By London correspondent Tony Hughes

West Ham pulled out all the stops to sign Carlos Bacca from AC Milan this summer, according to co-owner David Gold.

The AC Milan striker was strongly linked to the Hammers during the last transfer window amid reports they tabled a £26million bid.

West Ham subsequently smashed their transfer record to sign wide forward Andre Ayew from Swansea for £20.5million, eclipsing the £15million they paid for Andy Carroll in 2013.

The London club then landed central striker Simone Zaza on a season-long loan from Juventus in the final days of August, with an obligation for the deal to be made permanent at a cost of over £20million if the Italy international plays a set number of West Ham matches.

In total, West Ham signed 13 players – including a number of loans – and there has been widespread criticism from fans about the summer recruitment policy.

But Gold hit back at fans who claim the club lacked ambition in the last window and explained how the board backed manager Slaven Bilic to the hilt in the transfer market.

“For your information we were the 8th biggest spenders in the PL we also broke our transfer record with the signing of Ayew,” Gold said on his personal Twitter account.

“(AC Milan striker Carlos) Bacca wouldn’t come for love nor money and the only other option was to kidnap him which of course is illegal.”

Gold’s public admission that Zaza was not the first choice for the spearhead role will further infuriate fans who have been underwhelmed by his failure to score in five matches since joining the club.

Moreover, Ayew will be sidelined for a few more months after suffering a serious thigh injury in his first league outing for the Hammers.

In other West Ham transfer news, Bilic has made a defender request to the club’s board.