Good evening.
Here is a round-up of West Ham related stories gathered from newspapers and the internet on Friday 23/12/16.

Slaven Bilic: West Ham won’t make January signings if we can’t find proven players.

‘I can’t say I like this window but it can work for you and one or two of the right players coming in can change the face of the team. We will hopefully do some business in January – not too much but maybe enough to strengthen two or three positions.’

‘We have three players going to the Africa Cup of Nations, so that is a factor, but if we are fortunate with injuries during that time we are okay in terms of quantity. There could also be one or two going out but let’s wait and see. What would also be perfect is that the incoming players already have experience of the Premier League – and are match fit. Is it easy to find them? No. Are we trying? Yes.’

A right back is essential as West Ham aim to pull clear of danger.

In terms of players, a right-back is not only a priority, it is absolutely essential. Michail Antonio has many qualities but defensive awareness is not one of them. Slaven Bilic needs to play him further up the pitch with the security of a top-class full-back behind him. A central defender and a striker are also needed.

West Ham plotting to re-sign Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe in January window.

An offer of £6million has been mooted for the 34-year-old who is greatly admired by West Ham manager Slaven Bilic. Although West Ham accept that the likelihood of Sunderland selling Defoe is extremely slim they will make an effort to bring him back to the club he left in 2004.

However it would be unthinkable for Sunderland manager David Moyes to sanction the sale of Defoe who is his main attacking goal-threat as they, too, battle against the possibility of relegation this season. It would not make any sense for Sunderland to sell as they have no replacement for Defoe who has scored eight times this season in a struggling team.

Bilic – Boxing Day clash is huge.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Croatian said: “It’s still early in the season. The season is very long, and we can’t say how we will play in April and May. “We have seven points from three games but now we have two games until the end of the first half of the season and I’m expecting us to be stronger.

“This is why this game on Boxing Day is so big. Christmas is a special time of the year. You have to train on Christmas Day because every game is so important.” “It’s was very important to get six points out of [the games against Burnley and Hull]. We got seven points including the Liverpool game and that was crucial. We will approach the next couple of games with confidence.”

Andy hopes to deliver another Christmas Carroll.

“I am over the moon to be back in action and it has been a long time. Hopefully I can keep fit and get back among the goals. “I scored a nice goal against Swansea in my last game there and hopefully I can repeat that on Monday. Carroll added: “We know it is going to be a hard game and every game in the Premier League is tough. You could see that when we played Burnley and Hull and they were probably as hard as any game we have faced. We know it will be the same when we face Swansea.

“Hopefully we can go into the New Year with some more victories behind us and we just need to keep doing our best. “We know we need to do better than what we have done in the first half of the season and we know we can do better. As a team we want to move higher up the league and not give away sloppy points. “For myself I want to get among the goals and keep myself fit.”

Sunderland boss: ‘Priceless’ Jermain Defoe not going anywhere.

West Ham have been linked with a £6million plus player bid in order to tempt Sunderland. Moyes insists they would be wasting their time if they did as Sunderland won’t entertain letting him go. Moyes told the Echo: “He’s priceless, isn’t he? “There is not a price we could put on his head because he’s so important to us staying as a Premier League club. “He’s scored us eight goals just now and if he scores us another eight or 10 in the second half of the season it will give us a great opportunity of staying up.

“We won’t sell him but we obviously can’t stop people talking about it and writing about it. “You ask me the question which means I’ve got to answer it, which gives it more news. “But the fact of the matter is, we’ve heard nothing and we wouldn’t be interested in hearing anything either.”

Slaven Bilic will not hold West Ham’s Andy Carroll back any longer.

“We are monitoring him but why should I hold him back?” Bilic said. “In training we can tell him to stay in and do some extra work, massages, maybe because before it was always holding him back, maybe that was main reason he was getting injured.

“You are more likely to get injured if you don’t train. Of course you have to be cautious because of his history but if he is feeling good, let’s build on that. “He is ready. You know with Andy, you know what you are getting. During the game, in training, you always know what you are going to get. You’re going to get everything. Commitment, quality, impact, he’s that kind of guy and player.

West Ham United closely monitoring Ghanaian midfielder Ebenezer Ofori.

English Premier League side West Ham are interested in signing AIK Fotboll midfielder Ebenezer Ofori, as coach Slaven Bilic looks for more youthful options to help inject more energy into the middle of the park.  According to Mercato365, the highly-rated Ghanaian is being closely monitored by the East Londoners.

Ofori has been with the Swedish side since August 2013, and has fully established himself as an important member of their first-team squad, making 81 appearances, and scoring four goals in the process.  He is an accomplished central midfielder, with discipline and the ability to snuff out any kind of threat from the opposition being his two main strengths.