Fornal to the cockney boys
So a lot has happened in the world of the Irons this week. The fixtures for the 2019/20 season released, a new signing and links both in and out.
Social media had been ablaze with ITK's claiming they had insider knowledge of our fixtures for the forth-coming season, with some tweeting "leaked" images of the fixtures showing that West Ham would be away to Watford, which as expected, turned out to be fake.
Safe to say we drew another top six team for our first fixture in Manchester City. At least it is at home. This is now six years on the bounce that we have faced a top six team in our opening fixture and I can't help but think that we are still paying for the Tevez transfer all those years ago.
I know we have to play all the teams at some stage but getting off to a good start is key to making a success of the season so a little break from the powers that be one season would be welcome.
Noticeably too was yet another away game on Boxing Day this time at Crystal Palace. We have yet to have a home fixture at the London Stadium on 26th December despite Lady B claiming that it is a myth that we are banned from having a home fixture on that day due to being in close proximity to Westfield Shopping Centre on its biggest shopping day of the year. However, Football.London understands that the reason the Irons are away again this season is due to major railway engineering works and on the advice of Southeastern railway, who run the high speed service into Stratford International, they have advised that that we should be away. Strange this has no impact on the shoppers visiting Westfields! Let's see what excuse is made next year.
Third signing of the season
After signing two new keepers it was good to see us buck the trend by signing an outfield player. Main stream and social media had been mentioning our interest in Pablo Fornals for sometime with many ITK claiming the signing was imminent. Thankfully it became reality on Friday 14th June with the 23 year old signing on a five year deal from Villareal for an undisclosed fee. However, West Ham's official website claim he is our second most expensive signing behind Felipe Anderson, so the fee must have been somewhere in excess of £25m.
I have to admit that I know very little about this player but the official site describe him as:
"A creative, technically-gifted playmaker with an eye for goal whom he has excelled in both La Liga and the UEFA Europa League...........The Castellon-born player has already made more than 150 senior appearances and will join up with Manuel Pellegrini’s squad after representing his country at this summer’s UEFA European U21 Championship finals."
As ever, the obligatory video was published by the club and if he is as good as some of the footage shows he could be a good signing. Time will tell.
As usual this time of year, we are being linked with numerous players as well as potential departures from the club. Below is a list of those which seem to be more abundant in both main stream media and on the social networks.
Ever since the last transfer window we have linked with Gomez. Claims have now been made that we have:
Made of bid for the player in the region of £25m
Both us and Valencia have bid £29m for the player and the bids have been accepted
Valencia have withdrawn from the bidding
No one has bid yet.
Celta Vigo will not accept less than £45m for him
Clearly this story will not go away.
Jordan is a defensive midfielder who plays in La Liga for Eibar. This has appeared as an on/off deal for about a week now and the latest claim from Sky Sports is that the Irons have bid £13m for the player which should be enough to meet his release clause of €15m. West Ham face competition from Sevilla but sources say that they are not prepared to go to that figure, yet.
If we sign Joan, I'm not sure where he will fit into the team. My opinion is that he will be a squad replacement for Pedro Obiang who is expected to return to Italy during the summer.
Last summer it was Marko Arnautovic who was linked with an exit to Manchester United. This time the rumours are that Manchester United are after Issa Diop. The departed "Special One" was full of praise for Diop when we beat them at home last season and was expected to make a move for him in the January window but this failed to materialise. Now the rumour mill has it new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen on the player and Manchester United have offered £45m plus a player for his services which West Ham have turned down. It is unknown who the player being offered is but the two who have been mentioned are Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard, both who are only likely to be bench warmers if the deal materialises. Hopefully this is just either paper talk or Diop's agent hankering for a new deal. Whatever way, we must hang on to this talented player as West Ham supremo Manuel Pellegrini goes about building his team with Diop being a key part of his plans.