West Ham: Defender's release clause to be activated; Bilic on Sturridge; recognition for Ayew
The Sun report that West Ham United are preparing to activate the release clause of Sunderland defender Lamine Kone after the Black Cats rejected a bid from Everton in the summer and with Chelsea also monitoring the Ivory Coast international. That clause is believed to stand at around £18 million and is part of Slaven Bilic’s desire to improve his backline.
The 27-year-old has played all but two matches for David Moyes’ team this campaign and has even worn the captain’s armband for the club in the EFL Cup in defeat to Southampton.
Ahead of Sunday’s draw with Liverpool at Anfield, Slaven Bilic was questioned on the topic of reported interest from West Ham in the Reds’ injured forward Daniel Sturridge, to which he responded:
“He’s one of the biggest talents, he’s a great player. The talent is there, the touch, the finishing, everything is great. The only thing that has stopped him being a regular for club and country are the injuries. He’s just a player that has been linked with us, basically, and we’ve been linked with almost every player. We’re always there in contention. Most of the time it’s absolutely not true, 95 per cent of the time. But you’re asking me about Sturridge and I have no problem about that.”
It seems that there is interest from the Hammers in the England international, but it still seems unlikely that they will be able to convince the former Chelsea man to return to London.
One of this summer’s signings, although still not at his best, Andre Ayew, was nominated for BBC’s African Footballer of the Year and reached the shortlist of the final five alongside winner Riyhad Mahrez, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Leicester City winger was the eventual winner to add to his PFA Player of the Year award and his Premier League winners medal, but the ex-Swansea forward can take pride from reaching the final five.
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