West Ham manager Slaven Bilic says the club is still on the hunt for new players and admits that the lack of good deals on offer leaves him “frustrated”.
The east Londoners are keen on grabbing a striker but one name frequently linked with a move remains elusive. The Irons boss said on Thursday that he was no clearer about whether Manchester Utd’s Javier Hernandez was available.
Torino have jumped in with an expression of interest along with Spurs and West Ham but the latest signals from Old Trafford suggest the 27-year-old is staying as back-up for Wayne Rooney.
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Bilic said: “There is no clear answer whether he’s is for sale or not – first he was on sale, now some people think he is not for sale until Manchester United buys – if they buy. There are too many ifs and buts.”
He said the club was trying to sign “one or two” more plays – “not five” – but “it’s not easy”.
He said: “It gets you frustrated but all the clubs that are trying to sign – even the clubs with no limit whatsoever budget-wise – they are struggling too.
“It’s not easy – especially with strikers. It’s not easy to find the right one for the kind of money that we have but we are confident that we are going to get one – and even if we don’t we are still a good team but then we will have to be very lucky with injuries.”
On Joey Barton
One player who won’t be heading east is Joey Barton. Bilic denied that a fans’ protest was the sole reason the club didn’t take the outspoken midfielder on a free transfer from QPR. It wasn’t “just one thing” he said.
“I like him as a player and we had some talks and ideas about him but we decided not to do it because it wasn’t the best timing. Joey is a great lad and good player and he wished us well and we also wish him well.”
Perhaps he has enough off-field drama on his plate without shipping in the controversial Tweeter.
On Diafra Sakho
The Irons boss has put distance between Diafra Sakho’s arrest for common assault against a 25-year-old woman last Thursday and his professional obligations on the pitch.
Bilic said the Senegalese player would be available for the first home match of the season, against Leicester City, adding: “He is training, he looks OK and is not worried. He is still positive and not worried and trained normally.”
On Morgan Amalfitano
Less welcome at the training ground is rebel Morgan Amalfitano who fell out with the regime after a bust-up with Bilic. The former Marseille star has been told train with the Under-21s after missing a team meeting and showing attitude.
French Ligue 1 club Saint-Etienne sniff irreconcilable differences and have expressed interest in removing the thorn in the Croatian’s side.
“He’s not back training with the first-team. He's not in the first-team anymore,” said Bilic.
“My first job is to protect the team and keep them as a unit. If I feel that someone is damaging it in that way I have to react and I have done that.
"It was not a brawl in front of the players it was quiet meeting between the two of us. I had to do it to keep the harmony."