Bilic rules out Evra deal but is full of praise for Defoe
The French full-back won’t be joining West Ham from Juventus, but rumours surrounding the Sunderland striker are unlikely to go away
Slaven Bilic has ruled out any West Ham approach for Patrice Evra but has admitted his admiration for Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe.
Evra’s agent has conceded that the 35-year-old, whose contract expires at the end of the season, is frustrated at a lack of consistent football under Massimiliano Allegri this season.
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The former Manchester United full-back has been linked with a return to the Premier League but Bilic has denied any interest from London Stadium.
“We are the club linked with the most players in Europe,” he told a news conference. “Every player who is available, there’s always West Ham.
“But 95 per cent of that is not true. Definitely not true with Evra. Okay, he’s a great player, but in that position we’re well covered.”
West Ham have also been linked with a bid for former striker Jermain Defoe in a bid to bolster their forward options.
Bilic would not confirm any concrete interest but says both he and some of his West Ham players are full of admiration for the 34-year-old.
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“He’s a very good player, with the way he’s scoring goals for Sunderland. He’s always been spot on, top,” he said.
“I have a few midfielders who tell me he’s the best from the strikers they’ve played with. But he’s a Sunderland player.
“We want players who have experience of the Premier League. We’re not going to panic but we’ll try to get a couple of players in.”
West Ham have arrested their poor form with a run of three straight victories in the Premier League ahead of Saturday’s trip to champions Leicester City.
Bilic is keen to keep confidence high against Claudio Ranieri’s side, who have lost nine of their opening 18 matches and sit only three points above the relegation zone.
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“The confidence is back with the points we are taking and we don’t want it to stop,” he said. “We have to continue to play like this.
“Leicester are not happy about their position in the league but they have the quality and the resources. They should be alright.”