Bilic insists Hammers did not try to sell Carroll

Slaven Bilic has insisted that West Ham did not attempt to sell Andy Carroll to Chinese clubs.

There was speculation over the striker’s future ahead of the recent closure of the transfer window in China.

Some reports claimed the Hammers had tried to offload Carroll, while others suggested they had rejected offers for him.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Hammers boss Bilic said the China link came about simply because Carroll had attracted interest – not because the club looked to initiate a deal to sell him.

Bilic said: “He’s one of our best players and we want to keep him. We wouldn’t want to sell Andy to China.

“You know how much I rate him. He is one of our best players and we want to keep him. The club didn’t try to sell him.

“Chinese clubs send their representatives over to investigate. They were watching other players but they fell in love with Andy. The club didn’t try to sell him.”

Bilic added that Carroll could return for Monday’s derby against Chelsea.

The injury-plagued 28-year-old has not played for a month and has made just 11 Premier League appearances this season.

But Bilic said: “Andy Carroll has been in training and I am optimistic of him playing against Chelsea.”

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