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Tuesday 12 November 2019

Bilic confident of Song deal

Alex Song appears to be closing in on a return to West Ham
Alex Song appears to be closing in on a return to West Ham

Slaven Bilic is optimistic Alex Song's return to West Ham is imminent and the Barcelona midfielder will not have an issue in passing a medical.

Hammers co-owner David Sullivan said a deal has been agreed to sign the 27-year-old Cameroon international on a three-year deal, if the midfielder can pass a medical following an ankle problem.

Song starred on a season-long loan at Upton Park last season and Bilic, whose side play Bournemouth on Saturday, is keen for the former Arsenal player to return before the September 1 transfer deadline.

"We would like to get him. It's down to the medical," Bilic said.

"We are really confident he is going to pass the medical. We've got a lot of positive comments or details about his improvement.

"That kind of injury is not a big injury. Eight to 10 weeks until it's sorted, but once it's sorted it's done."

If Song does return, Bilic wants him to sustain the form of the first half of last season.

Song's performances dipped with the team's as their pre-Christmas run faded in early 2015 - a dip which ultimately led to Bilic replacing Sam Allardyce as boss in the summer.

Bilic added: "The first six months he was exceptional. If we can get him in that state and try to stretch it over the whole season it will be crucial for us."

The Croatian was reluctant to discuss any other transfer activity and would not be drawn on whether the Hammers are chasing a goalkeeper or a striker, with QPR's Rob Green reported to be interesting West Ham. Sullivan has ruled out a move for QPR striker Charlie Austin.

Bilic is short of options up front as Mauro Zarate has suffered a hamstring injury, joining Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll in the treatment room.

"We've been doing some testing and in one of those sprints he felt his hamstring," Bilic said of Zarate.

"He's out for a couple of weeks. I'm gutted because in that department we are quite short."

Valencia should be back in training in late October following his leg injury, while Carroll's rehabilitation following knee surgery is ongoing.

Reece Oxford, who on Thursday collected his GCSE results, is a doubt for the Bournemouth clash after missing a few days' training this week due to a niggle.

Goalkeeper Adrian is out following his sending-off against Leicester after the Hammers' appeal to the Football Association failed.

Bilic felt the automatic three-match suspension was unfair.

He added: "The punishment is unbelievable. It's too much. But when I saw the rules after that I knew that we didn't stand a chance (with the appeal).

"Straight red, three games... every red card is a different one."

Republic of Ireland international Darren Randolph is poised to deputise and has a poor record versus the Cherries.

Randolph was the goalkeeper for a Birmingham side which conceded 16 times to Bournemouth in three successive games, including an 8-0 loss last October.

"I believe in Randy," Bilic said.

"What happened with Bournemouth in one game, a couple of games could happen to anyone or to him against any other team."

PA Media

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