West Ham move for ideal second-striker option

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There have been a number of reports linking Toulouse attacker Martin Braithwaite with a move to West Ham.

The forward, who can play as a winger and as an out-and-out striker, is expected to depart Ligue 1 this summer with the Premier league his preferred destination of choice.

The Hammers are said to have tabled a £3m bid for the Danish international’s services.

Braithwaite has enjoyed a rather successful campaign on a personal level, scoring 11 league goals for Toulouse. The club struggled for the majority of the campaign and survived by a singe point thanks to the attacking threat of both Braitwaite and teammate Wissam Ben Yedder, who is also attracting interest from the Hammers.

Blessed with pace, good dribbling skills and finishing, it’s no surprise that Braithwaite has been used in a variety of attacking positions this season. Although his playing style is similar to that of a number 10’s, he has been used as Toulouse’s main striker for the majority of the season, with Ben Yedder playing just off him.

He can hold up play as well as having the intelligence and attacking knowhow to play on the shoulder of the last defender.

His agent Mark McKay has worked with the club before, helping the Hammers bring star man Dimitri Payet to the club last summer. He has brought a host of players over from Ligue 1 and Braithwaite could be the latest player to make the move.

For £3 million, Braithwaite could be an excellent second-striker option and his versatility will appeal to Slaven Bilic with more of a congested fixture list expected next season.

West Ham mustn’t overlook this sleeping giant in their search for a quality striker

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Christian Benteke is a man that divides opinion. His rather forgetful first season at Liverpool has been unfortunate as the Belgian forward has failed to establish himself at Anfield despite moving for a fee of £32.5m. 

There has been a bit of a negative reaction from fans when the club have been linked to the striker but would it really be that bad a move for the Hammers? He may not be the top target but if West Ham do sign the Belgian forward, they would still be getting a quality Premier League striker that is capable of finding the back of the net on a regular basis.

West Ham have struggled to keep hold of regular goalscorers in the past. Dean Ashton’s West Ham career was hampered with injury issues, Carlos Tevez was always destined for bigger things and Demba Ba departed the club due to relegation under Avram Grant. In fact, the player to score the most goals for the Hammers in a Premier League season is Paulo Di Canio with 16 goals in 1999-00. Therefore, looking for a 20-goal striker will mean that the Hammers will have to find someone that is going to make West Ham history.

Benteke is a man that has consistently shown that he is capable of scoring in the Premier League. It’s no coincidence that Aston Villa’s capitulation has coincided with the forward leaving the club, he was one of the most sought after players in the Premier League when he was playing his football at Villa Park. In 2012-13 Benteke scored 19 league goals and in 2014-15 he finished amongst the Premier League top scorers again by netting 13 times.

During his time at Aston Villa, Benteke scored 49 goals and provided 12 assists, averaging around a goal every two games. Whatever way you look at it, he is a natural goalscorer who will find the back of the net if he is given regular football.

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Benteke was one of the Premier League’s best strikers during his time at Aston Villa

Moving to Liverpool seemed like a logical step to further his career but it simply hasn’t worked out for him and this is something a number of Hammers fans can’t shake off. Unfortunately for Benteke, the big striker does not seem to fit with Jurgen Klopp’s style of play but that doesn’t make him a bad striker. Like a lot of forwards, the Belgian is a player that has to play regularly and it is difficult for any striker to make an impact in a limited amount of appearances. Having said that, the striker still scored nine league goals despite his lack of game time, including a world-class bicycle kick against Manchester United.

The 25-year-old is definitely no stranger to the spectacular, just look at some of the goals he has scored for Villa in the video below. He has everything you’d expect from a big forward and more. He has good feet and is a reliable finisher, you don’t score 49 goals for a team like Villa just by being good in the air and this is something some fans need to realise as he has a lot more in his locker than people are giving him credit for.

Yes, he has had a frustrating season at Liverpool and he is on high wages but he is exactly what the club are looking for. A reliable goalscorer who is proven in the Premier League is often very hard to come by but Benteke fits the bill. With service from the likes of Payet, Lanzini and Antonio next season, he is the sort of striker who would absolutely thrive as the club’s main forward. The Hammers were so dangerous from set-pieces throughout the most recent campaign and adding someone like Benteke into the mix would be a brilliant addition. He can also make those attacking runs to get on the end of through balls and he would relish being the main striker at a Premier League club once again.

If the likes of Michy Batshuayi and Alexandre Lacazette do not work out, the club could do a lot worse than Christian Benteke. The player needs a lucky break and West Ham could be the beneficiaries of a rejuvenated and talented striker next season. He may be on high wages but the Hammers must be looking to pay around 100 grand a week for a star striker this summer so Benteke may not be completely out of reach.

If he is available the Hammers should move for him as one average season with a lack of opportunities does not make you a bad striker.

For the non-believers, here’s a reminder of what Benteke can do:

West Ham’s new home kit leaked online

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West Ham’s new home kit for the 2016/17 season has leaked online, revealing a number of new features that have been added to the home shirt to celebrate the club moving to the Olympic Stadium.

The shirt includes the club’s new crest, clearly displaying a simple crossed hammers and the team name. Although the new badge is lacking in detail, it is instantly recognisable and is certainly a modern development of last season’s badge.

The sleeve has a subtle Union Jack detailing which could relate to the stadium’s Olympic legacy. The shirt also includes a commemorative ‘Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’ lettering below the badge, similar to the Boleyn Ground detail on last season’s home kit.

The neck detail includes the longitude and latitude of the stadium’s location, adding more exclusivity to the brand new kit.

It remains to be seen whether the Umbro logo will remain gold. The likelihood is that the colour will switch to white as gold was more exclusive to the Farewell Boleyn design.

All in all, the first impression of the new home kit is certainly an encouraging one. Umbro received a lot of praise last season for designing one of the most iconic home kits in the club’s history. It looks as if the manufacturing giants may have done it again with their latest effort.

West Ham told to increase offer by £5m to land star playmaker

Besiktas are holding out for a £17 million offer from West Ham if they are to sell Gokhan Tore this summer, according to Fanatik.

The Hammers are believed to be deep in negotiations with the Turkish club over signing the versatile attacker, with reports suggesting that the London club had made a £12 million move for the former Chelsea youngster.

Tore’s reunion with former boss Slaven Bilic has the potential to excite the club’s fans, with the Turkey international full of guile, creativity and technique.

However, the latest report suggests that Besiktas are not willing to lose their prize asset easily and will look to bump up the price if Tore is to quite the Turkish club.

Bilic is a big fan of the winger from his time in the Super Lig and as such this soft spot for Tore could well see West Ham do whatever it takes to bring the star to London this summer.

West Ham turn attention to Lacazette’s team-mate

West Ham United are set to make another raid on French club Lyon, with Mercato 365 stating that the Hammers are now interested in winger Rachid Ghezzal.

The London club have had a £31 million offer for Alexandre Lacazette rejected in recent times, but are apparently not finished with scouting the high-flying Ligue 1 outfit.

Ghezzal is a fully fledged Algeria international and continues to impress with his shows of skill and trickery on the flanks for Lyon.

The 24-year-old made 16 Ligue 1 starts for the club in 2015-16, scoring eight goals in the process and growing in stature.

A former France under-21 international, Ghezzal has stepped up and feature for Algeria’s national side alongside the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Nabil Bentaleb.

Although West Ham’s pursuit of Lacazette appears to have run aground, an offer for Ghezzal could well bring a starlet from Lyon to London this summer.

West Ham sign Swiss starlet on bumper deal

West Ham have continued their drive to tie down the club’s brightest young stars, with the club confirming on their official website that midfielder Noha Sylvestre has penned a professional deal at the London outfit.

The 18-year-old has been a feature of the Hammers’ under-18’s team last term and is adjudged to have a bright future with Slaven Bilic’s men.

He has also featured for the Development Squad and is being tipped to be fast-tracked through the West Ham ranks.

Sylvestre follows in the footsteps of the likes of Domingos Quina, Toni Martinez and other new recruits in committing his future to the Hammers.

Upon signing his deal, the Swiss starlet admitted that he was delighted to be taking the next step in his career.

“It’s like a dream for me. It’s a dream for everyone who plays football to get a professional contract but the hardest thing now is to keep going and pushing and working hard,” he said.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here so far very much because as soon as I joined, I felt really comfortable with my teammates and everyone at the club and it’s a big family for me. That’s why my football has been good as well.

“My target next season is to play every game for the U21s and get my place in that team, and then you never know. Why not go with the first team a couple of times and train with them if I can? I want to do as well as possible.”

Reece Oxford’s contract extension must surely be the next priority for the London club, with the Englishman’s future a point of contention in the press.

West Ham secured star on budget wages

West Ham United officials are delighted with the terms negotiated to bring Havard Nordtveit to the club, with Claret and Hugh stating that the midfield star agreed to modest £35,000 per week wages.

The Norway international was a free agent after his contract at Borussia Monchengladbach expired and had a host of European clubs chasing him and options to choose from.

However, Slaven Bilic’s side won the race to land the former Arsenal youth player, with Nordtveit to provide a versatile and able addition to the club’s ranks next term.

The latest report suggests that instead of demanding extortionate wages to move to the London club, the Scandinavian’s salary is at an affordable level.

The story suggests that internal members of the West Ham hierarchy are pleased to get value for money on Nordtveit’s signing, especially given that the club are being held to ransom in the transfer market over other targets.

West Ham fight North London pair for English star

West Ham United are interested in Hull City defender Josh Tymon but have a host of Premier League rivals as competition for the teenager’s signature including Tottenham and Arsenal, according to ESPN.

The 17-year-old is highly rated at Molineux and broke into the club’s first team in 2015-16, making a number of impressive cameos.

One of these was against Arsenal in the FA Cup, which has alerted Premier League sides to Tymon’s talent.

The versatile defender has been called up into the England under-17’s ranks and is believed to have a bright future in the game ahead of him.

Hull are desperate to hold onto the youngster and breed him into their starting XI next term, but Premier League interest could well see Tymon jump ship.

West Ham are putting an emphasis on the youth ranks of the club and as such the 17-year-old would be joining a cohort of prodigious talent at the London outfit.

West Ham target Michy Batshuayi makes revelation over his future

West Ham striking target Michy Batshuayi has admitted that he wants to play in the Premier League but that his future will not be sorted out before Euro 2016.

The Marseille frontman has seen his reputation in the Europe grow considerably over the last 18 months at the Stade Veledrome, with the Belgium international looking highly likely to move to one of Europe’s top leagues this summer.

West Ham are in the market for a new number nine and have identified Batshuayi has a potential new face at the club ahead of next season, with a move to the Olympic Stadium just around the corner.

The Hammers face reported competition from English and European rivals for the former Standard Liege striker’s hand, with reports that the London club have already lodged an offer for the star.

Batshuayi has been speaking out about the potential for leaving Marseille and revealed his admiration for the Premier League.

“Everybody likes the Premier League. It has a lot of spectacle, a lot of goals and many good players,” The Mirror quote him as saying.

“It is natural that every good player is attracted by that league.

“(But) I don’t think about that (a transfer). I prefer to concentrate 100 per cent on the Euros. Then we will see what happens.”

Crystal Palace favourites to sign midfielder linked with West Ham

Crystal Palace have emerged as the favourites to sign Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick and are set to beat West Ham to his signature, according to The Croydon Advertiser.

The veteran midfielder is out of contract at Old Trafford this summer and is expected to leave the Red Devils as Jose Mourinho upgrades his playing components.

Carrick is a product of the fabled West Ham youth academy and has gone on to prosper at both club and international level since leaving the London club.

With the skilful pass-master available on a free transfer this summer and able to add invaluable experience and quality to a Premier League rival, bringing him back to the Hammers seems like an excellent option.

However, Alan Pardew’s men are believed to have stolen a march on their rivals in the quest to land the United star and are thought to be leading the race for his signature.