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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.

Free transfers: Lichtsteiner to Arsenal; Fredericks to West Ham

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Arsenal will sign 34-year-old Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner on July 1 when his current contract with Italian champions Juventus expires.

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And the experienced defender, who joins on a one-year deal, will be Unai Emery’s first signing as Gunners boss.

The right back has been at Juve since 2011 and has reached two UEFA Champions League finals with the Turin giants, as well as winning seven-straight Serie A titles and four consecutive Italian cups. He will also captain Switzerland at the World Cup this summer.

Speaking about his move to Arsenal, Lichtsteiner is looking forward to the challenge ahead as they aim to break back into the top four of the Premier League.

“It’s a great moment. It’s great for me after Juventus to come to Arsenal and have this big challenge to make big things [happen] with this big club,” Lichtsteiner said. “I’ve never played against Arsenal, but of course there was the big era of Wenger. He won a lot of titles with Arsenal and [made them] a big team. Now it’s a new moment. Wenger went and now everything is a bit new, so it’s a big challenge.”

His new manager at Arsenal believes the Swiss national team captain can help the Gunners in other ways than just on the pitch.

“Stephan brings huge experience and leadership to our squad. He’s a player with great quality with a very positive and determined attitude. Stephan will improve us on and off the pitch,” Emery said.

Lichtsteiner will add competition for Hector Bellerin at right back and the veteran defender is also able to play elsewhere in defense and midfield to add extra cover to the backline.

With another UEFA Europa League campaign coming up for Arsenal, Emery will certainly need a large squad to rotate between domestic and European action in 2018/19.


It was a busy day for right backs coming to the Premier League on a free transfer as Ryan Fredericks arrived at West Ham United.

Fredericks, 25, was a regular for Fulham as they were promoted to the PL via the Championship playoffs (he was named in the 2017/18 PFA Championship Team of the Year) but his deal with the Cottagers expires on July 1 and he was locked into contract talks but couldn’t agree on a new deal at Craven Cottage.

The Hammers and their new boss Manuel Pellegrini are delighted to have snapped up the attacking full back on a four-year deal.

“It’s amazing for this deal to finally happen,” Fredericks said. “I know we’ve been speaking about it for a while and trying to get things in place and finally, we’ve got it over the line. I’m just buzzing to be here. West Ham United is one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League. Everyone knows the history of West Ham and there’s a lot of factors that brought me to the club.

“Obviously, it’s an exciting time for West Ham. The club have just brought in a new manager in Manuel Pellegrini and everyone knows his CV and what he has done in England before and in other leagues as well. I’m sure I can learn a lot from him.”

Fredericks, who began his career at Tottenham’s youth setup before moving on to Bristol City and then Fulham, will fight with the likes of Pablo Zabaleta and Sam Byram for playing time at right back at the London Stadium.

Manuel Pellegrini takes the reins at West Ham United

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West Ham United was said to be chasing Rafa Benitez, and instead got a manager with more recent big time success.

Manuel Pellegrini is the new boss at West Ham, returning to the league which saw him guide Manchester City to a Premier League title and two League Cups.

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The 64-year-old Chilean is well-traveled, and most recently managed Hebei China Fortune. He was released from his contract with the Chinese Super League side last week.

Pellegrini has also led Villarreal, Real Madrid, and Malaga since arriving from South America in 2004.

From WHUFC.com:

“I think that West Ham had a difficult season last season and I hope that next season we are going to play football that will delight the fans. I always play attacking football and we must try to reach important targets in the season.

“Every time you have a meeting you have feelings about whether it was a good meeting or a bad meeting and I had the meeting with him, just talking about football and talking about West Ham.  We agreed on a lot of things he wants for this Club in the way I think a football club must be managed, so we have a lot of common ideas.”

Pellegrini is missing more than a few elements to play the way he’d like to play, and his arrival could spell the end for long-time players like Mark Noble. It could also be a boon for Pablo Zabaleta as the former Man City pair is reunited in London.

West Ham has spent freely in recent years, and Pellegrini’s status could help it land a breed of player unavailable to Sam Allardyce, Slaven Bilic, and David Moyes.

Klinsmann to be World Cup TV pundit

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Some will say he should be coaching the U.S. national team in Russia this summer, but Jurgen Klinsmann will instead be a pundit on the 2018 World Cup for the BBC in England.

The BBC announced on Tuesday that Klinsmann will be alongside the likes of Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Alan Shearer, Pablo Zabaleta and Rio Ferdinand to give his analysis on the tournament, one he may way feel he should be at as a coach had things worked out differently 18 months ago.

Klinsmann, 53, was fired by the U.S. men’s national team after losing the opening two games of the final round of CONCACAF qualifying against Mexico and Costa Rica.

By now we all know, of course, that Klinsmann’s successor, Bruce Arena, wasn’t able to salvage a slow start to the Hexagonal round of qualifying as the USMNT lost at Trinidad & Tobago in their final qualifier to not make the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

Klinsmann has largely been a bystander since the USA’s World Cup debacle, appearing here and there at coaching seminars or spotted watching his son Jonathan, a goalkeeper with Hertha Berlin and the U.S. youth teams, play.

The German legend was in charge of the USMNT for five years from 2011-16 and led the Stars and Stripes to the Round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Klinsmann’s insight into not only the teams at the tournament but also what happened with the USMNT will be intriguing, especially as he could be more relaxed on the subject of the U.S. considering he will be talking to a UK audience.

This will also be a great chance for Klinsmann to put himself back in the shop window as the managerial merry-go-round swings into overdrive following a World Cup tournament…

Still, there will be a nagging feeling among most USMNT fans that had Klinsmann not been fired back in November 2016 and trusted to get the U.S. back on track, they’d be cheering on their team this summer at the World Cup instead of twiddling their thumbs and being somewhat of a World Cup third wheel.

West Ham 1-4 Man City: Champs on cruise control

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Raheem Sterling was a menace, bagging two assists as Manchester City crushed West Ham United 4-1 at the London Stadium on Sunday.

Fernandinho, Gabriel Jesus, and Leroy Sane scored for City, which also found its way to the scoreboard due to a Pablo Zabaleta own goal. City’s 102 goals are one shy of Chelsea’s Premier League record.

Aaron Cresswell scored for West Ham United, now just three points clear of the drop zone with a minus-24 goal difference becoming an increasing concern.

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Marko Arnautovic and Mark Noble issued a pair of hard fouls early, and Man City responded by almost going ahead through Ilkay Gundogan. The German couldn’t get enough on a cross into the 18, and it bounded through the box.

Sane opened the scoring in the 13th, with Patrice Evra‘s headed block attempt wrong-footing Adrian.

Ederson intervened to stop West Ham’s answer, with Manuel Lanzini‘s cross too far for Aaron Cresswell and punched clear.

An own goal off the boot of Declan Rice and rear end of Pablo Zabaletagave Man City its 100th Premier League goal of the season, and the Citizens had 63 minutes to score three more en route to the record.

That quickly became background noise with a scary head injury to Cheikhou Kouyate, who was lay stricken on the turf for some time. Kouyate went head-to-head with Aymeric Laporte in an accidental collision that the latter saw coming.

But hold on: moments after Marko Arnautovic had a goal pulled back for a foul, Cresswell zipped a gorgeous free kick past a flying Ederson for 2-1. 42′.

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City carved up the West Ham 18 for a third when Jesus cut to the penalty spot and passed behind Adrian.

The Irons could’ve been behind 4-1 when Cresswell cut down Raheem Sterling, but the foul went uncalled.

Fernandinho did make it four, starting and finishing a play with Man of the Match candidate Stirling to put City on the precipice of tying the PL record.