Sebastien Haller has completed his transfer to Dutch side Ajax for a cut-price deal of £20 million.
West Ham broke their transfer record in signing the striker from Eintracht Frankfurt for £45 million 18 months ago, however, Haller has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League having just scored 10 goals in 48 League appearances.
In a statement made by the club, the West Ham official site said:
“West Ham United would like to thank Sebastien for his contribution to the club and wish him the best for his future career.”
TalkSport’s Alex Crook, meanwhile, added:
“I think it’s pretty clear now that Haller isn’t really a player David Moyes feels he can hang his hat on. He has scored some spectacular goals but not with the regularity Moyes is looking for, and we know when Michail Antonio is fit he won’t be in the starting XI.“
Indeed, the likes of Ajax impressive 19-year-old striker Lassina Traore have been mentioned. The Burkina Faso International has made 29 first-team appearances for the Dutch side to date and has scored 12 goals so far this season. This includes seven in 11 Eredivisie starts.
The Hammers, however, may have to compete with fellow Premier League rivals Wolves, who are also in need of a striker following the serious injury sustained by Raul Jimenez.
Another realistic possible signing could be Bournemouth striker Joshua King, who has previously attracted the interest of the East London side. In addition, the Norwegian’s contract will expire at the end of the season.
Reports, meanwhile, are also linking West Ham to resigning Austrian forward Marko Arnautovic from Shanghai SIPG, however, the club have since distanced themselves from this prospect due to his high wage demand.
So, with the Haller transfer now officially confirmed it is vital that Moyes does indeed bring in a striker to the London Stadium this month with first choice striker Antonio having on going hamstring issues. Who he does bring in as a replacement though remains to be seen.
Who do you reckon West Ham should sign to replace Haller in the January Transfer Window? Feel free to share in the comments below….
This weekends Championship fixtures kick off tonight as Barnsley host Bournemouth at Oakwell. No fans will be able to return for this mach as Barnsley still sits in tier three.
Barnsley sit in 15th in the Championship table and come into this game on the back a 2-1 win at Birmingham. The Tykes have won five and lost three in their last eight matches. They have lost just one if their last six home games, a narrow 1-0 loss to Brentford.
Bournemouth are currently in second, one point behind leaders Norwich. After a run of three wins they drew at Rotherham and then lost at home to Preston. The loss to Preston was just their second defeat of the season.
These two sides haven’t met since 2014 when Bournemouth won 1-0 at Oakwell. That day Steve Cook scored a 94th minute winner for the Cherries. Although the sides have not met very often in recent years Barnsley’s last win came in 2004 with a 3-1 win at the Vitality Stadium.
Ben Williams and Jordan Williams will both miss the game against Bournemouth. Elliot Simoes remains a doubt after coming off in the match against Cardiff City.
For Bournemouth Cameron Carter-Vickers and Jack Stacy will miss out. Arnaut Danjuma and Josh King are both doubtful to return to the side.
Valerien Ismael has called for his players to be more ruthless in games, speaking to the press ahead of the game:
“When we play every three days, it can be very dangerous for us. We must become more ruthless.
“We know this and work with the guys on it. We must improve. For sure, we need the next step in this game tomorrow with more efficiency to avoid mistakes and be more ruthless.”
Despite Bournemouth’s quality Ismael believes his side can win this game:
“Bournemouth is a very big side with high quality, a Premier League club until this season and we expect another tough game.
“But we have prepared the guys, they know what to expect on Friday and if we can be more clinical, more ruthless and continue to work hard for each other, we will be a strong opponent.
“We go into every game trying to win, tomorrow is no different.”
Jason Tindle spoke to the media ahead of this fixture and is looking for his side to bounce back after a disappointing result at Preston:
“Certainly of the back of a disappointing result you want the next game to come around quickly, to go out and deliver a good performance. You know hopefully a winning performance.
“We certainly got that opportunity now tomorrow evening we know we need to go there and deliver a better all round performance then we did we did against Preston.”
Tindle knows his side will face a difficult task as they head to Barnsley this evening.
Speaking on his opponents:
“A team that’s got a lot fight, a team that’s gonna make it very difficult for us , a team that’s very hard to break down and a team that’s gonna play to win the game.
“So we gotta go there were not going to underestimate them in any way and we gotta go there and deliver a performance that’s worthy of winning the game.”
For Barnsley striker Cauley Woodrow has picked up six goals and three assists so far this season. The striker has a Whoscored.com rating of 7.12 with an average of 3.6 shots per game and 2.8 aerials won.
Dominic Solanke has been in fine form for Bournemouth with a Whoscored.com rating of 7.25. He has five goals and three assists for the season.
Prediction: Barnsley 1-2 Bournemouth
Barnsley pulled off a good comeback win at Birmingham but Bournemouth will have too much quality. After a defeat to Preston expect Bournemouth to put in a better performance tonight to keep their promotion push going.
Changes at the top as Norwich go top, Reading drop to sixth and Bournemouth go second. Three wins from five moves Stoke City to seventh and one point of a play-off place. A third defeat in a row means Derby stay bottom, Wycombe remain in relegation places after draw with Brentford.
Canaries Top of the Table
Norwich picked a vital away win beating Middlesbrough by a single goal. Both teams had chances in the first half but Middlesbrough had a golden opportunity to take the lead early in the second half.
Some good work down the left allowed Marcus Tavernier to get the ball into the Norwich box. The Canneries were unable to properly clear the ball and Tavernier was brought down by Ben Gibson, resulting in a penalty. Tavernier took the kick and put the ball into the net but as he took the kick he lost his footing and was judged to have touched the ball twice. The referee disallowed the goal and Norwich were let away with one.
The let off sparked Norwich into life, Timo Pukki hitting a shot in the side netting. Tavernier’s poor luck continued as he blazed a shot over the bar from six yard box. Norwich got their goal after 72 minutes. Max Aarons playing a 1-2 with Emiliano Buendia, was then brought down in the box. Pukki had no problems with his penalty rolling the ball into the corner.
“Middlesbrough is a tough place to go, they were on an eight-game unbeaten run and conceding just one goal in their last seven games so, that shows the size of the task today.”
Cherries Second half come-back
It was a fourth straight defeat for Reading as they drop to sixth place. After taking a two goal lead into halftime they were blown away by Bournemouth’s second half fight back.
It started so well for Reading Alfa Semedo winning the Royals a penalty after 4 minutes, when he was brought down by Begovic. Despite Begovic going the right way he was unable to stop Lucas Joao’s spot kick. It was 2-0 before the break as Oviemuno Ejaria’s through ball found Sone Aluko who guided the ball past Begovic.
The comeback started on 56 minutes as Dominic Solanke turned in from Lloyd Kelly’s cross. David Brooks’ pass cut through Readings defence and found Arnaut Danjuma who squeezed the ball in from a tight angle. Bournemouth took the lead after Brooks laid the ball off to Lewis Cook. Cook took a touch then sent a screamer of a shot into the top corner. The home side made sure of the points late on. Reading keeper Rafael giving the ball to Solanake, and after a scramble between them Solanke put the ball into the empty net.
“We got ourselves in a difficult position at half-time and started slowly and I had to say one or two words and make a few tactical changes.
“We needed to come out and prove that this was a top of the table clash and, in the second half, we performed a lot better.
“That sort of result gives us confidence and the second half is our benchmark. We need to take it into the next run of games.”
Bristol City Pile pressure on Derby
Elsewhere, it is now three straight defeats for Derby after Bristol City win 1-0 at Ashton Gate.
Famara Diedhiou got the only goal of the game after 78 minutes. Antoine Semenyo breaking into the box from the right cuts the ball back to Diedhiou who placed his left footed shot into the bottom corner past David Marshall.
The win comes after Bristol City had a Covid-19 outbreak at their training ground. Dean Holden told BBC:
“To play like that after only one and a half day’s training this week was an unbelievable effort by the players.
“I can’t stress too much how well they did in the circumstances. During an international break you normally have two weeks to build up to the next game.”
Swansea City, meanwhile, beat Rotherham by a single goal. Matt Grimes netting his first of the season for the Swans. Grimes hit a shot from outside the box and going through a crowd of players the ball found the net. The win is Swansea’s third in a row at home as they look to reach the play-offs again this season.
Preston got their first home win of the season by beating Sheffield Wednesday by a goal to nil. The Owls had to play most of the game with 10 men after Josh Windass was given a straight red for a high foot. Tom Barkhuizen got Preston’s goal three minutes after the restart. Smashing home a volley from 16 yards out after Wednesday keeper Keiran Westwoods punch clear. With a first win at home Preston could mount a charge up the table if they can replicate their good away form.
Barnsley, however, left it late with two goals in the last five minutes to beat Forest 2-0. Barnsley twice struck the crossbar in the first half but had their keeper to thank for the goalless half time score. Jack Walton making three fine saves to keep the score at 0-0.
He made another in the second half as Forest looked to break the deadlock. The opening goal came from Callum Styles shotting from the edge of the box into the top corner. Cauley Woodrow got the second after good work from the right from Callum Brittain. Barnsley have four wins from five and now sit 13th.
Seven Goal Thriller
A goal feast at Stoke as they beat Huddersfield 4-3. The visitors took the lead as Carel Eiting volley from the edge of the box went in. The host’s levelled as Tyrese Campbell latched on to a loose ball in the box and smashed the ball into the net. Campbell gave Stoke the lead two minutes later, played into the box he rolled the ball under the keeper 2-1. Isaac Mbenza squared things up again at 2-2, played in by Eiting he rolled the ball under the Stoke keeper. Stoke pressed high as Huddersfield tried to play out form the back. Campbell getting the ball in the box and his shot going in off Richard Stearman.
Sam Clucas made it four for Stoke, with some good footwork he found a pocket of space and shot into the top corner. Huddersfield made it 4-3, Mouhamadou-Naby Sarr heading in from Mbenza’s free kick.
Cardiff came from behind to draw with Millwall as Neil Harris made his first return to his former club. Matt Smith gave Millwall the lead on 35 minutes with his first of the season. Kieffer Moore scored his fourth Cardiff goal on 79 minutes to get a point for the visitors.
QPR went behind early to a Ben Wilmot goal after 3 minutes for Watford. Llias Chair made sure the points were shared with his third goal of the season. The draw drops Watford to fith. Five draws for QPR this season as they sit in 18th place.
Luke Berry gave Luton the lead on 69 minutes at Kenilworth Road. Sam Gallagher leveled for Blackburn three minutes later giving both sides a point. Both sides are unbeaten in three games. Luton are 10th while Blackburn are 14th.
Coventry City v Birmingham and Wycombe v Brentford both ended goalless. Coventry remain a point above Wycombe down the bottom. Brentford have now drawn four of their last five.
Norwich now lead the table and Reading having lost four in a row have dropped to sixth. The table will keep changing with only eight points from 12th to 1st.
As ever the Championship season is providing arguably the fiercest competition in world football as a host of clubs look to fight heir way to the promised land of the Premier League.
There has already been one game completed on Friday night as ground sharing Coventry City and Birmingham City played out a rather lacklustre 0-0 draw on Friday night.
Here is your preview of the rest of the big games over the weekend…
AFC Bournemouth v Reading Saturday 12.30pm
Fourth place Bournemouth welcome table toppers Reading to the Vitality Stadium with a chance of overtaking their visitors.
Reading had been unbeatable in thre league until recently, where they are now clinging on to dear life at the summit after losing their last three matches before the break.
Steve Tindall’s Cherries will be without Josh king who tested positive for COVID-19 whilst away on international duty as the relegated south coast club look to bounce back immediately.
QPR V Watford Saturday 3.00pm
An all London affair on Saturday afternoon as second place Watford travel to Loftus Road looking to go top of their table in their quest to make an instant return to the Premier League.
QPR meanwhile have been inconsistent at best during 2020/21 and will be looking to resolve their problems in order to start moving in the right direction and away from the threat of relegation.
Middlesbrough v Norwich City Saturday 3.00pm
Middlesbrough go into this match unbeaten in 10 and with October’s manager of the month, Neil Warnock, at the helm. The hosts are on the cusp of the play-off places but will need to turn a plethora of draws into wins if they are going to challenge.
High-flying Norwich are another side hoping to bounce straight back into he top flight and Daniel Farke’s side are making a decent fist of it as they sit third. Goal scorer Teemu Pukki will be pivotal to the Canaries chances.
Bristol City v Derby County Saturday 3.00pm
Bristol City in fifth are unlikely to be the story of this clash as bottom of the table Derby head to Ashton Gate with Wayne Rooney as their manaager.
Rooney is in temporary charge of the Rams after Phillip Cocu was sacked during the international break, giving Rooney his first role in senior management.
The former Manchester United striker has a huge job on his hands getting a talented Derby squad heading in the right direction.
Another round of Championships fixtures sees the top two lose, Derby drop to bottom and another five goal thriller for Watford. Blackburn, Forest and Rotherham all win at home, while Bournemouth pick up a good away win.
League Leaders Lose Again
Reading started brightly at the Madejski Andrew Yiadom cross from the right found Alfa Semedo, who headed straight at Angus Gunn in the stoke goal. Gunn was called into action again tipping another Semedo header over the bar.
It was Stoke who took the lead when Reading failed to clear and Tyrese Campbell slotted into the corner with a well taken shot. Stoke doubled their lead in the 35th minute. A poor ball from Reading keeper Rafael was headed back towards goal by Tom Smith, flicked on by Campbell into the box where Steven Fletcher tucked home. Fletcher beat The Royal’s offside trap for his fourth goal of the season.
Stoke almost had a third, Tyrese Campbell hitting the post with a curling right footed shot which had Rafael beaten. They did, however, get their third in added time. Lewis Gibson failed his attempted back pass, and left Jacob Brown with a one on one with the keeper. Brown rounded Rafael and put the ball into the empty net despite Gibson’s attempt to get back and clear.
Reading manager Veljko Paunovic said:
“This is a serious league in which mistakes – in both boxes – can kill you. There is a mix of immaturity in some moments and a mix of fatigue, accumulation of games and injuries that we are going through”.
Stoke manager Michael O’Neill told BBC Radio Stoke:
“We had to dig in at the start of the game but once we got ahead we looked capable of scoring again”.
Reading remain top despite three defeats in a row but their lead is down to one point. Stoke are now in eighth after three wins in five.
Swans Drop from Second
Swansea had the best chance of the first half at Carrow Road with Andre Ayew heading against the post from a Swansea corner. Jamal Lowe saw his shot pushed out for a corner from Tim Krul. Teems Pukki, meanwhile, found space in the visitors box but was tackled well by Conner Roberts before he could get a shot off.
Krul was once again in fine form again saving again from Lowe in the second half. Norwich then found the winning goal with six minutes to goal with Marco Stiepermann. Bali Mumba’s ball into the box was touched back to Stiepermann by Buendia for the German to fire home.
Another Five Goal Thriller
A second half thriller at Vicarage Road saw Watford beat Coventry 3-2.
The Hornets took the lead on 53 minutes, Andre Grey with the goal. A low ball across the City box ricocheted off a Coventry defender before hitting Grey to go in.
Coventry then scored two in two minutes to take the lead. The first from Gustavo Hamer, heading back towards goal after a Watford clearance, his head caught out Ben Foster going over the keeper to dip inside the crossbar. Just a minute later the Sky Blues lead Maxime Biamou heading a long ball onto Tyler Walker who stuck the ball first time low into the corner.
The lead, however, lasted just two minutes as William powered his header into the goal from James Garner’s corner.
Watford’s winner came in the 83rd minute, Ismaila Sarr scoring from the spot after Callum O’Hare handled in the box.
Rams Drop To Bottom
Derby are now bottom of the league after losing 2-0 by Barnsley at Pride Park. Derby had chances, Tom Lawrence forcing two saves from Jack Walton. It was disaster for Waltons opposite number as David Marshall’s loose pass went to Conor Chaplin who found the net.
Victor Adeboyejo confirmed the win for Barnsley with a well taken curling shot from outside the box. Barnsley’s victory ensured they bounced back from their defeat in Cardiff and make it three wins from four.
Derby first team coach Liam Rosenior said:
“This is a huge football club and we are not doing it justice. There’s no way the club should be in the position it’s in and I have to hold my hands up to that as well”.
Bristol Take Spoils From Severnside Derby
It was a smash and grab for Bristol City as they left Cardiff with three points in Friday’s Severnside derby.
Starting out quickly Bristol found themselves with an extra man on Cardiff’s left. Antoine Semenyo played a low ball into the Cardiff six yard box which was met by Chris Martin. Martin cut across Sean Morrison to tap home from close range.
With an early lead, Bristol were happy to let Cardiff control the game without ever really threatening Daniel Bentley’s goal. Back to back wins sees the Robins move into fifth place. Cardiff are 15th with just one win in five.
Bournemouth took a two nil first half lead at St Andrews with Arnaut Danjuma and David Brooks scoring. Brooks got his second five minutes after the break to make it three. Scott Hogan pulled a goal back for the Blues but they suffer a second straight home defeat. Bournemouth’s win now sees them fourth, just two points from leaders Reading.
After three without a win, Blackburn ended QPR’s winning run with a 3-1 win. Brereton scored on 50 minutes for Rovers before a penalty from Lyndon Dykes levelled the game.
Adam Armstrong put Rovers back into the lead on 73 minutes, before scoring his second in added time.
Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray praised Armstrong telling BBC Radio Lancashire:
“Adam has matured and his explosive pace allows you to play both ways and his dynamic movement has a devastating effect”.
Lyle Taylor’s brace helped Forest to a second straight home win as they beat Wycombe.
Taylor’s first came from a header at the far post from Cyrus Christie’s cross. Wycombe created some chances but were unable to really test the Forest keeper. A quick counter attack allowed Taylor to score his second and give Forest three points.
Elsewhere, Preston lost on the road for the first time this season. Rotherham lost their last two heading into this fixture but led after Richard Wood smashed home from close range. Ryan Ledson equalised for Preston after 80 minutes, his shot from the edge of the box flying through a crowd of players to nesle in the bottom corner. But it was Rotherham who took the points, Matt Crooks finishing after a good run from Matthew Olosunde.
Middlesbrough are proving hard to beat as they drew 0-0 at Brentford.
Neil Warnock’s side sit in seventh place after their sixth draw of the season.
Brentford had the lion’s share of possession but were unable to break Boro.
It was one way traffic at Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday produced seven attempts on goal to Millwall’s none.
Millwall, however, will be the happier side leaving with a point. George Moncur put Luton ahead against Huddersfield after 21 minutes. After 60 minutes Carel Eiting levelled for Huddersfield with a towering header into the Luton top corner. The point sees Huddersfield up to 13th while Luton drop to 10th.
Reading still lead the league heading into the international break, but Watford are breathing down their necks now in second. Norwich, Bournemouth, Bristol City and Swansea make up the play-off places. With just six points from sixth to 18th, nothing can be taken for granted this season.