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Anderson arrives: Can Pellegrini unlock West Ham’s potential?

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West Ham United has sealed another impressive deal, adding $48 million winger Felipe Anderson from Lazio.

It’s a club record deal from the Irons, whose ambitions have been short-circuited in recent seasons by stop-start play under Slaven Bilic and David Moyes.

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Now Manuel Pellegrini is in charge, and has made a series of purchases including Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Issa Diop, and Jack Wilshere amongst others.

Anderson was fantastic for Lazio last season, though he was part of a loaded attack with Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto, and Sergej Malinkovic-Savic.

Now the challenge is gelling quickly inside a short window. As we’ve seen in the past with markedly changed mid-table sides — see: Everton’s 2017-18 season — hitting the ground running is key.

Players have been convinced of West Ham’s ambition. Here’s the latest, Anderson, from WHUFC.com:

“West Ham is a club with a lot of tradition, lots of great players have played here, like Bobby Moore, Carlos Tevez and Di Canio. They were great players and idols here, and I’m aiming big, who knows, maybe I could hit their heights and be a legend here too.”

But turning that into on-field success and in-room culture has been a challenge. The move to London Stadium didn’t help, and managerial instability has been anything but a boon to the Irons. There have been plenty of self-inflicted wounds, too.

West Ham’s lineup could be frightening, even in the face of injuries to Andy Carroll (surprise!) and Winston Reid. But managing egos new and old is a challenge, which is why the Pellegrini hire could be a masterstroke.

Consider this possible XI from Pellegrini, who largely operated his Manchester City with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 with two holding/defensive/deep-lying center midfielders (There have been rumors West Ham could sell Cheikhou Kouyate).

There are a lot of options for Pellegrini’s front four. Anderson and Yarmolenko both prefer right wing, while Arnautovic likes the left but has proven adept as a center forward if Pellegrini becomes the latest manager to eschew the idea of Javier Hernandez up top. Manuel Lanzini‘s injury does seem to put Wilshere in the No. 10 role.

Fabianski

Fredericks — Diop — Balbuena — Masuaku

Obiang — Kouyate

Anderson — Wilshere — Yarmolenko

Arnautovic

So the ingredients are there, with Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta, and Jordan Hugill joining Chicharito in keeping training competitive.

But Pellegrini will have to navigate a culture that saw a seedy finish to the season, with protests and ugly incidents amongst supporters and players on the field in London.

And he does seem the man for the job. But if he can’t do it… well, stay tuned.

Emery insists Ramsey a key piece, wants contract situation resolved

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While he’s nowhere near the high-profile superstar that Alexis Sanchez was for Arsenal, Aaron Ramsey presently finds himself in the exact same position in which his former Chilean teammate sat this time last year: fewer than 12 months remaining on his contract, and unsure where he would be playing in a year’s time.

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It can be argued that Arsene Wenger and Co., completely botched Sanchez’s contract and eventual transfer saga — the Gunners got Henrikh Mkhitaryan when Sanchez left for Manchester United — and Wenger’s replacement, Unai Emery, is keen to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself on his watch — quotes from the Guardian:

“I am very happy with him. Every training is with the ambition I want, working with quality and the competitive spirit I want. I want to work with him. His future is a question for the player and club. I said to Ivan, Raul and Sven [Gazidis, Sanllehí and Mislintat, the collective dealing with contracts and transfers] he’s an important player for me.”

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Emery has also offered up some insight into his conversation with another former Arsenal player, Jack Wilshere, while prompted the longtime Gunners midfielder to leave the club this summer and sign for West Ham United on a free transfer.

“It was a very good conversation very directly together. I explained to him my opinion and how I wanted to create the team and could not be sure to say to him he is going to play into the XI. He explained to me the decision is not easy for him but he wanted to chose the best option for him. I know this player is important for the supporters and grew up here in Arsenal, but I don’t give him one position in the starting XI and for that he chose to leave. I also respect this.”

What will Guendouzi bring to Arsenal?

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Arsenal continue to add new talent over the offseason as Unai Emery’s fifth signing as the new Gunners boss was confirmed on Wednesday.

Matteo Guendouzi is on board.

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The 19-year-old French midfielder is highly-regarded in his homeland after breaking through at FC Lorient in Ligue 2 following his time spent at Paris Saint-Germain’s academy.

Guendouzi joins Arsenal a day after promising Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira completed his $35 million move from Sampdoria, and he joins fellow new recruits Stephan Lichsteiner, Bernd Leno and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Speaking about his $10 million arrival at Arsenal, the French U-20 international has high hopes for his future after revealing Arsenal is “the side I’ve wanted to join since I was a child” and is the team that is “closest to his heart.”

“My hope is to become a top player here at Arsenal. A lot of great players have played here. I want to become part of the club’s history and to achieve great things here. I want to win titles, titles, titles,” Guendouzi said. “I want to establish myself here, which would be amazing. Winning silverware, as I said, is very important to me and winning things here at Arsenal would be incredible.”

What can we expect from Guendouzi? Well, first up, his hair game is incredibly strong. I mean, that is a seriously impressively hairdo. Carlos Valderrama, eat your heart out.

But on the pitch he will bring tough-tackling and an impressive range of passing from a holding midfield role. Think, a slightly less flamboyant David Luiz and that is what to expect from Guendouzi.

Emery believes he will challenge for minutes in the first team straight away and given the departure of Jack Wilshere plus the likes of Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka having to prove themselves all over again, having a young, tenacious holding midfielder is something Arsenal have been crying out for.

“We are delighted Matteo is joining us. He is a talented young player and a lot of clubs were interested in him,” Emery said. “He has big potential and gained good first-team experience last season with Lorient. He wants to learn and improve and will be an important part of our first-team squad.”

Jack Wilshere joins West Ham United

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Jack Wilshere has signed for West Ham United, the club he supported as a boy.

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Wilshere, 26, left Arsenal on July 1 after his contract expired and he failed to agree a new deal, and he’s now made the move across London to sign with the Hammers on a three-year deal.

The creative midfielder has been at Arsenal his entire career after graduating from their academy and making his pro debut at the age of 16, but he has been seriously hampered by injuries in recent seasons and lost his place in the England squad as a result of those struggles.

Speaking to West Ham about his move to the London Stadium, here’s what Wilshere had to say as he joins the club his father and brother support.

“It feels good, it feels special. Many people know that I’ve had a special bond with this club growing up,” Wilshere explained. “People will have seen the picture of me in a West Ham shirt and I’ve got good memories of my childhood supporting West Ham, watching them at Upton Park. It feels good and of course my family and a few of my friends are West Ham fans so everyone’s buzzing.”

Wilshere went on to explain that Manuel Pellegrini becoming the new West Ham manager was a key part of his decision to join them, while the pull of playing at the London Stadium was another.

“The fans, of course – everyone knows how big West Ham’s fanbase is – and especially in this new Stadium,” Wilshere said. “Not many clubs could fill it week in, week out, and West Ham do. I want to be playing here in front of the Hammers, and my bond I’ve had with the Club over my childhood will make it even more special.”

Wilshere’s career now has the opportunity to get back on track as he will undoubtedly be West Ham’s go-to guy in central midfield. What that means for players such as Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang and Cheikhou Kouyate remains to be seen but Wilshere will play regularly, as long as he’s fit, and his class on the ball is undoubted.

Even last season he showed flashes of brilliance for Arsenal as he worked his way back to full-fitness and with a host of clubs lined up to sign him, Wilshere has chosen to remain in London and in the Premier League.

Entering the prime of his career, he now has the perfect chance to become a hero at West Ham and prove to Arsenal what they’re missing. With 34 England caps to his name, he will be aiming to get back into Gareth Southgate‘s squad but first and foremost he needs to stay fit.

If he does that and replicates his best form, West Ham have a great chance of challenging for a European spot this season.

Report: West Ham closing in on Wilshere, Yarmolenko

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West Ham is reportedly getting a mix of world class veteran savvy.

Sky Sports is reporting that free agent Jack Wilshere and Borussia Dortmund winger Andriy Yarmolenko will be heading to West London this week.

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Big-framed Yarmolenko is the subject of a near-$24 million bid from the Irons, adding a similar threat to the one provided by Marko Arnautovic and promising a headache for defenders.

Yarmolenko scored six times in 26 matches for BVB last season, splitting time with the club’s talented depth including USMNT attacker Christian Pulisic. He’s scored 35 times in 77 caps for Ukraine.

Wilshere, still just 26, played 38 times for Arsenal this season but balked at signing a new contract with the team under new boss Unai Emery.

He missed out on the England roster for the World Cup, but is capped 34 times with two goals.