German club are preparing for life after young striking sensation Erling Haaland, who is being watched by the biggest clubs in Europe.

As a result, they are casting their net far and wide as they seek a replacement and En-Nesyri appears to have caught their eye.

The Hammers were heavily linked with a move for the Sevilla striker in the January transfer window, with the club even confirming that a bid was lodged and rejected.

It remains to be seen if the Irons will attempt to negotiate a deal in the summer but it appears that Dortmund may be flush with cash from the sale of the Norway international.

Haaland has been in unbelievable form this season and has scored 17 goals in 18 Bundesliga games; he is just 20.

If En-Nesyri does end up moving to Germany, he’ll have some giant boots to fill!

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‘Psycho:’ “Jesse has fitted straight in with the boys”

Stuart Pearce is a fully paid up member of the Jesse Lingard fan club.

And it’s pretty clear that apart from believing he could make it back into the England squad, as a result of his form with the Irons, he wants the 28 year old at the Hammers permanently.

Already the “will he won’t he ” join the club chat has started and from the noises coming from the backroom team it seems obvious that he is wanted as a permanent signing next season.

Pearce has been talking up the midfielder’s England chances but the most important aspect of his interview on talkSPORT was that the player has settled into the club to the manner born.

I for one am backing him to join the club as I think it would be difficult for members of the management team to give this kind of interview were they not to be doing all they can to make him a permanent fixture at the London Stadium.

Pearce, speaking to Talksport today, believes that is something Lingard should be looking to achieve in the next few months.

He’s come and given us another dimension. He’s got a great bubbly personality and he’s fitted straight in with the boys,” Pearce said.

“I’d be delighted if Jesse’s form at our club managed to get him into the international fold again, that would be brilliant.”
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Irons striker target won’t come cheap as rivals emerge

West Ham will have rivals in Southampton for Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham this summer.

The Hammers are determined to find a striker besides doing their utmost to bring in Jesse Lingard but the south coast side are also keen.

There’s a snag in that the Chelsea’s £80k a week wages could cause a little dressing room unrest but the Hammers will push on with their plans should Chelsea decide to sell.

It’s being reported the player has no intention of signing a new deal with the south west London outfit beyond 2023.

And according to The Athletic he won’t come cheap should Stamford Bridge boss Thomas Tuchel decide to cash in  on him in the summer to try and get the best fee possible, rather than see his value drop as his contract runs down.

And we understand that both ourselves and Saints have made preliminary inquiries about the players availability.

With  Olivier Giroud, Timo Werner, and Kai Havertz as attacking options it seems reasonable to assume that the Blues may be ready to do a deal.


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Bill Gardner: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Bill Gardner’s childhood in 1950’s East London was plagued by chronic vulnerability, due to shocking parental abuse. He endured relentless school bullying, unbearable solitude, mental health problems and homelessness by the age of 14.

No value, no self-respect, no self-worth. However, between the late ’60s and the early ’80s Bill had changed. He was now acknowledged by peers, and the authorities alike, as British football’s ‘public enemy number one’, as the terrace movement reached its most savage.

Following his terrace ‘retirement’, his depiction in acclaimed movies including ‘Cass’ and ‘Rise of the Footsoldier’, alongside his citation in books, blogs and social media, fueled a celebrity status he never craved.

Autograph hunters had become selfie-seekers, and his terrace activities the stuff of legend. Yet, until now, only the closest of the close have known the real Bill Gardner, the one-time shy teen who craved acceptance from the ‘West Ham family’ – in his words, “the only family I ever had”.

Bill often wore a metaphoric mask in battle, and now even expresses certain degrees of regret. For the first and final time, Bill Gardner: The Man, The Myth, The Legend peels away that mask to reveal how a tragic past led to a ferocious future.

As ever, Bill recalls this ‘nature vs nurture’ struggle in a brutally honest way.

Available in paperback from Amazon for £8.12 HERE

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London Stadium on Euro tournament standby

The London Stadium is on standby with Euro 2020 chiefs who are said to have ‘welcomed’ England’s bid to stage the entire tournament.

The Euros are currently scheduled to be staged in 12 countries across Europe but there are doubts as to the viability of the plan amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The UK’s vaccine rollout has put them ahead of their counterparts on the continent and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has offered to host the summer competition outright.

As things stand, Wembley is due to stage seven matches including all three of England’s group games, a last-16 clash, both semi-finals and the final.

UEFA will confirm the schedule for the Euros next month but will insist on any and all host countries committing to having fans inside venues

And that could open the door to England playing a greater part, with tournament chiefs said to be grateful for the offer.

If England was to stage the Euros in full, the other stadiums reportedly being lined up to host matches are Old Trafford, Villa Park, St James’ Park, the Etihad, the Stadium of Light, Anfield, the London Stadium, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the Emirates.

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Former Hammer poised for Watford

Former Hammer Carlos Sanchez is in discussions with Watford about a possible move to the club for the remainder of the season.

The Watford Observer say they understand that the Colombian, who has been without a club since June after leaving West Ham, is being considered as an option to bolster the Hornets’ midfield at least until the end of the season.

Nothing has been agreedand it is understood that the 35-year-old  free agent would likely be invited to train with the club initially before any commitments were made.

Sources close to the player have told the Watford Observer the player is interested in making the move.

As well as playing for West Ham, Sanchez also has experience of playing in England with Aston Villa, where he played from 2014-2017.

Sanchez joined the Hammers on a free transfer in the summer of 2019 under Manuel Pellegrini signed a two-year deal. Having made just six appearances, in September 2018 he injured his knee in an EFL Cup game against Macclesfield Town requiring knee surgery.

He returned to the first team in May 2019, playing in the 3–0 home win against Southampton. In June 2020, West Ham confirmed his departure from the club at the end of the month.



Man U and Rovers face price tag reality checks on Lingard and Armstrong

Having seen the prices being reported as required for Jesse Lingard and Adam Armstrong selling clubs suffer a reality check this summer.

What they want and what they get are entirely different things with the Financial Times reporting we are in the middle of the worst recession in 300 years.

West Ham’s experience with Seb Haller is one example; a player who arrived for €45 million was eventually sold for £20 million in the covid market.

More significantly perhaps is that the 19 Premier League clubs spent a total of £70 million in January – £5 million less than Liverpool spent in buying Virgil van Dijk a couple of years or so back.

Manchester United may well be hoping for £20 million-plus for Lingard and he may be worth it but there was no other interest than ours in January and a few decent games are unlikely to see clubs rushing to pay anything up to the £30 million the Red Devils may believe they will get via an auction!

We are talking about a guy who has just one year left on his contract – thus the price is unrealistically high as a result of those various factors.

And Blackburn’s apparent hopes that £25 million is on the cards for Armstrong brings back memories of Burnley’s dreams for James Tarkowski who was nowhere near worth the reported £50 million they were after – and that was in a non-covid market.

That Rovers boss Tony Mowbray is already making it clear they will let him go suggests certain financial desperation at Ewood Park!

Whether fans want to believe or not that covid won’t have any effect or not is one thing – the reality was seen in January with that humble £70 million being spent across all clubs.

Nothing much will have changed come summer other than the minds of club bosses when the offers come in from clubs who – like all other business – have suffered very badly indeed over the last year.

Reality check time will soon be at hand!