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West Ham set to jump the queue ahead of Newcastle as David Moyes makes defender No 1 target



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West Ham are set to jump Newcastle in the queue for Sven Botman after David Moyes made the defender his No 1 target, according to a report.

The Toon are expected to go back in for Botman, 22, this summer following their transfer tussle with Lille in January. His performances have earned him a lot of admirers from across Europe.

And it appears the Hammers are now one of them, because they are preparing an early approach once the window re-opens.

That’s according to the Northern Echo, who claim Moyes has made the Dutch under-21 international his prime objective.

What’s more, the London Stadium hierarchy are prepared to heavily back their manager in the market.

Whether they’d be able to contend with Newcastle’s financial firepower is another question, though.

Their chief Amanda Staveley suggested Botman was “desperate” for a move to St James’ Park last month.

She said: “We were 19th going into the window. So we had that, an illiquid market and the complexity of Covid-19, which meant clubs didn’t want to sell because they didn’t know where their squads would end up.

“We had to encourage players. ‘We’ll be a safe place for you, we’ll deliver and grow’.

“Some desperately wanted to come to us, like Sven, who still does very much and has talked very openly about that.”

However, since then AC Milan look to have moved into pole position for the centre-back’s signature.

The Italian club, who are title contenders in Serie A, have a five-year deal prepared for him. That has edged them ahead of the Magpies.

Botman would be welcome West Ham addition

West Ham will therefore need to act with urgency to convince Botman the Premier League should be his next destination.

Moyes has identified the left side of the heart of his defence as a position of need.

Multiple injuries at the back in recent months have left the Scotsman light of options.

So Botman would be a very welcome addition to provide competition for Kurt Zouma, Craig Dawson, Angelo Ogbonna and Issa Diop.

He himself has struggled with injuries this season following Lille’s title-winning campaign. That has limited him to 27 appearances across all competitions.

With his current deal up in 2025, Botman seems destined for the exit door. Where to remains the question to be answered.

READ MORECentre-back commended by John Terry remains on West Ham wanted list





Tom Barkhuizen breaks his silence following Preston North End departure




After five-and-a-half years at Preston North End, Tom Barkhuizen’s time at Deepdale has come to an end with the publication of the club’s retained list last week.

The 28-year-old was plucked from League Two side Morecambe in 2017 by the Lilywhites, with then-manager Simon Grayson believing that he could nurture Barkhuizen into a Championship player.

Barkhuizen was able to make the step up instantly, and under Grayson’s successor Alex Neil he barely missed a Championship game in the following seasons, but the 2021-22 season was one of frustration for winger.

Quiz: 24 facts every Preston North End supporter should know about their club – Can you score full marks?

In what year was PNE officially founded as a football club?

After featuring just 13 times in the league and suffering from multiple injuries which curtailed his season in January, Barkhuizen was among the crop of senior North End players set to be released this summer, despite Peter Ridsdale stating back in November that the club were in negotiations to extend his deal.

Barkhuizen has already been linked with a plethora of clubs since his release, including Derby County, Bolton Wanderers and Rotherham United, per an Alan Nixon report, and he’s broken his silence since the announcement of his departure last week with a message on Instagram.

“The last 5 and a half years have changed my life and I’ve made some brilliant friends along the way,” Barkhuizen wrote.

“Looking forward to what the future holds this summer. Thanks for the memories.”

The Verdict

Barkhuizen always gave 100 per cent for North End and spoke his mind in interviews, which may have annoyed some at the club, but it showed that he cared.

He was for sure at his best in his first couple of seasons at Deepdale, and who can forget March of 2017 where he scooped the Championship Player of the Month award just two months after arriving from Morecambe?

The last 12 or so months though will have proved frustrating for Barkhuizen, who was moved out to a wing-back position under Frankie McAvoy and he never looked completely comfortable with it.

A fresh start may be what Barkhuizen needs altogether, and he will no doubt find a club that gives him the opportunities he feels like he deserves.



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Injury Update on Mo Salah and Availability for Champions League Final




Liverpool recently lifted the FA Cup after defeating Chelsea in a thrilling penalty shootout on Saturday, but more than the joy of winning the cup, fans were left worried about the injury scare of Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk. Jota replaced the Egyptian international in the 33rd minute of the match after he sat on the pitch due to a groin injury.

The injury of Salah brought back the horrors of the 2018 Champions League Final for the Reds, who had already suffered heartache at centre stage. Initial expression from players and coaches also added some tension among the fans. Everyone wondered if the Egyptian king would play again this season or not.

According to their physio, Chris Morgan, he confirmed Salah suffered a groin injury before he sat on the pitch. Thankfully it was just tightness after the results from his scan, and he is likely to be available for the last of Liverpool’s matches.

Speaking to the media after the emphatic win, Klopp also addressed the situation by providing a positive update on both players who left the FA Cup Final prematurely, talking about their availability for the next game.

Salah was positive, which probably had a lot to do with his teammates sealing the victory for all of them and spoke after the match and said “I’m good”, after being asked about his injury. He also added that he would be available for the Champions League Final later this month.

Salah Is Key to Liverpool’s Quadruple Dreams

The Egyptian king has been a standout performer for Liverpool this season with 30 goals. The Reds are still in the race for the Premier League title and are in the UEFA Champions League Finals, and Salah will be their trump card in pursuit of glory.

Jürgen Klopp will now have to deal with a big injury crisis going into a must-win encounter against Southampton on Tuesday as Virgil van Dijk, Mo Salah, and Andrew Roberson are unlikely to be available for 90 minutes.

In hindsight, his main focus will be on the UEFA Champions League Final at the end of the month in Paris. However, like in the FA Cup Final and Carabao Cup Final, Klopp has shown how he has the whole squad almost operating on the same wavelength and all sharing a common goal.



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