By Harvey Byrne
Slaven Bilic has highlighted Callum Wilson as the Bournemouth danger man in the buildup to West Ham’s clash against their rivals on Sunday.
The 24-year-old striker scored a hat-trick against the Hammers last August before rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right-knee, which caused him to miss seven months of the campaign.
The Croatian boss knows the threat Wilson contains and has singled out the forward for praise ahead of the match.
“He was injured but he’s back now and he showed he’s a big threat last year. Not only with his hat-trick vs. us but with his quality,” said Bilic, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account.
Sky Sports claimed on their website that the east London club submitted a joint £25million bid earlier this summer for both striker Wilson and winger Matt Ritchie, which was subsequently corroborated by Cherries manager Eddie Howe.
The double swoop left Cherries manager Howe angry and he described the bid to the Bournemouth Echo as “unwanted and unwelcome.”
Bilic countered by denying that there had ever been a bid from West Ham. “There was never a bid for Callum Wilson from us,” he said. “Every player is linked with West Ham! But he is a good player and he showed that.”
Wilson moved to Bournemouth from Coventry in the summer of 2014 for a fee believed to be around £3million.
The former England Under-21 international has starred in 64 encounters on the south coast scoring 28 goals.
He played 67 minutes of the Cherries’ opener against Manchester United and it is expected that he will line-up against West Ham on Sunday.
The Hammers have been linked with several strikers this summer including AC Milan’s Carlos Bacca and Manchester City’s Wilfried Bony.
The club have also added Andre Ayew, Jonathan Calleri and Ashley Fletcher to their forward line, which already included Andy Carroll, Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho.
In other West Ham news, former Hammer Junior Stanislas has signed a new contract at Bournemouth.