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Lingard £20m…DIangana £18m…it’s a no brainer


By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings


I have no wish o fan the embers of the fire that raged around Grady Diangana’s transfer to West Bromwich Albion, but I believe it’s worth revisiting the move to put some perspective to stories surrounding the possible asking price for Jesse Lingard.

The Manchester United midfielder’s  impact on the team has been impressive by anyone’s standard. Moyes worked hard to get him – and now we can all see why.

So why wouldn’t the manager want to seal the deal in the summer, as he continues his rebuilding of the team and re-shaping of the club.

According to Eurosport – who have led the speculation, and let’s not forget that’s all it is at the moment – Manchester United would be looking for something around the £20m mark for their man.

If that figure is correct, it’s a mere £2m more than the fee we received for Diangana – a player whose Premier League experience was limited to just 17 games – the majority from the substitutes bench. He has made the same number this season for one goal at West Brom.

A product of our youth scheme who still had a great deal to prove at the highest level. Lingard on the other hand has bags of Premier League and international experience.

We know what he’s capable of in the top flight. We saw it with United, we’ve seen it with England – now we’re seeing it in a West Ham shirt.

The latest stories now suggest that the £20m is a bottom line figure – and the Red Devils have hopes of generating more interest and consequently more money for a player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has largely neglected.

Let’s not forget we ‘lost’ £25m on Sebastien Haller with his cut price move to Ajax. But if we had to go to that figure to ‘gain’ Lingard surely it would still represent value for money.

Of course reality has to prevail in these unprecedented times. Money is tight – even for the so-called big clubs – who along with almost everyone else will have seen income fall off a cliff over the past year. So a compromise seems the most sensible option for all parties.

It’s looking likely when Felipe Anderson’s present loan deal ends at FC Porto a permanent move to pastures new will be inevitable. But that’s likely to result in another significant ‘hit’ on the £34m he cost us in 2018 (transfermarkt currently value him at £16m).

And although Andriy Yarmolenko is out injured at the moment, chances are he will also be on his way in the summer for a lot less than the £18m he cost.

Money is clearly going to be tight – especially if Moyes wants to add a genuine striker to his squad. But a deal for Lingard has to be done in my opinion!

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Report: Irons and Man Utd in DOF tussle

West Ham are reported to be in the race to appoint a director of football.

Sport Witness carries a report from German outlet SportBILD, claiming that the Irons are interested in appointing Fredi Bobic, who currently works as the director of football for Eintracht Frankfurt.

Frankfurt are currently fourth in the Bundesliga, 10 points behind leaders Bayern Munich and three points ahead of struggling Borussia Dortmund.

Bobic is set to leave Frankurt this summer and the report states that he both the Hammers and Manchester United are interested in appointing him.

There is no word on whether an approach has been made, but we know that David Moyes has been vocal in his desire to reshape the recruitment staff at the club.

It remains to be seen if Bobic will end up forming part of that, but it seems the Irons have competition, with United having been linked with a new director of football for some time now.

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Report: Irons eyeing Fabianski pal

West Ham are being reported as eyeing a Serie A stopper to potentially replace Lukasz Fabianski.

The Pole has a contract that expires at the end of the season.

And now there is a report claiming that the Irons are eyeing a new stopper in case Fabianski does depart.

That’s unlikely, however, as Fab said recently he would be happy to sign a new deal explaining: “I’d like to stay at West Ham. Extend the contract because I feel good here.  I have to look at my son because he started school and I wouldn’t want to put him in a situation where he would have to change school every year.

However, the Irons are claimed to be eyeing Bologna goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski, who has emerged as the Serie A club’s number one in recent months.

Skorupski is an international team-mate of Fabianski who has won four caps for Poland and he has been with Bologna since 2018.

Sport Witness carries a report from Tutto Bologna Web, claiming that his development in Italy has not gone unnoticed in England.

Skorupski has made 17 appearances in Serie A this season, although he has struggled with an injury to his hand, and has conceded just 23 goals, keeping four clean sheets.

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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