I first noticed Mohamed Salah when he was playing for Basel against Tottenham Hotspur in Europe. I was very impressed and it was no surprise when in January 2014, Chelsea paid £11 million for this talented young Egypt international. However, he has been given very few opportunities with his new club before having a successful loan spell at Fiorentina (6 goals in 16 games).
Fiorentina want him back again but it is rumoured that he still wants to make it in the Premier League. He is unlikely to get many games at Chelsea but it seems West Ham are willing to take him on loan.
Salah has shown he can do it at international level (21 goals in 37 games) and I am sure he would be a great success at Upton Park. It will also help José Mourinho discover if Salah has what it takes to make it in the Premier League. (25th June, 2015)
The signing of Dimitri Payet (see below) will raise questions about the future of Stewart Downing. The 30-year-old still has two years left of his contract to run at West Ham, but with so much transfer talk about Payet, several clubs have become interested in him. It seems that Sunderland have made the England international one of their main summer targets.
Downing grew up in nearby Middlesbrough and was a product of his home-town club's academy, going on to make over 200 appearances for them before joining Aston Villa in 2009. Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat wants a winger to strengthen the squad this summer and insiders at the club feel an offer of a long-term contract will be appealing to Downing.
For someone who will be 31 next month, Downing will find a new long-term contract appealing. However, it is not only Sunderland who will be willing to make him a good offer. Despite missing out on promotion after losing the Championship play-off final against Norwich, Middlesbrough's manager Aitor Karanka has been given the funds to strengthen his squad. It is possible some of this money will be spent on Downing. (23rd June, 2015)
West Ham have given a two-year contract to former Manchester City trainee Martin Samuelsen. The Norway youth striker spent three years at City's academy and impressed during a trial at West Ham at the end of last season.
“I’m very pleased to have signed for West Ham United," Samuelsen, 18, told the club website. "I’m just really looking forward to getting started next season. When I was on trial here at the end of last season, I was amazed at the individual planning for each player. They have a great plan for each player. The atmosphere there is very good. First of all I want to play well for the U21s and get goals and assists. Overall I want to help the team do well and maybe lift the league title."
Academy boss Terry Westley said: "Martin is a very interesting character. He can play as a No 9 or No 10. As a young prodigy at 14, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City were all trying to sign him. He’s gone through a real growth and development recently. We see the potential in this boy and we’re so pleased that we managed to persuade him to come. He had a number of Italian and German clubs interested in him yet he decided to join us." (22nd June, 2015)
Carl Jenkinson, the Arsenal full back, had a highly successful time on loan at West Ham last season. The 23-year-old created 22 chances, had a pass accuracy of 78% and a shot accuracy of 60%, and won 22 headers, 11 dribbles and 26 tackles in 32 Premier League appearances.
Arsenal are unwilling to sell Jenkinson but are willing to let him go on loan for another season. The problem is that they are demanding a loan fee of £2 million. West Ham are willing to pay this but insist this should be deductible from any future purchase price.
Premier League rivals Sunderland have agreed to pay this loan fee but Jenkinson wants to remain at Upton Park. Further negotiations have been taking place and according to sources within the club the terms of the loan deal have now been resolved and Jenkinson is set to become a Hammer for the second time upon his return from the European Under 21 Championships, where he is currently representing his country. (21st June, 2015)
According to the French newspaper, Le Parisien, the highly skilled Dimitri Payet is in dispute with his current club, Olympique de Marseille. His £62,000 per week wage packet will be cut to £45,000 because his club failed to land a Champions League place.
West Ham have reportedly offered the French international a £60,000 per week deal, paying Marseille a £6m transfer fee. The attacking midfielder may look for a bigger pay packet after an impressive season where he provided 17 assists and scored seven goals in 36 league appearances. Gold and Sullivan are now considering the possibility of increasing their offer. (21st June, 2015)
David Gold said only a few weeks ago that West Ham United planned to appoint a manager who had achieved success in one of the major European leagues. It came as quite a surprise when Slaven Bilic was announced as the new manager. Although he did well with the Croatia national team he was far from impressive when he was with Lokomotiv Moscow and Besiktas.
Bilic has hit back at criticism of his lack of silverware from fans and says the only reason he did not win the league in Turkey is because the club did not have its own ground. Besiktas' Inönü stadium was being rebuilt during his two years there and will not reopen until next season leaving them to travel miles to play their "home" games in Istanbul, Konya and Ankara. He told Fanatik: "I can say this without any reservations one of the key factors behind Beşiktaş not winning the league was not having a stadium. (21st June, 2015)
The striker Charlie Austin is wanted by West Ham with relegated Queen’s Park Rangers looking for a fee of £15m from the transfer of their most saleable asset. Other clubs are also interested in Austin who made an impressive impact in his first season in the Premier League with 18 goals. This includes Chelsea but it is believed that Austin will reject the champions because he wants to be a regular starter.
Newcastle United have made the first bid but Austin went on Twitter to suggest that he is not attracted to the idea of living in that area of the country. Crystal Palace are also interested but Austin is likely to be more willing to go to a club that can offer him European football. Southampton, who are also rumoured to want him, can indeed offer him that but they cannot make a bid for him until they sell Morgan Schneiderlin.
This morning it is reported in the Daily Express that Liverpool are interested in signing Austin. This of course depends on them selling Raheem Sterling first. Charlie Austin lives in London and I suspect that if a bid comes in early West Ham could get him to become their main striker next season. (16th June, 2015)
It is being reported that Slaven Bilic's first signing might be Croatia's new young sensation, Alen Halilović. He is the youngest ever debutant for the Croatian national team, and is considered to be one of the most promising young talents of European football and has been described as the “Croatian Messi” due to his overall skill and ability.
When he was seventeen Halilović signed for Barcelona in March 2014 for €2.2m. However, he still has not played for them and the increasingly frustrated Halilović might be tempted to join his fellow countryman at West Ham.
It has been suggested that other Croatian youngsters are worth looking at. For example, Andrija Balić and Nikola Vlašić both play for Hajduk Split. Some of the top European clubs have shown interest in these players and Valencia have already offered €10m for Balić and Vlašić. Balić's six goals in 18 matches from midfield looks especially impressive. (14th June 2015)