Mar 17, 2017
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West Ham round-up: Sampdoria striker monitored; Bilic defends Noble; Lanzini discusses pressure

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As West Ham continue to seek a striker to fire them up the league table next season, the Mirror say that they could look to activate Colombian striker Luis Muriel’s £24 million release clause after he has scored ten goals and recorded a further nine assist in 28 games for the Serie A side this season.

 

The 25-year-old centre-forward has scored once in nine caps for his country but continues to show signs of improvements and could test his skills in the Premier League.

Slaven Bilic has spoken out to defend captain Mark Noble as he has revealed that the midfielder has been given an extended break over the international break, writing for the Evening Standard:

“We will miss Mark Noble tomorrow, not only as a player but as captain also. There may be some skippers in football whose responsibility ends when they go up for the toss of the coin but not many… At West Ham, Mark is an excellent captain but it is draining, more so for him maybe because he lives and breathes the club. I know he said something about some fans not understanding the game which has annoyed some people but I have spoken to him and I know one hundred per cent that he would not want to upset the supporters — because he is one also. He was trying to protect the team and individuals within the team. I have said to him that, because he has played most of the games but is now injured, he can go away if he needs to — and come back fresh.”

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The experienced central midfielder has been on the end of criticism this week after some questionable displays against Chelsea and Bournemouth, but Bilic insists that he deserves his place in the starting eleven.

One man who has stepped up is Manuel Lanzini, who has told Sky Sports that he is comfortable with the tag of a replacement for Dimitri Payet as he said:

“Well, I would not say I am feeling the pressure at the moment. Of course, Dimi was a very important player for us and we linked up very well on the pitch. He could help take the pressure off other players with the way he could create space and make things happen. But I am very comfortable with the way things are going at the moment and I feel that I am a very important part of the team, which is just what I wanted. I am feeling fit and confident. The coach has shown faith in me as have my team-mates and that’s just what I need in order to show what I am capable of doing on the pitch.”

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The 24-year-old has recorded six goals and two assists in 25 Premier League appearances this season and has shone with his pace and skill on the ball.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by Craig Ballantyne.

Article Categories:
Transfer Round-up · West Ham United

Sam is a Southend United fan and student based in the South-West. He has previously worked for various publications, including FourFourTwo magazine and ITV. Sam also has an extensive knowledge of Spanish football and has previously lived and worked in Spain. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

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