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Mike Dean back with the Hammers!

Mike Dean has been appointed as the referee for West Ham’s clash with Leeds United on Monday night.

It will mark the first time Dean has refereed a Hammers game since that clash with Fulham when he sent off Tomas Soucek for an apparent elbow on Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Dean even went to the VAR screen and inexplicably watched an accident take place, before producing the red card and sending the Czech international off.

The ref asked to be taken off duty after the game, which also followed another poor decision when he showed a red card to Southampton defender Jan Bednarek.

Both of those decisions were overturned on appeal and Dean cited death threats for his reason to be left out of refereeing appointments.

He returned last weekend to ref Burnley against West Brom, which ended in a goalless draw and again saw Dean show a red card, this time to defender Semi Ajayi. He was in charge of Newcastle’s draw with Wolves at the weekend.

Dean will be the man in the middle on Monday so it remains to be seen if there is any controversy there!

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Haller lifts lid on Hammers exit

Seb Haller admits he is “frustrated” with his spell at West Ham and admits that the price paid for him was an albatross around his neck.

The Frenchman arrived for a club-record £45m fee.

But he struggled and scored just 14 goals in 53 games for the club following his arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt.

Prior to his January exit, he netted just three goals in 16 games and his move to the Dutch club netted the Irons around £20m.

He has spoken to talkSPORT about his time at the club, in quotes transcribed by the London Evening Standard, and admits that he was left hugely disappointed with the way his spell at the Irons panned out.

He said: “Usually I am never looking back, no regrets. Of course I feel frustrated because it is like I left without finishing something. That is a bad feeling.

“Of course when people are talking about the price tag every day they are waiting every day for something for this money. You can do nothing about this price, it is the price tag you have on your back for all your West Ham career. People will see you with another view, they expect even more from you than someone else.

“It was really frustrating to see games coming and no goals, sometimes not involved. The stats are something but I had the feeling that I couldn’t find a perfect place on the pitch. The feeling that sometimes you don’t understand or cannot anticipate what your partner will do. It was really strange.”

The Hammers are now on course to qualify for European competition, as they currently sit in the top four, and Haller admits he is excited by the prospect of the club securing a finish in the top four.

He added: “We knew the potential was there, the guys have made incredible work.

“I really hope that they will finish in the Champions League spots. It will be amazing for the club, fans and players. They deserve this.”

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Leeds duo return but key injury problems

Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United had a big boost yesterday when seeing two key players return for injury.

Both Gaetano Berardi and Ian Poveda returned from injury and were involved in the under 23 squad against Crystal Palace.

That has put them in line for the match against West Ham next Monday night although both or either are probably likely to be on the bench rather than the starting line up.

Berardi played 45 minutes whilst Poveda was an unused substitute.

However, it’s  cold comfort for Bielsea who currently has the likes of Robin Koch, Adam Forshaw, Kalvin Phillips, Rodrigo Moreno and Jamie Shackleton all currently out injured.

That gives the Hammers a chance of registering a double over a team currently in 11th place with 35 points but who have only managed one win in their last four.

A win would see the Irons completing their third ‘double’ of the season having beaten Villa and Sheffield United both home and away.

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Rovers boss ready to let Irons target leave

Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray has admitted that he will not stand in the way of Adam Armstrong if the Hammers target is the subject of a big bid in the summer.

The Irons have repeatedly been linked with the Rovers striker, who has been in electric form for the Championship club.

Armstrong has scored 19 goals in 31 games in the second-tier, but the club are a way off the play-offs and are unlikely to be back in the Premier League next season.

Reports earlier this week claimed Blackburn had placed a £25m asking price on Armstrong, with the Daily Mail claiming that news had struck a blow to the Irons’ hopes of signing him.

But Mowbray has now claimed that he will not be the man to stop Armstrong moving to the Premier League if a bid comes across his desk, in what could be a boost for the Irons.

Quoted by the Lancashire Telegraph, he said: “Of course, if the Premier League comes calling I would never try and deny a player the chance to go and play in the Premier League as long as the club is recompensed correctly for the value we thought and what we could reinvest.

“That’s a potential scenario. The other scenario is that he stays, signs a new deal and scores loads and loads of goals and helps us get to the Premier League.

“Footballers and the power they have, they can sort of dictate a little bit of course. Let’s wait and see.”

Mowbray does admit, though, that Armstrong would be “quite expensive” to sign in the summer.

He added: “Let’s see what time brings. He’s not the only asset we’ve got at this club, I think we’ve got three or four really good assets that would be quite expensive in the market.

“Hopefully they all want to stay and help this club get to where we want to get to.”

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United hope for a £20 million plus Lingard auction

The picture we are all waiting to see this summer

Manchester United are this morning reported as being likely to want more than £20 million for Jesse Lingard.

The Old Trafford club – despite not using the 28 year old last season -appear to have high hopes that they can cash in big time on the attacking midfielder.

And that represents something of a cleft stick for the Irons who, whilst wanting him at his absolute best for the rest of the campaign, know what that will mean – other clubs will be watching closely.

The Sun claim that United will want in excess of £20 million for a player who has scored three goals and registered an assist for us since he arrived.

But clearly there’s little difference now to what there was when the £20 million was first mentioned with the Reds simply hoping that interest fromother clubs will set up an auction.

However, it’s significant perhaps that no other club came in for him when he was available in the winter and, given his special relationship with David Moyes, the Irons would remain strong favourites to sign him

The future is really in Lingard’s hands anyway for with just a year left on his deal it’s for him to decide which club he wants to join and hopefully will insist that’s the Hammers.

The Sun claims the Red Devils weren’t interested in a permanent transfer in January.

According to Eurosport, the Hammers were hoping to include a £15m option to buy in the deal, in addition to the £1.5m loan fee.

But they claim that United turned their nose up at the offer, as club chiefs ‘knew’ that Lingard was capable of his current stunning form.

Lingard’s contract had been set to expire at the end of this season.

But the Red Devils triggered an option to extend it by a further year back in December.

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City’s water under bridge – now we need a Bielsa double

 

 

By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings

 

West Ham’s performance against Champions elect Manchester City on Saturday attracted universal praise – and rightly so!

David Moyes’ team came within a whisker of picking up a creditable point at the Etihad Stadium, a reward that would not have been out of place for the effort they put in on the day.

But that’s water under the bridge now, and top priority now for Moyes’ boys is the visit of Leeds United next Monday, which in its own way could be a pivotal game in our season and could provie us with a double over the Yorkshire outfit

Your last game counts for little if next time out you don’t perform. The performance against City was excellent – but fruitless in terms of points.

The points against Leeds, first and foremost, will be paramount next Monday – however they come!

By the time we play Marcelo Bielsa’s side, the Hammers could find themselves a good few places off the lofty fourth spot we currently occupy in the Premier League.

That’s because several of our closest rivals have midweek games to play – and possibly benefit from – and will also have played their weekend matches before we take to the London Stadium pitch.

It’s just the way the fixtures have fallen. Of course we will have benefitted from a nine day break – virtually unheard of in these hectic times – but the downside might be our enforced inactivity could produce the psychological disadvantage of seeing ourselves suddenly elbowed out of those coveted European places.

It’s nothing three valuable points won’t go towards re-addressing though, by 10pm next Monday evening.

Bielsa’s Leeds are a very different proposition to Pep Guardiola’s City though. They will be far more direct and in our faces.

Bielsa’s is something of a pin-up with the football pundits this season – a tactical genius some suggest. But from what I’ve seen it’s more about energy, work rate and enthusiasm, rather than tactics, that’s made them such an entertaining watch.

They score goals regularly – but they also concede them at a hefty rate. Only West Bromwich Albion with 55 goals against, have conceded more than Leeds’ 44 goals this season.

Michail Antonio, with a goal in each of his comeback games, will no doubt believe he has an opportunity to continue that good form. It’s likely that Moyes will revert to a back four instead of a five for this one, with more emphasis on exploiting the Yorkshire side’s vulnerability at the back. The 2-1 victory we picked up at Elland Road earlier in the season (without Micky), was a thoroughly professional display, and saw possibly Said Benrahma’s best performance so far. It could be our Algerian international will feature prominently again in a more attack-minded line-up.

It would make for great TV to go head-to-head with Leeds and put on a show for the cameras. But David Moyes will know his first duty is to secure the points, banish last weekend’s reverse to the history books, and get the West Ham bandwagon rolling again!

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Big challenges for Moyes and board this summer

West Ham will be desperate to see departures from the club this summer as they look to raise £50 million to buy two key players.

It’s well known that Felipe Anderson and Manu Lanzini are at the top of that list with Andriy Yarmolenko an obvious candidate for the exit door.

And with the prices being quoted by clubs for players there will need to be a big climb down by selling outfits to see prediction of a flat post covid market become reality.

Manchester United are reported to want £20 million for ‘must have’ midfielder Jesse Lingard whilst Blackburn Rovers apparently want £5 million more than that for striker Adam Armstrong.

Ideally, we would probably require a second striker give Mikey Antonio hits his 31st birthday on the 28th of this month with the hamstrings still seen as an issue.

It’s very hard to see how Anderson will raise more that £20 million given his dreadful loan spell in Portugal.

And Lanzini’s value is probably closer to £15 million with Yarmolenko less than £10 million given his injury record.

David Moyes’ record of find top quality cut price players will be tested to the limits, as will be the board’s resources, but with Europe on our agenda or not, additions to the squad will be essential to the current squad.

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Gutted Declan on massive Irons improvement

West Ham boss David Moyes made it clear when he arrived for his second spell in charge that the priorities for him were absolutely clear.

He was determined to build a consistent West ham – a team we could rely on and not be wondering which side was going to turning from week to week.

Among the many achievements of this amazing season THAT has been the No 1 with the performance at Manchester City proving the point as conclusively as it could have done.

Defeat, yes, but honour and pride in a performance from which the boys really should have taken something.

Declan knows just how much has changed at this club ad has spoken about the dressing room reaction to a defeat which left us all close to devastated rather than resigned.

We only have to cast our minds back to the horrible five goal defeats by Guardiola’s side to understand where weh have come from and where we could now be goig.

Speaking to West Ham TV Dec said: “I thought you saw a different West Ham, one which was confident and really believed they could take it to City.

We had so many good chances and it was one of those that when you come back to the changing room you’re gutted. I’m hurt and I’m gutted.

To have got three points would have been unbelievable but to not get at least a point was so unlucky.

A year ago we had games when we were good, then games when we were poor. Now you can see our performances week in, week out – we are leaving everything on the pitch.

You saw Vlad Coufal at the end with his hands on his head. The lads were gutted in the changing room. Something’s really changed and things are improving.”

 

 

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Report: Hammers could move for Chelsea striker

West Ham could move for Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham according to ta report in the Daily Telegraph

The article says there will be a host of clubs including Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and potentially also Liverpool and Spurs, looking his availability this summer.

Outside the traditional big clubs, West Ham, Leicester City, Brighton and Southampton have also been linked.

Abraham has made it consistently clear that he ideally wants to stay at Chelsea, where he graduated from the academy, and become the club’s recognised striker for the rest of his career. But the club is yet to make a solid commitment to him, aside from activating the one-year extension option on his last contract that saw his wages increase to around £80,000-a-week.

That is below the market rate for an England international striker and some way short of the £120,000-a-week contract Chelsea handed to Callum Hudson-Odoi in September 2019 to help fight off interest from Bayern Munich.

Tuchel’s handling of him so far would suggest the German is currently unsure of Abraham’s ability, despite the fact he is Chelsea’s top scorer.

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West Ham accounts delayed

West Ham would usually have a deadline from Companies house to publish their financial accounts this week or face a fine.

All UK private companies are required to publish their accounts nine months after their year-end

In the case of West Ham that financial year ended on 31st May 2020 way before the season ended last year on 26th July.

The accounts will show the first impact of COVID on the Hammers finances but we may have to wait another three months to find out.

In response to the pandemic, Companies House has allowed any company to delay their publication of accounts by a further three months.

Should West Ham’s parent company ‘WH Holding’ decide to take full advantage of this temporary regulation they can delay publication until 1st June 2021.

Last year the club published 30th January and in some years they have been published as early as December the previous year.

The Hammers are thought to have lost at least £40m last season as the virus took its toll with supporters banned from the London Stadium after February.