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Marko Arnautovic bid update

Claret and Hugh Exclusive by Sean Whetstone and Hugh Southon

Reports that West Ham have accepted a £45m bid for Marko Arnautovic have been dismissed by senior club insiders who have revealed the only bid on the table is the one originally received.

That was from  Guangzhou Evergrande who have offered €40 million and who, according to CandH sources are refusing to budge from that.

Graeme Baily writing in the Gambling Times claimed that West Ham had agreed a deal worth £45million for Marko Arnautovic with Shanghai SIPG – but the transfer has stalled.

And he added:  “Issues have arisen as West Ham have a problem with a number of things including agents fees, whilst the move is also complicated by the fact Stoke City are owed a percentage of the deal. The deal has now hit the rocks, and as it stands is not going ahead. But Arnautovic himself is far from pleased that the move has hit an impasse with personal terms of over £220,00-a-week all but agreed.”

A senior club insider speaking via E-Mail to us confirmed the €40m  (£35m) offer but said Guangzhou Evergrande will offer no more.

Stoke would receive £3m as part of a 20% sell on clause and a a further 5% (£1.75m)  is paid as a solidarity fee to the Premier League towards helping lower division football.

FIFA rules state that if a transfer occurs between different jurisdictions when a player is in contract, 5% of the transfer fee is distributed pro rata to all clubs involved in his training since the season of his 12th birthday.

The current deal means the Hammers would net around £30m which is £10m more than they paid for him.


Kind words from Pelle but AC’s days look done

Manuel Pellegrini saw the Hammers miss out on the chance to go seventh but suggested the lads may have deserved more than they got on the south coast this afternoon (Sat).

He said: “Of course we are disappointed about the result. It was a very close game in the first 45 minutes, and in the second half we had a clear opportunity to score the first goal.

“We didn’t and then they scored a beautiful goal, but one which had a lot of luck too because the rebound came in exactly the position for their player to shoot.

“We had a reaction, but we couldn’t score and if you can’t score you don’t win the game. We are disappointed about that because this was our opportunity to go to seventh in the table, but football is like that.

Maybe sometimes you play games in which you deserve a better result, but you don’t get it.”

Andy Carroll had our best chance to score when ballooning the ball over the top from all of two yards but the manager refused to criticise him.

Instead he said: “Andy had a very clear chance, but he has had a long time without playing and it is not easy for a player to recover immediately.

“He is working hard and I’m sure that he will improve game-by-game.”

ClaretandHugh says: It’s usually very easy to accept Pellegrini’s appraisal of a game but he left one big unanswered question in his post match presser today – how he can see Andy Carroll ever becoming part of the way he wants to play the game. It now seems unlikely that Arnautovic will solve his problems with the club although we can all hope! But to be saying it’s not easy for today’s replacement  to recover from a long absence  and offering that as a reason why the striker missed from two yards really is a bit rich. He should have buried the chance – end of. What was equally as worrying was that he was unable to become the focal point of the attack and turn onto the final ball as it is played in. That’s simply not his game and Pellegrini knows it as well as any of us. It’s a problem I believe he will solve as I believe in the man but how you change the whole offensive game in less than 24 hours when your main striker starts acting up I really don’t know. What I do know is that the manager was protecting AC from yet more criticism and that’s admirable. Sadly for Andy I think his words were solely for public consumption and that the big fella is coming towards the end of his West Ham days. 

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PlayerWatch close up on Ogbonna


ClaretandHugh’s PlayerWatch reporter Danny Leach took a close up look at Angelo Ogbonna as he continues to operate at central defence following Fabian Balbuena’s injury.


28 – Headers a wayward Bournemouth long ball to Cresswell

33 – Clears away an attempted through ball into our box by King

37 – Is beaten for pace by Wilson on the right wing but Rice is there to recover the ball for his team mate and he plays it back to Fabianski

46 – A foul is awarded against him after grappling Wilson

66 – Makes a goal saving block as Fraser slides the ball across the box

74 – Blocks a Brooks cross on the edge of the area on the left hand side

77 – Tussles with Brooks in the area to shield the ball out for a West Ham goal kick

80 – Forces Brooks to play the ball out for a goal kick

89 – Blocks a potent through ball into the box by Fraser

Verdict – 8 Despite the result it was a highly impressive performance today by Ogbonna who is having a good run in the team in the absence of Balbuena. He partners very naturally with Diop and throughout the game he made many very important blocks and tackles. His distribution from the back was also to a good standard today. Possibly he could have done more to block Wilson’s goal at 1-0 but that would be very harsh criticism to what was a spectacular effort. Balbuena will have a tough act to follow when he returns from injury.


How we rated the Irons at Bournemouth


Hugh hands out his marks


Fabianski: Three or four top class saves and another fine performance but no chance whatsoever with the goals 

Zaba: Top class covering, tackling and got forward with real purpose. Like wine, gets better with age 8

Diop: Very good display despite the speed of Bournemouth’s counter attacks 7

Ogbonna: Looked a tad fortunate to get away with a penalty shout but a consistent display 7

Cresswell: Defended really well and beginning to recapture that offensive form 7

Noble: Some great passing, broke up play and did all he could to get things moving 7

Rice: Perhaps not quite at his usual high standard and was caught in midfield in first half for an attack that could have easily led to a goal. 7

Nasri: Did nothing wrong and saw one shot fly inches wide but no serious impact 6

Antonio: Bags of enthusiasm but unable to create any real chance against a decent defensive set up 6

Anderson: Another one of those frustrating displays – plenty of promise, some careless passing and no real end product 5

Carroll: One terrible miss from two yards out and little else to speak of 2


Snodgrass: The usual high energy performance but maybe needs to shoot a bit more. Just ok 5

Hernandez: One shot from outside the area easily collected – looked a better bet than Carroll but that wasn’t hard 4

Diangana: Tried hard at the end but never really made an impression 4



Hammers slide to defeat ‘double’ on south coast

Bournemouth 2 Irons 0

The skipper did well in midfield despite a disappointing result

West Ham were never truly on the pace this afternoon with Marko Arnautovic’s absence clearly costing them as they failed to score against Bournemouth for the first time.

And this defeat means the Cherries completed a double over the Irons with Callum Wilson scoring his sixth goal against us for the first, with King adding the second in injury time.

Despite the Hammers having plenty of possession during a well fought second half we didn’t create enough genuine chances and Bournemouth were always intensely dangerous on the counter.

But for Fabianski getting a touch Wilson would have had  a second goal as the ball was instead diverted by our keeper onto the post.

But our real problem was the inability of Andy Carroll to do an Arnautovic by turning inside and getting onto the last pass…not his fault because it’s simply not his game. He’s a target man.

It meant however, that the tam’s attacking modus operandi was disturbed by the Austrian’s absence and maybe the hustle and bustle of Antonio would have been a better option with Hernandez – who looked lively when he arrived as a second half sub – a better bet.

Carroll was guilty of a terrible second half miss when from two yards out he managed to balloon the ball way over the bar whilst, beyond that, Fabianski had to make a couple of superb saves.

The Cherries were the most dangerous team on the break and one was left with the overall impression that if Arnautovic’s day is done we really do need to find a new way of playing up front.

At the back Zaba was magnificent along with Diop whilst in midfield Mark Noble provided some real srive, passing ability and strong tackling.

At the end of it all the defeat – deeply disappointing though it was – did us little damage in terms of league position with the team slipping into tenth place from ninth.

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Please give us your West Ham ratings

Please vote with your personal ratings for West Ham players who played for ten minutes or more in the AFC Bournemouth v West Ham at the London Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Please only vote if you watched the game yourself and select a numerical score between one and ten where one is low and ten is high. Please leave scores blank for any players who didn’t play or played under ten minutes.

Any entries containing players who didn’t play will be deleted as will any entries with all tens or all ones.

Once we have collated all the entries we will reveal the results by publishing the number of valid responses together with the mean average of each West Ham player who played ten minutes or more.

Thank you for taking part in the Claret and Hugh West Ham player ratings. Please enter your scores on the link below:



Pellegrini makes one change

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has announced his lineup and makes one change to the team that beat Arsenal last weekend at the London Stadium. Andy Carroll replaces Marko Arnautovic with Javier Hernandez on the bench after recovering from his injury.

West Ham United: Fabianski, Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Rice, Nasri, Antonio, Anderson, Carroll.

Subs: Adrian, Masuaku, Obiang, Snodgrass, Diangana, Chicharito, Xande Silva

Kick off is 3pm at the Vitality Stadium with 1,325 travelling West Ham fans in attendance.

West Ham have never failed to score in their 12 previous meetings with Bournemouth in all competitions, netting 25 goals in total.

Both teams have scored in all five meetings between Bournemouth and West Ham in Bournemouth in all competitions, with each side winning once (D3). Bournemouth have conceded 14 goals in their four Premier League games since Christmas – more than any other side in the  Premier League in that time.

Come on You Irons!

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Hammers striker join Spanish club on loan

Toni Martinez will spend the remainder of the 2018/19 campaign on loan with Spanish La Liga 2 side Lugo the club have announced.

The 21-year-old striker makes the move after being recalled from his loan at fellow second tier team Rayo Majadahonda, where he spent the first half of this campaign  Martinez played 18 times for Majadahonda, scoring twice in their first ever campaign at La Liga 2 level, adding to the experience gained from his loan at Real Valladolid last term. Lugo are currently 14th in the La Liga 2 table and take on Malaga this Saturday.

Earlier this week another Hammer, Sead Haksabanovic joined the Swedish side on loan until the end of the season with an option to buy after cutting short his season-long loan deal with Spanish side Malaga.

The young winger managed to make just two appearances for Malaga in the second division of Spanish football in the first half of the season.

The 19-year-old said ” I chose IFK Norrkoping because I think Norrkoping play the finest football in Sweden, That’s why I chose IFK, I want to play football. It feels good. I have known Jens since my time in Halmstad and I believe a lot in him and he believes in me. I look forward to this, it will be fun.I look forward to playing matches in front of the fans, winning matches and having fun with the team.”


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Hammers fans in defiant mood to face Bournemouth

Over 52% of 1,200 West Ham supporters polled believe that the Hammers will win on the south coast this afternoon, another 35% of Claret and Hugh readers are expecting a draw while less than 12% of fans expect an away loss for the Irons at Bournemouth.

Bookies make West Ham odds of 2/1 for the win while Bournemouth are favourites at 6/5, the draw is priced at 5/2.

Chicharito is 9/2 for first goal scorer with Andy Carroll 5/1, Anderson 8/1 and Nasri 11/1

You can get 40/1 for Declan Rice to score his second goal in two games to become the first goalscorer again today.

For correct scores a 1-0 West Ham win is 12/1, a 2-0 win is  20/1 and a 3-0 win 40/1.  A 5-0 win is 100/1. Due to a limited allocation only 1,325 West Ham fans will be making the trip to South coast today and each of those required 36 priority points or more.

Full Claret and Hugh Poll Results: 1,209 votes  West Ham win 639 (52.69%) Bournemouth win 145 (11.99%) Draw 427 (35.32%)

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Antonio’s banter with Emery

Hammer Michail Antonio poked fun at the Arsenal manager posting a photo of himself with Unai Emery in the background at the London Stadium. Emery appeared to be frozen in a hilarious John Travolta dance seventies dance pose.  Antonio said on Twitter “Last week we had the Arsenal manager dancing, let’s add a cherry on top!”

Manual Pellegrini and his team will be hoping to prove that the club is bigger than one man and they can still score goals and win despite the absence of their top goalscorer Marko Arnautovic.

There have been 28 goals in the seven previous Premier League encounters – four goals per game on average. Bournemouth have lost 11 of their last 14 matches in all competitions, winning twice. The Cherries have conceded a league-high 103 goals since the start of last season. West Ham are next on the list with 100. Only Liverpool and Manchester United have earned more points since the start of December than West Ham’s 19.