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Manager responds amid reports of West Ham £6m striker interest

By Dominic Toner

Sunderland manager David Moyes insists that Jermain Defoe will not be sold in January and that could spell the end of West Ham’s pursuit of the striker.

The Sun reported on Friday that the Hammers were prepared to offer £6million for the 34-year-old as they try to improve their forward options.

The report detailed that they were set to offer youngster Ashley Fletcher in part-exchange plus money for Defoe, but that deal now looks unlikely.

Sunderland boss Moyes has explained the importance of the forward to his team and claimed he will be staying at the club.

“He’s priceless, isn’t he? There is not a price we could put on his head because he’s so important to us staying as a Premier League club,” Moyes said, as quoted by Sky Sports. “We won’t sell him, but we obviously can’t stop people talking about it and writing about it.”

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West Ham are looking to improve their attacking set-up, with Andy Carroll taking time to adjust following his return from injury.

The Hammers’ loan signings Jonathan Calleri and Simone Zaza have failed to make an impression this season.

The Londoners are currently 13th in the Premier League table and their lack of goals has played a major contribution in their disappointing campaign.

Slaven Bilic’s side have scored just 19 goals in 17 league games, which is significantly less than top scorers Liverpool (41).

Defoe is an experienced goal scorer in the top flight and began his senior career at West Ham in 1999.

The striker has gone on to play for several clubs and is most recognised for his time with Tottenham, scoring 138 goals in 357 appearances for the north London club.

He has now emerged as Sunderland’s main player and they are refusing to sell the 34-year-old.

Defoe is likely to be the difference in the club’s relegation battle this season and he has already contributed eight goals.

In other West Ham transfer news, the club have made an approach for a Manchester United player.