By support

15th Oct, 2016 | 11:23am

Bilic gives West Ham January striker update amid growing speculation

By Dominic Toner

Slaven Bilic has revealed that Simone Zaza will not be returning to Juventus in January.

The Mirror report that Valencia and Napoli are interested in signing the striker, with speculation that his loan at Juventus could be cut short.

Zaza, 25, has struggled since he arrived at West Ham and has failed to score in his first five appearances.

As part of the loan deal, West Ham will be obliged to sign Zaza in a permanent deal if he plays a certain number of games.

Manager Bilic labelled the speculation of Zaza’s loan being cut short as false and is more considered with the role he could play in their next match against Crystal Palace.

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“This one is false, he’s our player, we got him, he’s here,” Bilic said, as quoted by the Guardian. “He’s training good and we expect him to do the job.

“The only thing I am thinking about Saturday is not about the situation in his contract or around his contract but is he going to be the one I will put at centre-forward? The only objective is can he do it against Palace?”

Bilic recruited Zaza in the summer to improve his attacking options and the Italian international seemed to fit the bill.

The striker scored eight goals in 24 appearances for Juventus last season, but has not been able to cause a threat since his move to England.

The pressure has been placed on Zaza with several key attackers absent through injury, with Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho and Andre Ayew all on the sidelines.

West Ham have made a poor start to the new season and are currently inside the relegation places.

Their bad form has coincided with the moved to the London Stadium and they look a shadow of the team that finish seventh in the Premier League last season.

In other West Ham transfer news, Slaven Bilic has claimed that he did not want to sell their defender in the summer.