English Premiership

Bilic dismisses Carroll exit rumours

Andy Carroll (Getty Images)
Andy Carroll (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Slaven Bilic has refuted reports that West Ham are looking to cash in on striker Andy Carroll by off-loading him to the Chinese Super League.

The 28-year-old former Newcastle and Liverpool front-man has been in impressive form for the club, netting six goals in 12 Premier League games this season.

He answered the call of his manager as the Hammers struggled with something of a striker crisis.

Certain sections of the media claimed that West Ham sought out agent Mark Curtis to negotiate a deal before Tuesday's Chinese transfer deadline. While Bilic admitted that there was interest from China, he ruled out a move away for Carroll.

He said: "No way, no way. You know how much I rate him. He is one of our best players and we want to keep him.

"As far as I know, the Chinese clubs sent representatives to watch the game. Apparently they were watching other players but they fell in love with Andy. But it was not the club that asked an agent to sell the player.

"Definitely Andy heard it (the interest). I suppose that he was flattered. It is nice to have options and have a good opinion about you at other clubs. But we didn't talk about it at all."

A groin problem has kept Carroll out for nearly a month, but is expected to return to competitive action against Chelsea on Monday.

"He trained individually over the last few days, then he joined us yesterday. Still we have four days and he is training today with us," he said.

"It looks good and, especially with him, altogether it will be a week of good training, and enough for him to be fit for the game. I am very optimistic."