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Irvine gives a Noble verdict

Alan Irvine has hailed the leadership of Mark Noble ahead of this weekend’s clash with Wolves.

The Hammers assistant manager will be on the touchline on Sunday in the absence of David Moyes, who has now returned two positive tests for COVID-19.

Irvine was quizzed on a range of topics ahead of the game, including the influence of Noble.

The skipper missed the clash with Arsenal at the weekend because of a toe injury, having played a total of 67 minutes against Newcastle.

He is back fit, and Irvine is delighted to have the 33-year-old around the place as the Hammers look to pick up their first win of the season.

Of course, he stopped short of guaranteeing that the Hammers veteran will play in every game this season but claimed that he will play in a large portion of matches.

Speaking to reporters at his pre-Wolves press conference, he said: “His leadership is vitally important. He is a massive part of our squad and really influential player and person.

“I wouldn’t say this means he won’t play. Nobody has a guaranteed place within any football club. Mark will certainly play lots of football for this football club this season, that is for sure.

“Whether he plays every game is another matter and I think he would probably be one who would say that it is demanding for him at this stage with a couple of niggling injuries.”


West Ham starting XI: The peoples choice

With 232 Claret and Hugh readers voting in the people’s choice starting XI the results are now in.

Łukasz Fabianski is back in goal with a near-maximum 224 votes with Randolph in second place on 9 votes.

The backline consists of Aaron Cresswell 145 votes, Angelo Ogbonna 230 votes, Fabian Balbuena 154 votes and  Ryan Fredericks 162 votes

Ben Johnson 69 votes, Ali Alese 24 votes and Harrison Ashby 14  all fail to make the grade with Issa Diop unavailable due to self-isolation.

Declan Rice gets the nod with 229 votes with Tomas Soucek on an almost maximum 231 votes.

In midfield Jarrod Bowen 152 votes, Arthur Masuaku 163 votes and Michail Antonio on 211 votes with Sebastien Haller on 188 are upfront

Mark Noble 7, Andriy Yarmolenko 115 votes, Manuel Lanzini 48 votes, Felipe Anderson 43 votes Jack Wilshere 2and the Robert Snodgrass 35 votes all fail to make the cut.

West Ham Starting XI  Fabianksi, Cresswell, Balbeuna, Ogbonna, Fredericks, Rice, Soucek, Masuaku,  Bowen, Antonio, Haller

Subs: Randolph, Yarmolenko, Anderson, Lanzini,  Johnson, Alese, Ashby

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Irvine plays dumb on transfers

West Ham first-team coach Alan Irvine says transfer news is above his pay grade, claiming he is in dark over who may sign for West Ham.

Standing in for David Moyes in the Friday lunchtime pre-match press conference Irvine said he had no knowledge on the club’s pursuit of Saint-Etienne defender Wesley Fofana, telling reporters by Zoom his knowledge isn’t great on the transfer front, per Football.London.

He confirmed the club have been working hard at trying to identify the right signings and revealed he had given his own opinion, along with all the coaches, but said it is handled above him and the coaching team.

Irvine did admit that the squad would probably be a bit light if there were no new signings, telling journalists that David Moyes is looking at ways to improve the squad but will only bring in new faces if the right players are available.

Irvine also advised that he didn’t think it was wise to sign players that would make the squad unbalanced.


Report: Fresh twist in Tarkowski saga

Leicester City have made a new bid for Burnley centre-back James Tarkowski as Brendan Rodgers looks to bring him to the King Power Stadium.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the offer is worth in excess of £30m, with the Foxes having already seen one bid turned down in this transfer window.

Rodgers is keen to sign a new centre-back and Tarkowski has been identified as a top target, just as he was by West Ham earlier in the window.

The Hammers, of course, were unable to convince Burnley to part with the England international, despite making a number of significant offers in a similar region to Leicester’s bid.

Burnley have not changed their stance; they want to receive £50m, which is the value of the release clause in his contract.

Leicester, though, are pursuing a similar line of negotiation to the Irons, who hoped to reduce that in talks due to the impact of COVID-19 on the finances of the club.

It remains to be seen if the Hammers will attempt to rival Leicester’s interest, but Tarkowski could yet have a new club before the summer window is out.

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Irvine update on fresh test results

Alan Irvine says David Moyes is not feeling any symptoms despite testing positive for COVID 19 on Tuesday.

Irvine was standing in for Moyes in the Friday lunchtime press conference before West Ham’s game against Wolves on Sunday and said per Football.London: ‘Obviously it is frustrating but he’s fine getting on with other things. David will be the manager and everything we do will run through him. Nothing has changed.’

Moyes, Issa Diop and Josh Cullen are all subject to ten days of self-isolation after returning positive tests from a test last Monday with the results arriving on Tuesday evening.

Irvine said he has spoken to both infected players and they are fine.  They are frustrated that they can’t come in but that’s the situation, neither of them are feeling unwell, he added.

He confirmed that everyone was training but we have not lost any others at this stage, confirming no-one else has tested positive.

He told reporters on Zoom: “Everybody has been tested again and they are all clear so that is really good”

The Hammers play Wolves at 7pm on Sunday before an EFL Fourth Round Cup tie against Everton  having beaten Hullafter the positive test results were discovered.


Noble in contention for return

Captain Mark Noble is in contention for a return and should be available for selection in the matchday squad for the weekend.

Alan Irvine, standing in David Moyes, confirmed it was great to have the skipper back, adding it was really important to have the captain back in the dressing room and the training ground, per Football.London.

Irvine said Noble’s toe had been giving him a lot of pain but it isn’t now and has allowed him to resume training.  Moyes changed formation and bought Arthur Masuaku into the team to replace the injured Noble last week against Arsenal and the Hammers were unlucky not to get anything out of the game.

Noble may be forced to wait on the bench if Moyes decides to repeat the way setup against Wolves on Sunday.

Irvine was also asked about whether Andriy Yarmolenko will be pushing for a start on Sunday after a good midweek cup game. The coach said: “Andriy is one of the most talented players I have worked with. He has competition with Jarrod Bowen but at the moment he is performing well in the Carabao Cup games.”


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Moyes’ new test result

David Moyes will miss the next two West Ham games after again testing positive for COVID-19.

The Hammers boss first returned a positive test before the EFL Cup game against Hull, which the Irons won 5-1.

The London Evening Standard now reports that he was re-tested within the first 24 hours to see if the initial result had been a false positive.

Had they been, Moyes could have been on the touchline for this weekend’s clash with Wolves, while he could also have taken charge of the reunion with old club Everton in the EFL Cup next week.

He has again tested positive though, as have Josh Cullen and Issa Diop; all three were sent home from the London Stadium earlier this week and told to self-isolate.

Moyes will continue to take a key role in managing the team and is likely to be in contact with his coaches via Zoom or Skype when West Ham do take on Wolves this weekend.

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Ex’s goalkeeper transfer update

Ex West Ham Employee insists that the Hammers are unlikely to sign a goalkeeper in this transfer window.

The club have yet to bring in a permanent addition to follow the capture of Tomas Soucek on a permanent basis after his initial loan deal.

Manager David Moyes is keen to strengthen the defence at the London Stadium instead of trying to sign a new stopper in this window.

Ex responded to a question on Twitter asking if there could be a new goalkeeper brought in during this market and if there was still interest in former England stopper Jack Butland.

He wrote: “Yeah no need for a keeper at the moment.”

Of course, thus far, the Hammers’ attempts to acquire new talent have met a number of stumbling blocks throughout the last couple of months.

A deal for James Tarkowski has not come off but there has been a promise from the owners that the money from Grady Diangana’s sale to West Bromwich Albion will be reinvested into the squad.

The clock is ticking if they are to make good on that pledge.

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No TV for West Ham clash

West Ham’s clash with Everton in the EFL Cup will not be televised.

The Daily Mirror carries confirmation of the ties on Friday.

The Hammers beat Hull City to confirm their qualification to the fourth round, where they will take on Everton, who beat Fleetwood Town in their tie.

Despite it being an all-Premier League tie, the meeting of the two clubs will not be aired live.

The games selected include the London derby between Spurs, who received a bye to the fourth round after their game with Leyton Orient had to be called off due to positive COVID-19 tests, and Frank Lampard’s Chelsea. That will be played on Tuesday.

Wednesday will see the games between Newport County and Newcastle United and Brighton and Manchester United aired live.

There will also be two games on Thursday; Brentford hosting Fulham and Liverpool playing Arsenal.

It is perhaps a shame, with both clubs missing out on a television payday.

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Hammers wanted new Chelsea star

West Ham wanted to sign Edouard Mendy from Reims back in 2018.

The goalkeeper made 85 appearances for the French club, conceding just 86 goals, and has now sealed a move to Chelsea.

The Blues have paid £22m for the goalkeeper, who could well replace Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Stamford Bridge goal.

And it is worth noting that the Irons wanted to sign him back when Manuel Pellegrini was manager, with the former Manchester City boss earmarking him as a potential target.

The Daily Mirror reported at the time that the Guinea-Bissau international was valued at just £2m, meaning the Irons missed out on something of a bargain.

Back then, Reims had just won promotion from Ligue 2, and was considered one of the most under-rated goalkeepers in France, per the report.

Of course, Pellegrini’s transfer window in 2018 ended with the signings of Roberto and David Martin instead of Mendy.

And, well, we know how that turned out.