Slaven Bilic gives update on West Ham left-back search, makes revelation

By London correspondent Tony Hughes

Slaven Bilic has revealed it is a “priority” for West Ham to sign a new left-back.

But the Hammers manager admitted the club have been frustrated in their search due to the difficulty in finding a “good one who is willing to come”.

Bilic also made the revelation that West Ham were in the market for a left-back even before Aaron Cresswell suffered the knee injury that will sideline him for three months.

Cresswell was a key player last year in an outstanding season for West Ham, who defied the odds to finish seventh in the Premier League and guarantee European football for this campaign.

Speaking on Wednesday morning, Bilic gave an update on the club’s left-back search.

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“Even before Cresswell got injured we were looking to strengthen at left-back,” Bilic said, as quoted by the official West Ham Twitter account. “He’s a very good player but we were looking for back-up.

“We are not the only team looking for a left-back, and it’s hard to find a good one we like and who is willing to come. It’s now a priority.”

Full-back Sam Byram was moved away from his preferred right side to fill the problem position on the left side of the defence against Domzale last Thursday in the club’s Europa League tie, while Michail Antonio also moved out of his favourite attacking midfield position to slot in at right-back.

Bilic did not disclose the names of any left-back targets, but it emerged on Tuesday night that West Ham are in talks to sign Davide Santon from Inter Milan.

Sky Italy journalist Gianluca Di Marzio has claimed on his website that negotiations are ongoing between the two clubs about a loan-to-buy deal.

It is said that West Ham have offered a loan fee of £460,000 for the versatile full-back with an obligation to buy him permanently at the end of the campaign for £5million.

Santon, 25, has wide experience of the Premier League after spending four years at Newcastle from 2011 to 2015.

The Italy international joined Inter initially on loan in January 2015 before completing a permanent move to the Serie A club last summer.

In other West Ham transfer news, they are lining up a £7million bid for a prolific attacker.