West Ham manager Slaven Bilic insists he will not beg players to join the club ahead of next week’s transfer deadline.
It is no secret that the Hammers are still searching for a striker to add to their ranks before the transfer window closes on August 31.
Bilic said on Wednesday that he sees Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony as an option while he also refused to rule out a bid for Juventus forward Simone Zaza.
Fellow forwards Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are also absent for Thursday’s crunch Europa League play-off clash against Astra Giurgiu at the London Stadium, with a place in Friday’s group-stage draw still in the balance following the 1-1 draw in Romania last week.
A whole host of other names have been linked with the club, with the likes of Michy Batshuayi – now of Chelsea – Alexandre Lacazette and Carlos Bacca, with all three starting the season in fine goalscoring form.
Columbia international Bacca scored a hat-trick in AC Milan’s 3-2 Serie A win over Torino at the weekend and Bilic admits he was someone who was close to signing – but that West Ham pulled the plug when the player began to drag his heels over a move.
“We tried. It was close. It became a saga a little bit,” Bilic said.
“I think Bacca is impossible. He scored a hat-trick. Also I was the one who called it off three weeks ago in Austria. I wanted him, of course, but I don’t want to have to drag players to West Ham.
“We are not Real Madrid or Manchester United but we are a good club and a proud club with players who are proud to play for us.
“Lots of players want to come to West Ham, believe me. They are calling me every day. So I was the one who said there was no point continuing with Bacca. We are not going to beg anyone to play for us.
“I wasn’t angry at him. He is at a great club on great money and he wants to stay on that level. And of course we are not at that level. We want to be in a few years but we are not there yet. I keep saying that just having a stadium, ambition and money that match those clubs, does not make you one of them.”
Bilic joked that any striker seemingly linked to his club has hit a purple patch in front of goal: “Good targets, eh? We knew before everybody and were already watching all those players,” he said.
“We should get something from those clubs! We are better than any pre-season. Want your player to score a hat-trick? Here’s West Ham’s number!”
Despite making no secret of his desire to bring in more attacking options, Bilic said he will never lose faith in Carroll – even though the England forward has been hit with another injury.
The 27-year-old has been plagued with injury problems since joining from Liverpool and could now be out for up to six weeks with a knee issue.
But Bilic believes the former Newcastle man is worth keeping around for when he is fit enough to play.
“I’m never going to give up on Andy, he is so good and I like to stick with the players I feel are giving me everything,” he added.
“I like and love him as a player, even as a person. He is trying, he is doing everything.
“He passed the whole pre-season and he trains like he plays. But it was the movement of the knee. He just came on. It was not fatigue. A bad move on a bad pitch, bad kind of grass that caused that.
“He is bringing you quality in every game, you count on him and the suddenly he is out.”