We're not in for Gestede, insists Bruce

Reports this week suggested the Tigers had made a formal offer for the unsettled 26-year-old, who pulled out of Blackburn’s squad to face Wigan Athletic on Saturday


By Liam Twomey at Upton Park

Steve Bruce has denied that Hull City have made a bid for unsettled Blackburn striker Rudy Gestede and insists they will not try to sign him in the near future.

Reports this week suggested that the struggling Tigers had made a formal offer for the 26-year-old, who subsequently pulled out of Blackburn’s squad to face Wigan Athletic on Saturday, claiming he was not in the right frame of mind to play.

But Bruce is adamant that Hull’s interest never ventured beyond informal discussions and has confirmed they will not be pursuing the Frenchman in the January window.

“I don’t know where that has come from,” he told reporters after Sunday’s 3-0 defeat by West Ham.

“We’ve never made a bid. We did have a conversation with them but apparently an agent had made a bid on our behalf which is news to me and to my owner.

“As far as I’m concerned I don’t know where all the nonsense has come from but I can confirm there’s no way we’ve bid £4 million (€5m), £4.5m (€5.9m) and we won’t be doing so.”

Hull’s lack of fit striking options was laid bare at Upton Park as they failed to capitalise on their first-half dominance and were eventually forced to deploy centre-back Harry Maguire up alongside Sone Aluko after the break. Goals from Andy Carroll, Morgan Amalfitano and Stewart Downing in the second period gave West Ham a comfortable first win of 2015.

“The way we played in the first half absolutely delighted all of us but you have to score,” Bruce added. “For all the good work we did, it unravelled with the opportunities we had because we can’t let them off the hook like that.

“That’s a disappointment because we invested heavily in strikers and [because of injury] they’re not there to take the chances we’ve created.”

Bruce and Hull’s problems were compounded by the fact that James Chester could be sidelined for up to three months after dislocating his shoulder at Upton Park, while Alex Bruce is also set for a month out with a thigh injury.

Sam Allardyce, meanwhile, was buoyed by West Ham’s second-half rally after an error-strewn opening 45 minutes that he claimed were the result of his side’s FA Cup exertions against Everton on Tuesday.

“Our efforts on Tuesday night left us a little bit lethargic in the first half,” he admitted.

“Because we were taking so long to pass the ball forward in the first half, it gave Hull time to get most of their men behind the ball, win possession back and hit us on the break, which they did very well apart from not scoring.

“The quality of our goals were what we’ve been looking for for a few weeks and that finally finished Hull City off.”

Destro discusses Roma exit talk

The Chelsea target refused to respond to questions over his future after recent speculation linking him with a January move to the Premier League

Mattia Destro refused to shed light on rumours linking him with a move away from Roma after helping the Serie A title hopefuls to a 1-1 draw at Palermo on Saturday.

Destro marked his first start in over a month with a goal, rescuing a point for Rudi Garcia’s men nine minutes into the second half at the Stadio Renzo Barbera.

The 23-year-old’s future has been the topic of discussion amid links to Serie A rivals Milan during the January transfer window, while Inter, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are possible destinations.

“I am a Roma player right now,” Destro told Sky Sport Italia.

“My position is that I am a striker, I want to do well, to play and to score. We didn’t win, but I am happy that I scored.”

Destro was the hero for visiting Roma after being handed a rare start by coach Rudi Garcia.

After highly-rated Argentinean striker Paulo Dybala gave Palermo a second-minute lead, Destro slid in to restore parity for Roma in the 54th minute.

“I missed scoring goals, it was important to me and I’m happy it arrived tonight,” said Destro.

“When I get the opportunity to play I always try to give my best. It’s a shame we didn’t get the victory.

“We played against an excellent side and drawing here is to be considered a good result. We wanted the win, but are satisfied with a point.”

Destro tight-lipped on future

The Chelsea target refused to respond to questions over his future after recent speculation linking him with a January move to the Premier League

Mattia Destro refused to shed light on rumours linking him with a move away from Roma after helping the Serie A title hopefuls to a 1-1 draw at Palermo on Saturday.

Destro marked his first start in over a month with a goal, rescuing a point for Rudi Garcia’s men nine minutes into the second half at the Stadio Renzo Barbera.

The 23-year-old’s future has been the topic of discussion amid links to Serie A rivals Milan during the January transfer window, while Inter, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are possible destinations.

“I am a Roma player right now,” Destro told Sky Sport Italia.

“My position is that I am a striker, I want to do well, to play and to score. We didn’t win, but I am happy that I scored.”

Destro was the hero for visiting Roma after being handed a rare start by coach Rudi Garcia.

After highly-rated Argentinean striker Paulo Dybala gave Palermo a second-minute lead, Destro slid in to restore parity for Roma in the 54th minute.

“I missed scoring goals, it was important to me and I’m happy it arrived tonight,” said Destro.

“When I get the opportunity to play I always try to give my best. It’s a shame we didn’t get the victory.

“We played against an excellent side and drawing here is to be considered a good result. We wanted the win, but are satisfied with a point.”

It is 'too risky' for Arsenal not to buy a defender, admits Wenger

The Gunners boss says that he is trying hard to bring in new players but that it is difficult to sign top stars in the January transfer window, with clubs reluctant to sell


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that it would be “too risky” not to sign a defender in January but admits that it is a challenge to acquire players in January.

The Gunners continue to have problems at the back, with Mathieu Debuchy the latest addition to the club’s injury list after being ruled out for three months with a dislocated shoulder.

When asked if Arsenal could cope without bringing in a new defender, Wenger told reporters: “We can, because we have [Calum] Chambers, [Per] Mertesacker, [Laurent] Koscielny.

“But we have now lost Debuchy, who could play centre-back, [Nacho] Monreal, who can play centre-back, [Kieran] Gibbs as well has been out … of course, if we have another injury or two, we will struggle.

“It’s risky. It’s too risky. Of course we have made enquiries and then you have a second handicap of who wants to sell their best players, especially a central defender, in the middle of the season. They say: ‘OK, come back in June or July and maybe yes’.

“I am not the only one working on the case,” he continued, when asked of the difficulty of signing quality players in January. “It’s not a supermarket where you go in and buy a defender.

“It’s a market that is very restricted, that players who can strengthen the best 10 teams in Europe, you don’t find many and it’s the same for everybody.

“We are a big attraction, of course we are, but if it was easy we would do it.”