Daily News: Transfer updates on all our top forward choices.

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West Ham to hold talks over signing Fenerbahce’s Emmanuel Emenike – The Guardian

West Ham will hold talks with officials from Fenerbahce on Tuesday as they attempt to seal the loan signing of the Nigeria striker Emmanuel Emenike.

The 28-year-old is currently on a one-year loan at Al Ain in Qatar from the Turkish club and has more than two years of his contract remaining. West Ham are understood to have made Emenike their priority as Slaven Bilic searches for a replacement for the injured Andy Carroll and have already agreed personal terms with him.

However, Fenerbahce have so far proved reluctant to sanction the move, while Al Ain would also like to retain Emenike’s services given he has scored seven goals in just 11 league matches so far this season. It is understood West Ham will ask for confirmation that the deal can go ahead at the meeting on Tuesday evening, with the club willing to switch their attentions to Galatasaray’s Burak Yilmaz instead.

“There is no clear agreement about Emenike,” said Bilic on Monday.

“He is an important player but Fenerbahce may need another striker first, so it’s by no means certain that they will release him.”

Yilmaz, 30, who has nine goals in 15 appearances for the Turkish champions this season, would also arrive on loan until the end of the season with an option for a permanent transfer at the end of the season.

“Yilmaz is a very good footballer,” said Bilic. “He’s an excellent striker and among the fittest of players. I know him very well and I admit that he is one of the names on our list.

“But he is not the only player on our list. If we decide to take one striker, then we can take action.”

West Ham scouts were in Lyon on Sunday to watch Marseille’s Michy Batshuayi but the Belgium international will not be allowed to leave until the summer. Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson is also on their radar after his hat-trick in their 4-3 win at Upton Park last August, with Tottenham also believed to be interested.

Wilson is currently sidelined until at least the end of March as he recovers from a knee injury.

Sam Byram reveals all on having to sing a West Ham initiation song – Daily Star

SAM BYRAM claims he will be more nervous singing his initiation song than he was on his West Ham debut.

Byram, 22, was handed a baptism of fire in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City after an injury to Carl Jenkinson.

But the £3.7m signing from Leeds put in a more cool and confident performance than he expects to when he takes to the mic.

Byram, who only made the bench after an injury to James Tomkins, said: “I thought I’d be very nervous but I was almost emotionless to the occasion.

“I wasn’t excited, I wasn’t nervous I just tried to keep a cool head and approach it like a normal game.

“I’ve not had my initiation yet. It’s normally on the away trip you’ve got to get up and sing. ’m trying not to think about it!

“Can I sing? No, I’m horrific. We were in the hotel before the game and I was thinking someone was going to be tinging the glass to get me to do it.

“I will be more nervous doing that than playing.

“One of the young lads when I was at Leeds sung Uncle Kracker, Follow Me. That went down well. I might stick with that one.”

Thurrock-born Byram, whose family are Hammers fans, snubbed a move to Everton to sign for West Ham after speaking to Slaven Bilic.

He said: “I spoke to the manager and I really like the way he spoke about West Ham and how he likes to play, and how he could improve me was the main thing.

“As a young player the main thing you want to do is get better. He’d identified the areas he thinks I can improve on and explained how he would help me improve on them.

“There’s the Olympic Stadium, the quality of players in the squad. In training I’ve been blown away by some of the things some of them do in training.

“I don’t think anyone gets the ball off Dimitri Payet in training. He is very good on the ball, his dribbling, his vision, his touch, and everything about him.

“He’s by far the best player I’ve had the pleasure of playing with.

“Stepping up to this level is only going to make me better. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Byram celebrated his debut by taking the train home to get the rest of his clothes, which he had to leave behind when he travelled down to sign his four-and-a-half year contract.

But he’s now dreaming of a European tour with the Hammers just six points away from the Champions League places.

Asked whether he thought a top-four finish was possible, ambitious Byram said: “I think so.

“When teams like City are coming to play us at home and we’re disappointed not to get three points says something about where we’re pushing to be.

“The players we’ve got here, the way we perform, it really is an exciting time for the club.”

Garth Crooks believes Dimitri Payet has ‘all the creative flair’ of Eric Cantona – BBC Sport

Pundit Garth Crooks has told BBC Sport that Dimitri Payet could be playing in the Champions League after another superb display from the West Ham star.

The Hammers played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Manchester City on Saturday evening, with Enner Valencia twice giving West Ham the lead, and Sergio Aguero twice bringing City level.

The result continued West Ham’s super form against the so-called ‘big clubs’, and they certainly had playmaker Payet to thank for his part in the draw.

The French international has been one of the most impressive players in the Premier League since joining from Marseille over the summer, racking up six goals and four assists for the Hammers.

After a recent spell out through injury, Payet is back, and he was vital in everything West Ham did going forward against Manchester City, whilst also conjuring up some remarkable moments of skill during the game.

Now, pundit Garth Crooks has named Payet in his team of the week on BBC Sport, before raving about the West Ham superstar.

Crooks compared Payet to his compatriot Eric Cantona, who was always known as one of the most flamboyant attacking players in Premier League history, and also believes that Payet could be playing in the Champions League – and West Ham fans should be delighted to see him playing in claret and blue instead.

“Football goes through phases where we occasionally see the ingenuity of someone like former Manchester United player Eric Cantona sacrificed for the work ethic of ex-Chelsea midfielder Didier Deschamps,” said Crooks. “However, I can assure you that no such anomaly will be displayed at Upton Park on manager Slaven Bilic’s watch. It was Bilic who enticed Dimitri Payet, who has all the creative flair of a Cantona, to West Ham (much to the delight of the fans) when the player could have served his time playing Champions League football elsewhere.”

“Payet was excellent against Manchester City, and is a throwback to all the ball players who have graced this great game and given the football fan hours of wonderful entertainment,” he added.

£20m? Double it – West Ham told to up bid for Tottenham target – The Sun/Le10 Sport

British newspaper The Sun on Monday linked West Ham United with a serious move for Michy Batshuayi. The Marseille forward has been followed by Tottenham Hotspur all season, and it is they who are most frequently and most strongly linked by the French media.

Tottenham have sent their France representative to watch Batshuayi repeatedly this season, and in the French reports detailing that there hasn’t been mention of serious competition coming from West Ham.

Nevertheless, The Sun believe West Ham are trying to get ahead of Tottenham and other interested clubs by building a deal ahead of the summer transfer window. It’s claimed West Ham are preparing a £20m bid for the 22 year old, who they see as the big signing to mark the club’s move to the Olympic Stadium.

France’s Le10 Sport explain that West Ham will need to spend quite a bit more than that. They quote Marseille president Vincent Labrune as explaining in November that there was widespread interest in his young striker, and that it would take a huge fee to get him.

“There is not a club in the world’s top 15 that is not interested in Batshuayi. He is one of the most desired players in the market. There have been plenty of offers for him this summer, but he would not leave… If clubs wish they can pay the price. About €50m.”

West Ham’s Alex Song: I can’t see properly with my protective glasses on – Evening Standard

West Ham midfielder Alex Song has revealed that he struggles to see when he plays with his protective glasses on.

The 28-year-old started Saturday’s 2-2 drew with Manchester City wearing his specially-fitted spectacles but quickly discarded them.

The Cameroon international suffers from an eye problem and dons the eyewear to prevent an infection, but it is not an ideal situation as the glasses can be restrictive.

“I have an eye problem so I have to wear the glasses,” he told the Times.

“The doctor said if I caught an infection it would be very bad. It’s not good when I’m playing without the protection.

Song’s condition means he struggles to see in the dark or rain while his vision also fails him when he wears the glasses under a stadium’s floodlights.

“Sometimes I have to play without them because I can’t see properly but it’s a risk.

“I have to be careful because it’s not good for the future. I have to keep wearing them until the doctor tells me not to.

“Today [against Manchester City] was a very hard start to the game and then I took them off because I couldn’t see properly.”

Sergio Aguero’s late strike salvaged a point for City at Upton Park but Slaven Bilic’s side are still well placed in sixth, just six points shy of the top four.

Does this man deserve more credit for West Ham’s impressive form? – Daily Mail

After our impressive performance in the 2-2 draw against Manchester City on Saturday, there were a lot of pundits and fans raving about the performance of Mark Noble.

Jamie Redknapp wrote in the Mail that he was surprised Noble hadn’t been called up for England, despite the competition for places in the last few years. He said, “He’s played under six managers at West Ham but they have all picked him. He’s never out of the team.

That’s because he is consistent, he works hard and he is a good, tidy player. He helped neutralise David Silva and Yaya Toure and he lets the likes of Dimitri Payet play.”

A rare compliment from Redknapp, but does he have a point about Noble? Is he deserved of more credit than he has been given this season?

Noble created 3 chances against Manchester City which suggests that he isn’t just a water carrier in this side, he wants to create when possible. Noble to Payet and Payet to Noble were the highest pass combinations in the game, with 13 each, and is evidence of a growing link between the two players. Noble will look for our star man because he knows that’s where the danger is, while Payet will give the ball to Noble because he will recycle possession and keep a hold of the ball.

Noble made 3 tackles and 3 interceptions throughout the game, and had a real presence in midfield. His feisty persona on the pitch is well documented, he shows a real passion that West Ham fans would never take away from him, and while he got booked for a slightly reckless tackle, it shows the desire and heart on sleeve attitude that makes him the ideal captain for a side that can keep pushing up the league.

In terms of England, what Redknapp says is a fair comment. Why hasn’t Noble ever had a call-up? He is probably in the form of his career at the moment, starting every game despite facing tough competition for places at The Boleyn Ground with Song, Obiang and Kouyate. But Noble has had chances to be called up, at times when he has been playing well but players with less experience have been given a chance instead.

The problem seems to be that managers would rather have a different option in midfield because Noble at times seems limited in terms of creativity from that position. He plays with substance rather than style, which means that he can be ignored because he isn’t grabbing headlines with his performances.

However, one thing is for sure. If Noble can keep adding creativity to his game, and keep playing the way he has been, then Hodgson won’t have much choice but to give the midfielder a well earned cap. It only took Redknapp ten years to notice, it can’t take Hodgson much longer.

West Ham will need to be in their best form to end top four, says Trevor Sinclair – Evening Standard

Former West Ham winger Trevor Sinclair believes the Hammers can secure Champions League football this term, but insists such a feat will require all the players to be at their best from now until the end of the season.

Slaven Bilic’s side currently sit in sixth place in the Premier League standings, just six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, following their 2-2 home draw with Manchester City at the weekend.

The Hammers have been able to get their season, and indeed their European hopes, back on track after star forward Dimitri Payet returned from injury in early January, although their aim to play in Europe’s elite competition next term will be made all the more harder by Spurs’ superb form this season.

West Ham boss Bilic recently said he wasn’t thinking about the club’s push for Champions League football, but Sinclair thinks such an outcome is a possibility – but only if the Hammers can avoid any further injuries to key players.

Speaking exclusively to 888poker.com, Sinclair said: “I don’t think it’s beyond them but they will need everybody at the club playing to the best of their ability.

“They’re going to need a lot of luck with injuries and obviously for other teams to fall away.

“A lot has been said about Leicester and whether they can sustain their standard and results and if they fall away there is no reason why West Ham can’t make top four.”

Payet calls for consistency – West Ham Official Site

Dimitri Payet says West Ham United have to perform as they did against Manchester City in every Barclays Premier League game if they want to sustain their challenge for European football.

The Hammers came within a whisker of toppling Manuel Pellegrini’s men at the Boleyn Ground and the mercurial Frenchman insists victory would have been nothing more than his side deserved.

The challenge now, says the 28-year-old, is to replicate that level of performance no matter who the Hammers are up against.              

“Honestly, it was an exciting game to be involved in,” he told whufc.com. “We are all motivated, we all want to do well and we showed that on Saturday evening.

“We hit the bar with the last attack of the game and we deserved better. We were up against Manchester City, so we’ll settle for the point and we’ll definitely take the positives of the game.

“We have to remember what we’ve achieved, because against a team like City, it’s interesting to see us play the way we did and it’s from this sort of game that you take the experience and you progress.

“Unfortunately, the championship doesn’t only consist of teams like this, we saw last week at Newcastle that it was much more difficult for us. We have to be consistent if we want to finish toward the top of the table.

“We have to be ambitious. We know there are some big teams above us but it’s up to us to continue as we played on Saturday, to put our game in place. The battle’s going to be tough, but we mustn’t get carried away, we have to stay concentrated.”  

Elsewhere, Payet was quick to pile plaudits on the in-form Enner Valencia, who has now bagged four times in his last three outings. The summer signing from Marseille says Valencia is a natural goalscorer and was always destined to get back among the goals.  

He continued: “That’s the Enner we know. He’s obviously had his injuries but it feels like he’s rediscovered his confidence and he’s a true finisher.”

And he had a special word for young debutant Sam Byram too, who showed no little composure and ability on his Hammers bow, despite being thrown in at the deep end after just 13 minutes.  

“I shouldn’t think he was expecting to end up on the pitch so early. He absolutely did his job.

“I know he ended up with, I’m not sure what, slight cramp, I suppose, but his debut was very encouraging.

“It’s not easy to come on that early and it’s not easy against City and he had to deal with both! Congratulations to him.”       

 Carl Jenkinson out for the season – KUMB/Jack Sullivan

Carl Jenkinson is unlikely to play for West Ham again – after it was revealed that the injury he sustained against Manchester City was far more serious than initially anticipated.

The on-loan full back is scheduled to remain at West Ham until the end of the season. However the son of co-owner David Sullivan claimed this lunchtime (Tuesday) that the injury he sustained during the 2-2 draw with Manchester City last weekend will keep him out of action for the rest of the campaign.

And that, if correct, would signal the end of his time at West Ham – with Arsenal having already confirmed that he will not be allowed to go out on loan next term.

Jenkinson, who endured a slow start to the season had been in and out of the team in recent weeks. However better performances of late had resulted in a recall to the first team by Slaven Bilic.

But with less than ten minutes on the clock during Saturday’s clash, Jenkinson was replaced by new signing Sam Byram after sustaining a knock whilst giving away a penalty.

West Ham boss remains coy over Tolgay Arslan interest – Fanatik

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has refused to comment on transfer speculation linking the Hammers with Besiktas midfielder Tolgay Arslan.

Bilic was widely praised in Turkey for his handling of the Arslan transfer last season while in charge of the Black Eagles.

The Croatian manager signed Arslan for just €500,000 from HSV and the 24-year-old soon established himself as a key member of the team scoring a memorable goal in the Europa League Round of 32 victory over Liverpool.

Bilic was rumoured to have promised Arslan the prospect of Premier League football should he take charge of an English side during the negotiation process.

Bilic told Fanatik: “I have heard the rumours linking us with Gökhan Töre and Tolgay Arslan but I do not want to comment on that right now.”

Arslan was ruled out of the first half of the season due to injury but has since recovered and is expected to return to full fitness soon.

Besiktas are currently second in the Turkish Super League but have two games in hand and will go top if they win both matches.

Zarate critical of role at West Ham – Gazzetta World

Following his move from West Ham United to Fiorentina, new signing Mauro Zarate has condemned the way he was utilised by Hammers boss Slaven Bilic in London.

The controversial Argentine arrived in Florence last week, putting pen to paper on a two-and-a-half year deal, after a €2.1 million fee was agreed with the English outfit.

Although Zarate managed a respectable three goals in nine starts for West Ham this season, he admitted that he wasn’t happy with his use at Upton Park.

“I’m happy to be back in Italy and to show my qualities with a great team,” the 28-year-old told the media at his official unveiling. “It is an important opportunity for me to get back on track. In England, things were good because English football is enjoyable.

“But I have to admit I wasn’t very comfortable with my role within the club and that’s why I decided to come here. I want to play in a more attacking position.

“My favourite role on the pitch is to play in a free one in attack, allowing me to roam, one that isn’t specific to a particular position. I have already spoken with [Paulo] Sousa and he has assured me I’ll have that.”

Zarate comes to Italy with first hand experience and inside knowledge of the Gigliati’s upcoming Europa League opponents Tottenham Hotspur, and he expects a tough game.

“What I noticed about them is that they are a very strong team, a physically strong side,” added the new Fiorentina No.7. “Under their coach [Mauricio] Pochettino, they play good football.

“They will be two good games where we know that we can’t make any mistakes, while trying to force and then take advantage of mistakes from them.”

Palace to rival West Ham for Emenike – Standard Sport

It is being claimed this afternoon that West Ham could face competition from London rivals Crystal Palace for the signing of Nigeria striker Emmanuel Emenike.

Standard Sport understands the Hammers have agreed terms with the 28-year-old over an initial loan move to Upton Park with a view to a permanent transfer in the summer, but that West Ham are yet to reach a conclusion with his club Fenerbahce or the team where he currently is on loan at Al Ain.

And it is now being reported that Palace, who could have Connor Wickham missing for three games through suspension, could rival West Ham for Emenike.

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