WIN, OR THERE’S NO WAY BACCA
Bilic warns transfer hopes for Bony, Zaza & Milan star Carlos depend on victory over Astra
SLAVEN BILIC knows tonight’s Europa League showdown against Astra Giurgiu could have a big impact on West Ham’s transfer dealings.
The Croatian has already confirmed a loan move for Manchester City’s Wilfried Bony and an interest in Juventus and Italy frontman Simone Zaza.
The continuing saga of striker Carlos Bacca, however, has yet to reach a conclusion.
The Hammers still want the 29-year-old Colombian, who insisted this week he now wants to stay at AC Milan, but could yet be tempted if West Ham reach the Europa League group stages.
An offer of around £96,000 a week plus bonuses – double his salary at Milan – has been on the table for weeks.
But Bacca has been stalling for a better offer from a bigger club. That has not been forthcoming.
And, after seeing Bacca start his season with a hat-trick against Torino last weekend, Hammers chairman David Sullivan – making calls from his hospital bed after a minor heart op – remains hopeful. But Bilic says he will not beg the forward to solve their crisis up front.
“We’ve tried,” he said. “It’s become a little bit of a saga. 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.” City are happy for Bony, 27, to leave because the Ivory Coast striker has no future under Pep Guardiola. Bilic (below) said: “He’s a good player, he’s an option because we tried to sign a centre-forward even before the current injuries.” Zaza scored five times in Serie A for Juventus last season and was part of Italy’s Euro 2016 squad.
Bilic confirmed an approach to Juventus for Zaza, with the 25-year-old keen on a move to the London Stadium.
Bilic added: “I’m not going to tell you the details, but we have been linked with Zaza since last year. He’s a top player and I like him. I was here last year, so it tells you everything.
“We will see if it happens this year in the next few days.”
Chelsea’s Loic Remy (left) may be a fallback loan option for the Hammers – if they fail to land their primary targets.
Remy, 29, is available after failing to feature in any of Antonio Conte’s Premier League squads this season.
LONDON CALLING Bacca, Bony and Zaza are on the Slaven Bilic wanted list, but West Ham must deliver tonight