1. The striker hunt goes on
West Ham have a back-up plan in case Carlos Bacca is unconvinced about a move to Olympic Stadium. While the 29-year-old AC Milan frontman mulls over a contract offer, the Irons are looking at Toulouse striker Ben Yedder, who scored 17 goals in Ligue One last time around. The 25-year-old is valued at around £8million.
Meanwhile, West Ham are ready to pick up the pieces of a sensational deal between two Italian clubs. Gonzalo Higuain is ready to complete a monster £78million deal to switch from Napoli to Juve – the most expensive transfer in Italian football history. This could displace Juve striker and Croatian international Mario Mandzukic – another back-up plan for the fragile Bacca talks.
2. The battle of Cresswell’s knee
Slavan Bilic’s one fervent hope for pre-season – no major injuries – took a severe knock in West Ham’s pre-season “friendly” win over Karlsruher on Saturday. The even bigger hit fell on Aaron Cresswell who was crushed by a heavy challenge that infuriated his colleagues.
Consistent Cresswell was left clutching his knee in agony but managed to walk off with assistance. He will undergo scans this week. “It doesn’t look minor,” said co-chairman David Golds ominously.
3. New boys shine
The injury was a large cloud over a successful visit to the Bundesliga 2 opponents. A 3-0 victory saw Andy Carroll on the score sheet along with two new faces – Sofiane Feghouli and Ashley Fletcher. Winston Reid said: “It was a competitive match and a match we needed going into Europe this week. Conditions were really hot, so it was a good test for everyone.”
It was the first pre-season win after the 3-0 loss to Russian side Rubin Kazan in Austria – a team where former Iron Alex Song will spend the season after being loaned out again by Barcelona.
4. Back to Europe
West Ham will travel back to Europe this week as they face Slovenian side NK Domazale in the Europa League third qualifying round. The match takes place on Thursday, July 28, (7.45pm BST) in the tiny Stozice Stadium. The return leg at the Olympic Stadium will be Thursday, August 4, at 7.45pm.
5. Stadium nears finishing line
West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady has issued a progress report on the Olympic Stadium, a few days after some of its features were highlighted during the Anniversary Games. She points out the large digital screen is yet to be put in place as well as stadium-wide wi-fi and the Europa League game will see 54,000 capacity ahead of 60,000 for the Premier League curtain-raiser.
“All in all, we’re in exceptionally good shape and have so much to look forward to in the coming weeks. These are moments that will live long in the memory of the football club and I cannot wait to share them with you,” she told the club’s website .