West Ham turned down Chinese offer for Andy Carroll
Slaven Bilic confirms bid for England striker was dismissed by club and player
West Ham hope Andy Carroll will be fit for Monday’s game against Chelsea. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images.
Reports had linked Carroll (28) with a move to the far east during their winter window, which closed this week. But Bilic said the club had no interest in selling one of its “best players” and also denied the club had authorised an agent to broker a move.
Asked if reports of the club securing an agent were true, Bilic said: “No way, no way. You know how much I rate him, how much we rate him. He’s one of our best players and we want to keep him. As far as I know the Chinese clubs sent their representatives to watch the game. I don’t know which club or clubs it was and apparently they were watching other players, but they fell in love with Andy.
“We turned down an offer. It happened to Andy I heard it and I also read it in the papers but it didn’t affect our training or relationship with any of the players including Andy. Andy did hear about it and I suppose that he was flattered by that. It’s nice to have options it’s nice that other clubs have a good opinion about you. But we didn’t even speak about it. That’s it basically, not a lot to talk about.”
Carroll has missed West Ham’s last two matches with a groin injury, with Bilic being forced to deploy midfielder Michail Antonio as a striker. But Carroll has resumed training with the squad and the Croat believes it is “realistic” he will be in contention for the match against the league leaders at the London Stadium.
“I hope he’s going to be fit”, Bilic said. “He trained individually for a few days but joined us yesterday nad there are still four days of training before the game. It looks good, and with him a week of good training has so far been enough for him to be fit for a game.
“It would mean a lot to have him back”, Bilic went on. “We’ve done well without him in the last couple of games but I’m sure we would have done even better because he’s one of our key players. It would be great to have him on the pitch on Monday and it would also be a big blow if he somehow he doesn’t make. But as I said I am always trying to be optimistic but this time it is not crazy optimistic it is realistic that he will be fit and available.”
Bilic also said he hopes a new contract will be agreed ‘very soon’ with Antonio, one of West Ham’s best players this season.
“He’s got a contract but the club want to reward him with a better contract”, he said. “They want to show recognition that he’s done really great for us, that’s what the chairman told me and I think it’s going to be done very soon.”