By West Ham correspondent Tony Hughes
Eddie Howe has confirmed Bournemouth have rejected a double bid from West Ham for Callum Wilson and Matt Ritchie.
Football Insider reported on Monday night that the Hammers had tabled a stunning £25million offer for striker Wilson and winger Richie.
The London club made a formal move for the attacking pair as they step up plans to strengthen their squad this summer.
Speaking after Bournemouth’s Premier League defeat to Manchester United in their rearranged clash on Tuesday night, Howe admitted the bid was tabled but claims Bournemouth have no interest in offloading the duo and they are not for sale.
“We had a bid yesterday evening,” Howe said, as quoted by the BBC website. “Why it come in the day before our season has finished, I don’t know.
“It was from West Ham but the bid was rejected and we have no intention to sell. We want to try to improve our squad, not weaken it.”
It is unclear how West Ham individually value Wilson, 24, and Richie, 26, but the size of the double bid is an early demonstration of the club’s ambition this summer.
Wilson has missed most of this season with a cruciate ligament injury but he served notice of his potential with five goals in 12 Premier League matches, while Richie has been one of Bournemouth’s leading performers with four goals and six assists from 36 top flight games.
News of West Ham’s stunning double offer comes a week after co-chairman David Sullivan claimed the club had made a £23.8million bid for a player on the Continent and were also preparing to make a second, £20million-plus bid for a Premier League-based player.
“We hope to bring in one or two top players,” Sullivan told Sky Sports News HQ on Monday of last week. “The Olympic Stadium gives us about £12million a year of extra income.
“We put a bid in today for €30million for a player and other bids are going in. We’re going to be making a £20- £25million bid for a player in England later this week.
“Whatever happens we intend to bring a top striker in.”
Asked if West Ham would be spending £50million on two players, Sullivan told Sky Sports News: “No, one or the other.” Asked for a name, Sullivan replied, “I can’t give you a name, we’re not close enough.”
Sullivan’s comments make it clear that West Ham are ready to smash their club record transfer fee of £15.5million, which was spent to entice Andy Carroll from Liverpool in the summer of 2013.
Carroll is comfortably the Hammers’ record signing, although the club have also spent £10million-plus fees on the likes of Payet, Enner Valencia and Angel Ogbonna.
In other West Ham news, teen sensation Reece Oxford is increasingly likely to leave the club this summer.