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West Ham United

Cheikhou Kouyate’s poor season culminates in Senegal dropping

The Senegal captain and West Ham man was dropped to the bench for the opener v Poland.

Mathew Nash

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Senegal pulled off a magnificent result in the World Cup yesterday, defeating Poland 2-1 thanks to a Thiago Cionek own goal and Mbaye Niang’s effort. It was a stunning result for the African side, against a team currently ranked eighth in the world.

For West Ham fans, there was something of a shock. The Lions of Teranga lined up with Liverpool star Sadio Mane captaining the side. The national team, usually captained by West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate, turned to Mane after the Hammer was dropped for the opening game.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Alfred N’Diaye, who finished last season on loan at Wolves, and Everton star Idrissa Gana Gueye instead started in midfield. Rumours circulated he may have picked up an injury, but it became clear the decision was tactical when Kouyate did eventually emerge from the bench.

Being dropped, as captain, from the first game of the World cup is the culmination of a poor season for the West Ham powerhouse.

Fans at the London Stadium became increasingly frustrated with his erratic displays for the club last season with many constantly asking for him to be dropped.

Kouyate enjoyed a brilliant first two seasons at West Ham following his arrival from Anderlecht in 2014 but for a while now Hammers’ fans have been frustrated with his sheer inconsistency. His poor 2017-18 form has now cost him his nation’s captaincy and West Ham fans can only hope it serves as a wake-up call ahead of the new campaign.

West Ham United

One winner and one loser from West Ham’s move for Domagoj Vida

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Photo: Getty Images.

An impressive summer of recruitment could be set to continue at the London Stadium as reports suggest that West Ham have lodged a £20 million bid for Croatia international Domagoj Vida.

The Besiktas defender made a name for himself with his impressive displays at the World Cup in Russia and BeIN Sports Turkey claim that West Ham were so impressed that they have made a formal offer.

The report goes on to suggest that the two clubs remain in negotiations over a potential deal, but just who would it affect the most in east London?

Winner: Declan Rice

This pre-season has already been a good one for the young defender, who will look to consolidate himself as a first team regular under Manuel Pellegrini in 2018/19. All that remains to be seen is in which position that will be.

“It’s a new manager coming in and I think everyone has got a fresh start under him. I can’t wait to show him what I’m about and what I can do. I played 32 or 33 times last year and I want to carry on this year. I want to keep playing games and keep improving and learning.”

Rice is keen to build on his progress from last season.

The 19-year-old may continue as a central defender, where he ended the season under David Moyes, and could benefit hugely from the experience of Vida, or alternatively may move into holding midfield, where he has played throughout his time in the club’s youth set-up.

Vida’s arrival could give extra flexibility and also bring in an experienced option to field alongside him, though his popular status in the stands as much as in the directors’ box or in the dressing room will mean that he is unlikely to lose his spot if he can maintain his form.

Loser: Winston Reid

Expected to be out of action until October, according to BBC Sport, the last thing that the New Zealand captain will want is to know that his place will be even more under threat than it currently is.

(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Reid suffered a raft of injuries last season with a groin problem and knee injury preventing him from making more than 20 appearances in total, which at 30-years-old will be a major concern for Manuel Pellegrini.

This season could be decisive in where Reid’s future will lie given the emergence of Rice and potential arrival of Vida, despite having a contract until 2023.

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Isaac Hayden wants move down south and West Ham should oblige him

The Essex-born midfielder wants to move back south and West Ham would be the perfect fit.

Mathew Nash

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West Ham United have made some excellent signings this summer, with many eye-catching arrivals. Big names like Jack Wilshere, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko have all arrived at the London Stadium.

But West Ham do not appear to be done, with numerous other rumours doing the rounds. Whilst bringing in eye-catching big names is fantastic for West Ham, they should also be considering the less extravagant but just as important recruits.

One player West Ham should certainly be keen on is Newcastle United midfielder, Isaac Hayden.

He recently handed in a transfer request at St James’ Park as he wants to return to the south. A former Arsenal youth product, he is actually good pals with new West Ham recruit Wilshere. The Essex-born 23-year-old would, therefore, relish the chance to head to West Ham and get his wish.

For West Ham, Hayden would be a fantastic recruit.

The defensive midfielder has played an unheralded but important role for Newcastle in the two seasons he has been up north. If looking for an indicator of his importance to the club, just look at the reaction from fans to the news he might be leaving.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Hayden is a reliable, versatile and no-nonsense option that West Ham could definitely do with in the heart of the midfield.

With Cheikhou Kouyate’s talents diminishing, Pedro Obiang recovering from knee surgery and Wilshere obviously prone to injury, having another midfield option could be key for West Ham.

They absolutely must pounce on this opportunity to bring Hayden back down south.

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West Ham’s Manuel Pellegrini is right to put faith in Toni Martinez

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Photo: Getty Images.

New West Ham United boss Manuel Pellegrini have spent big this summer already with several impressive additions, though none of them have been for forwards. Now, it seems that the former Manchester City coach could put his faith in young striker Toni Martinez to back-up the front line.

Football.London say that the 21-year-old has impressed his new manager in training and could be set for more regular game time in the first team having been prolific in the youth teams.

In two seasons with the under 23s since joining from Valencia, he has scored 25 goals in 29 games and done enough to earn a shot in the eyes of Pellegrini.

Martinez made the bench for six Premier League games last season but did not make it off the bench, though he did make his first team debut with three FA Cup appearances under David Moyes.

“Toni’s on double figures and he missed probably six weeks of the season. He has come from abroad, has had to settle, has been learning the language. That shows just how well he has done. He’s an out-and-out goalscorer. He puts his foot through the ball and he’s clinical. Toni’s record is frightening at the moment.”

Youth coach Terry Westley on Martinez.

A loan spell in the Spanish second division with Real Valladolid followed, scoring once in 11 games, only two of them starts, as he struggled to earn a spot in a settled team which he helped to claim promotion back to La Liga.

It remains to be seen just what kind of role the likes of Javier Hernandez and Andy Carroll will play under Pellegrini, but Martinez being given a more important role could indicate that he is not fully convinced by his existing options.

The 21-year-old is under contract until next summer and knows that this campaign could be a big one if he is to establish himself in the Premier League and this news will come as a major boost for the striker.

Now though, he has to transform his prolific reserve team form into goals at first team level with the challenges that such a test will bring with it.

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