Javier Hernández is perfect for West Ham United

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The smiling assassin with the schoolboy looks could well be signing for West Ham United this week in a £13 million deal, with the Hammer set to activate his release clause in his contract. Sam May takes a look at who they are getting and why they want him.

West Ham have been frustrated in their attempts to land their targets so far this summer with Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi and Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho all linked with moves to the London Stadium, but they are optimistic of landing Hernández.

His looks hide his age and experience. At 29-years-old Hernandez as player brings a wealth of experience – and goals back to the premiership. Plucked from his home team Guadalajara in Mexico and thrust into the limelight, and pressure cooker of Old Trafford, he quickly became a fans favourite.

Injuries didn’t help his cause though. In his four playing years with the Red Devils he made 103 appearances, far too many as substitute, but still managed to register thirty-seven goals. That’s a goal every 3.5 games nevertheless.

He then went on a surprise load to Real Madrid for a year scoring seven times in twenty-three appearances, again a goal every three games. His permanent move to Beyer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga in 2015 rejuvenated him and his career. Twenty-eight goals in fifty-four appearances has shown a goal every two games- and it’s that which have triggered the Hammers to come calling.

Last season they took a “punt” on unknown and untried Premier league hopefuls Simeone Zaza, Gökhan Töre, Jonathan Calleri and Sofiane Feghouli, who? You might ask, exactly. Hernández scores goals. At less than 15 million – even with a hundred grand a week wages, he could be a real bargain if he continues on his goal every two games ratio.

A perfect foil for Andy Carroll expect him to make a larger than life impression for the Hammers this season.

Mamadou Sakho’s future is up in the air as Crystal Palace target alternatives

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The 27-year-old is not in Jürgen Klopp’s plans, but with Liverpool not lowering their £30 million asking price, Crystal Palace are looking elsewhere, writes Sam May.

Frank De Boer has moved swiftly to secure the services of Bruno Martins Indi, who spent last season on-loan at Stoke City and has Ajax captain Joel Veltman and Jaïro Riedewald also on the radar.

Palace had been key to make Sakho’s loan move a permanent one and previously held discussions with the Frenchman – who had agreed personal terms. A fan favourite and key figure in the Palace dressing room, the centre back would have been hoping for a move away from Merseyside, having settled with his family in South London.

There was hope from chairman Steve Parish that the Merseysiders would soften their stance given the Frenchman’s desire to join them, coupled with the fact he does not feature in Klopp’s plans. Liverpool will not budge on the price for Sakho, just as they didn’t with the Eagles record signing Christian Benteke.

Palace fans maybe urging new manager De Boer to make a move for the out of favour Reds defender, but the Dutchman is keen to secure the services of other targets and look elsewhere.

Sakho is involved in rehab at Melwood and is training on his own, as he recovers from the knee injury, which brought an end to his loan spell at Crystal Palace.

He maybe given a lifeline from Klopp following the German’s recent comments of:  “First of all he needs to get 100% fit and then we will see.”

But, Liverpool may have to keep the Frenchman or lower their asking price, if they are keen for the player to depart this summer.

Who is Álvaro Odriozola? The classy Sociedad youngster targeted by Barcelona and Real Madrid

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The Real Sociedad right-back has stood out for the San Sebastian side, and is a target for both LA Liga giants, writes Sam May.

Both clubs are currently working on their summer signings in order to improve ahead of the new season, and both are keen on the star. The 21-year-old, who is under contract until 2018, has €30 million release clause. It is understood he is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal as yet, following interest in him.

Barcelona are keen to fill their right-back position, with Aleix Vidal set to depart this summer and could make a move for the Odriozola, should they fail in their attempts to lure Héctor Bellerín to the Camp Nou. Meanwhile, Danilo is reportedly set for a move away from the Real Madrid and Los Blancos could make a move to fill the void.

But who is he?

He is probably the biggest surprise in Spanish football this season. Despite playing just 13 games in the top flight, he has excelled making a major impact. Since making his debut in January, he has been very impressive and has similar attributes to Héctor Bellerín.

Being an attack minded player, he started out as a right winger in the Sociedad reserves side, but moving to the right-back position – and making it his own. He provided four assists last season and is an intelligent player.

The Spain Under-21 international is the jewel in the crown of Sociedad’s youth academy. In 2013, his name appeared for the first time in the media when the club played in the Champions League and he featured for the Under-19s in the UEFA Youth League. In a game against Manchester United at Salford, the visitors won 1-0 with the goal coming from the right-back.

In an interview with El Diario Vasco, his former manager Beñat San José admitted: “He is a dream come true for any manager, he is well-educated, smart inside and outside the pitch, a good teammate and tactically and technically very gifted, always with a smile.

“His speed and ability with the ball helped him to dribble past players easily. But he is also fast as well in the decision-making process during a game, that is why he anticipates to many situations during the matches.”

Under 18 manager Iñaki Sena added: “Apart from his speed, pace and stamina, it is impressive his ability to keep the ball close to his feet while he is running. He is physically very strong, his endurance is out of this world and since I first saw him I knew he was going to make it.”

Nicknamed the “Quiet Man”, he was set to sign a new deal, but the fact both clubs have expressed interest in him has changed things. In six months time he will become a free agent. If he makes the decision of signing for a European giant, his current club will have to accept a bid lower than his buyout clause. Otherwise, they face losing him in January on a free. That would be a tragedy.

Three Ajax players Frank De Boer could sign for Crystal Palace

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After being appointed the new Eagles boss, the Dutchman will look to fine tune his team ahead of the new season, writes Sam May.

Here are three players the 47-year-old could target to bolster his squad…

 

Joël Veltman

The 25-year-old, who has a year left on his current contract, has also been a target for Tottenham. Having previously played under De Boer during his time with Ajax, De Boer gave Veltman his debut five years ago. Palace have cooled interest in Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho and could turn their attentions the Netherlands international, who is valued at £10 million.

Veltman, who played as a right-back in the Europa League Final defeat to Manchester United at the end of last season, is keen on moving to the Premier League. De Boer admitted after his unveiling as the new Eagles boss that Veltman would be an interesting option. “Joel Veltman could be an interesting option. I know him well, but I have not had any contact with him yet,” he previously said.

 

Kenny Tete

It is believed the new Palace boss is keen to bolster his defence and could move for the impressive young Tete. The 21-year-old is on the Eagles radar and only has 12 months remaining on his Ajax contract. The Dutch club recently accepted a bid of just £2.7million from Galatasaray for the right-back only for the move to fall through.

De Boer gave Tete his Ajax debut and is an admirer of the 21-year-old, who can play anywhere across the defence. Palace could face competition for Tete’s signature from French club Lyon, but will hope that Dutchman De Boer’s appointment will give them the edge.

 

Daley Sinkgraven

Sinkgraven, 21, would add that creativity in the middle of the park and could be available at a cut-price deal. A neat and tidy central midfielder turned highly intelligent full-back, Sinkgraven has made the left-back position his own under, offering balance, composure and probing passes in the transition between defence to attack. In fact, he has made every one of his 18 league starts at left-back.

If he made the move to South London, his former manager De Boer may opt to use him in his favoured midfield position as he looks for a young and creative playmaker to help feed his strikers next season. He is a risk worth taking and would be a perfect addition, should he make the move.