Antonio's brilliant performances are giving Moyes a transfer headache

AHEAD OF THE GAME: Michail Antonio’s brilliant performances are giving David Moyes a transfer headache as no forwards want to move to West Ham to become an understudy

  • David Moyes is struggling to sign a striker due to Michail Antonio’s fine form
  • Newcastle shareholder Jamie Reuben was key to Eddie Howe’s appointment
  • Steven Gerrard’s replacement at Rangers will be asked to cut the club’s wage bill

David Moyes is struggling to sign the striker he believes he needs to boost West Ham’s Champions League qualification bid in the New Year — due to the fine form of Michail Antonio. 

Forwards at other clubs are reluctant to move to the London Stadium as his understudy to sit on the bench. 

West Ham held talks with seven different strikers last summer without completing a transfer and have yet to sign a direct replacement for club-record signing Sebastien Haller, who was sold to Ajax for £20million last January. 

Michail Antonio’s fine form has deterred other strikers from signing for David Moyes’s side

Antonio’s superb performances this season have ironically made West Ham’s recruitment plans more difficult as the 31-year-old has made himself undroppable and Moyes is reluctant to deviate from a successful game-plan of playing just one up front. 

Minority shareholder Jamie Reuben was an instrumental figure in Newcastle’s appointment of Eddie Howe this week. 

The former QPR director argued strongly in favour of a British manager with experience of the Premier League given they are facing a relegation battle as opposed to a big-name foreign manager, the approach initially favoured by the club’s Saudi Arabian owners. 

Reuben is understood to have taken soundings from Jamie and Harry Redknapp, who know Howe well due to their association with Bournemouth, and provided glowing references. 

While the negotiations were protracted and occasionally difficult, Howe impressed Newcastle with the loyalty he showed to long-term assistant Jason Tindall, with the 43-year-old refusing to sign his contract until the club increased the wages on offer to his back-room team.

Newcastle minority shareholder Jamie Reuben (centre) was key to Eddie Howe’s appointment

 New Rangers’ boss to cut wages

Rangers’ new manager will be asked to cut the club’s wage bill and work with a smaller back-room team than the departing Steven Gerrard, with the impending period of financial retrenchment a factor in the former England captain’s decision to leave for Aston Villa this week. 

The wage bill increased by 80 per cent to £48million a year during Gerrard’s three and a half years at Ibrox, but the club were badly hit by the pandemic and announced annual losses of £23.5m last week, making cuts inevitable. 

Gerrard’s coaching staff of Gary McAllister, Michael Beale, Tom Culshaw and Jordan Milsom have all followed him to Villa Park and his replacement may be forced to work with smaller numbers.

Chair Tracey Crouch MP is expected to recommend establishment of an independent regulator of football governance

The government’s fan-led review into football governance will finally be published the week after next, with chair Tracey Crouch MP expected to recommend the establishment of an independent regulator. 

The former Sports Minister, who has been working on the review since April, may also make recommendations regarding the overhaul of the parachute payment system and giving fans’ groups a veto over so-called heritage issues such as stadium relocations, but it will be down to the Government to put them into practice via parliamentary legislation. 

The publication of the review has been timed to coincide with the Premier League’s introduction of a new Owners Charter to ward off the threat of future breakaways, which the clubs are expected to finally sign off in the same week.

Premier League clubs who have vaccinated 85 per cent of their players and coaching staff will be able to abandon social-distancing measures at their training grounds and return to travelling to away games in one coach.

Under new protocols agreed at this week’s shareholders’ meeting, the emergency measures can be relaxed upon reaching the 85 per cent threshold, although clubs have the freedom to keep them if they wish. 

In addition, clubs will also be permitted to resume staging pre-match press conferences in person but this will not be compulsory and will be dependent on the facilities and space available at each training ground.

Agent Barry Silkman is adamant he has been inoculated against Covid-19 despite previously stating he was opposed to being jabbed and had no faith in the vaccine. 

The former Leyton Orient midfielder repeatedly railed against the Government’s vaccination programme on his Facebook page earlier in the year and has expressed doubts about its effectiveness. 

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