Poll: Time to forgive and forget Arnautovic?

The deal for Marko Arnautovic to move to China has collapsed for now and West Ham faces the prospect of trying to integrate their striker back into the team for the remainder of the season.

The Hammers rejected a bid from China which would see them net just over £30m on the simple grounds they couldn’t fund a replacement for the same amount in the current transfer window.

Despite the statement from Arnautovic’s brother through TalkSport Manuel Pellegrini has refused to sanction any move this January and claims he dropped him from the squad at the weekend as his head was on other issues.

Although there might be a few twists and turn remaining in this tale Pellegrini, for now, faces the challenge of persuading his top goal scorer to knuckle down, train hard and score some goals for his team he used to kiss the badge and make the crossed Hammers sign.  Arnie must also repair his relationship with his teammates and the supporters if he is to stay until the summer.

In today’s Claret and Hugh poll we ask whether you are prepared to forgive and forget the antics of the Austrian striker assuming he is professional and gets on with the job he is paid handsomely to do.


Hammers respond to AC for Spurs story

West Ham have this morning denied that Spurs have shown any interest in Andy Carroll as an emergency winter signing.

The Sun had claimed that Carroll could be wanted by the north London outfit at a fee of around £2 million given a number of injuries.

Their report said that with Dele Alli crocked ,  Harry Kane already out and Son Heung-min away at the Asian Cup that Carroll is on a short list of striker to solve the crisis.

They said that an 18 month contract could be on the cards for a player whose Irons future has been on the line for months.

And they add that a fee of £2 million could be paid for a player who has just five months left on his London Stadium deal but has the chance of his option being extended.

However, when we contacted our senior source by e mail asking if there has been any contact from Spurs he simply said: “No. There’s time but at this stage there has been nothing at all from Spurs. That’s not too surprising because the have Llorente and he’s a similar player to AC


Andy Caroll rated flop in player ratings

Hammers keeper Łukasz Fabianski was the only West Ham player to score over seven in the Claret and Hugh West Ham player ratings this weekend.  With several hundred readers voting the stopper scored an average of 7.22 despite conceding two goals during the 2-0 away loss against AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

Defender Pablo Zabaleta was top of the sixes with an average score of 6.88 followed by Issa Diop 6.68, Declan Rice 6.57, Aaron Cresswell 6.35 and Angelo Ogbonna on 6.28 to complete the six scores.

Mark Noble was top of the five scores with an average of 5.98 followed by Samir Nasri 5.77, Robert Snodgrass 5.45, Felipe Andrson 5.42, Michail Antonio 5.21 and Grady Diangana on 5.18.

West Ham striker Andy Carroll was rated the biggest flop of the weekend after his awful miss in front of goal as readers gave him an average score of 3.49! This morning the Sun Newspaper has linked the 30-year-old striker to a £2m move to Spurs.



Gonzo cuts to heart of Arnie situation

The various scenarios surrounding Marko Arnauatovic are reaching Brexit levels with nobody knowing what’s going to happen next.

It appears tonight that any chance of his getting his move to China is gone with the club making it clear there’s not enough dough  on the table.

However, we all understand that things are never cut and dried in this game and with the Chinese transfer window in China set to run until the end of February anything can still happen.

Now, however, CandH partner Gonzo over at Hammers Chat – quoting every reliable source he can find, comes to his conclusions – as he  bids to cut to the heart of the issue in a well informed video.

And he makes it clear that there is far more involved in the bigger picture than perhaps we imagined and comes to a formidable opinion on where we could be striker-wise in the summer.

As ever it’s great stuff from the best vlog operator out there – give it a watch!


Irons may face five more weeks of Arnie worries

The brothers Arnautovic

West Ham re bracing themselves for ongoing issues in Danjiel Arnautovic’s bid to get his brother a move to  China.

Although Talksport – headed by the man who broke the story – Lee Clayton – claim the deal is now dead, the Hammers know that with the Chinese transfer window not closing until the end of February things may not be at an end.

And if Danijel’s past record is  any guide the Hammers know they could be facing a troublesome five weeks despite news the deal cannot be resurrected.

TalkSport – believed to have been briefed throughout by the brother/agent – said: “Arnautovic now looks set to stay at the London Stadium after the club in China decided to drop their interest having initially indicated they were prepared to offer around £45million to secure his signature.”

They added that Pellegrini is relaxed about reintegrating Marko into the squad but the Hammers still believe there may be more problems on the way from Danijel.

They are unsure what he may be ready to do but would be surprised if it is merely a case now of settling Arnie back into the squad with the Chinese window remaining open.

The agent/brother had stirred the pot when linking him with a move ahead of the window before announcing the Chinese interest.

Meanwhile, the Irons are ready for any new developments and will take a very hard line unless any deal reaches €50 million or beyond as they bid to ensure there are no repeats of the Payet affair.


Marko’s Chinese deal is off – time to heal

TalkSport is today confirming the deal for Marko Arnautovic to move to China has collapsed and is unlikely to be resurrected.

The radio station who first broke the story through their new head of the radio station Lee Clayton is now conceding the deal is dead in the water. Arnautovic was left out of the squad yesterday with Pellegrini saying the 29-year-old “has his head on another issue”.

Talksport said this morning “Arnautovic now looks set to stay at the London Stadium after the club in China decided to drop their interest having initially indicated they were prepared to offer around £45million to secure his signature.”

Marko’s brother Danijel briefed TalkSport throughout the Chinese interest in Arnautovic and it was through the radio station he later released his statement through claiming Marko wanted to win trophies in China.

Talksport says “Pellegrini now faces the difficult task of trying to reintegrate Arnautovic into his squad, although he is understood to be relaxed about the situation and retains a good relationship with the former Stoke man.”

Claret and Hugh understand that the Chinese club in question were never prepared to budge beyond their £35m offer which would cost them £70m after tax and West Ham made it clear their striker was not for sale at that price. The Hammers would have netted around £30m after giving Stoke £3m in a sell on clause and another £1.75m in a solidarity payment. West Ham believed that could not replace their top goal scorer in this winter for £30m and Pellegrini refused to sanction any move.

The big test now is whether there is a way back for Marko Arnautoivic with the manager, players and the fans?


Report: Hammers enquired about Italian bad boy

According to the Italian media outlet, TMW  Manuel Pellegrini has personally enquired understand the availability of Mario Balotelli,

The striker has not played since last December 4 after another bust-up. The Daily Mirror claims Patrick Vieira has told Balotelli that he would not be allowed to play for Nice again and banned him from the Nice training ground for refusing to commit his future to the French club.

Newcastle, Genoa and Marseille have been linked to the Nice striker in recent weeks.

Pellegrini was never given the chance to work with Mario Balotelli at Manchester City. The Maverick Italian departed the Premier League for AC Milan in January 2013, five months before Pellegrini was appointed as Roberto Mancini’s successor at the Etihad.

Claret and Hugh opinion:

Why would Pellegrini want to bring in a player with more ego and problems then Marko Arnautovic and Dimitri Payet put together? If he has refused to respect Patrick Viera and Nice, why would Manuel Pellegrini and West Ham get any more respect? Despite his ability on the pitch Balotelli comes with so much baggage he would need a team of  porters to help him bring it back to England. His disruption in the dressing room could be more harmful than his contribution on the pitch and in my view, it is a gamble and a risk not worth taking. We want players who want to play for the West Ham badge and want to progress the club as a team effort not pander one player’s ego or demands. I am hoping that this speculation is yet another recycled story from foreign media looking to fill column inches. Balotelli has little to offer us than potential problems!


Perez mystery absence explained

Lucas Perez was absent from the West Ham 18 man squad yesterday but the striker is not suffering from a new injury.  The 30-year-old was dropped by Manuel Pellegrini unimpressed with the way he trained during the week.

Asked about Perez’s absence by reporters post-match Pellegrini answered “Same as Marko, I chose the 18 players that were better during the week.”

Real Betis remain keen on signing Lucas Perez from West Ham claim Estadio Deportivo

Betis want a loan with an option to buy while West Ham has demanded any loan came with a compulsory transfer deal in the summer. West Ham wants £4m for the striker they purchased for the same fee with £880,000 as an upfront payment.

Spanish publication AS  has reported that Perez is also an ‘option’ for Barcelona. Ernesto Valverde is looking for a backup for Luis Suarez say AS with only one remaining out-and-out striker at Camp Nou.

Perez has managed two goals in 10 Premier League appearances for West Ham this season.

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Hammers linked to new striker target

West Ham are today linked with a new striker target – Nigerian striker Josh Maja.

According to the Mirror, the Hammers are one of a number of Premier League clubs ready to move for the 20 year old who is out of contract in June.

But they will face stiff competition from Spurs, Man City, Wolves and Palace who are all credited with an interest along with a number of Nundesliga outfits.

He is Sunderland’s top scorer in the league and tallied his 16th goal of the season as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Scunthorpe United on Saturday.
According to some reports The Black Cats have the intention of selling Maja within the next eleven days or risk losing him for a little compensation in the summer.

ClaretandHugh says: Sixteen goals at league One level hardly seems what the Hammers require as they seek striker reinforcements this winter. And despite the mention of the Black Cats being ready to sell the striker that may be somewhat over cooked. The Mackems have suffered the worst possible situation over recent seasons and are desperate for a return to the Championship this season. Currently they sit in third place in League One with a game in hand on both Luton and Portsmouth. It seems to us that the striker’s prolific strike rate may be sufficient to see him do very well at the second level and it seems more likely the club will be trying to negotiate a new deal rather than sell for around the £5 million mentioned in this report which, after all buys very litle in the current market. At this stage a Premier League move looks unlikely.
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Arnautovic “refused to travel” claim

Marko Arnautovic’s absence from the Hammers team yesterday remains an intense topic of conversation and there may be more to things that initially met the eye.

For Hammers former boss Harry Redknapp said on BT Sport that his information was the player had made it clear he wouldn’t travel to Bournemouth yesterday.

Redknapp said: “I’d heard he refused to travel.”

The club, however, continued to insist this morning the player was excluded by boss Manuel Pellegrini after assessing his attitude during the week.

We were told on the phone after Redknapp’s words had been reported: “Every decision concerning Marko and every other player is down to the manager. It was his decision.

“The facts are that he made his decision based on what he had seen and heard after a number of talks with the player.”

The Hammers, however, have made it clear that as things stand there can be no transfer at the fee offered from China which would see them net a profit of around £10 million on the player.

However, this one is set to run right up to deadline day and there are no givens in these situations although the club are unwilling to let him go until they find a suitable replacement.