West Ham United Slaven Bilic indicated Thursday that the club is close to signing new players and offering Michail Antonio a fresh contract.
In an extensive media press conference, the Croatian manager reiterated his stances on Dimitri Payet’s desire to go back to Marseille, his refusal to specify which players he is targeting, and his hope that the versatile Antonio will remain a Hammer despite strong interest from Chelsea.
“We are not going to sell our best players on the cheap just because someone wants to sign them or even because they want to go home,” Bilic said on Payet. “I left it with the chairman and I'm sure he's going to do the best thing. The ball is in Marseille's court. They are the ones who expressed interest. Now they should act. I don't talk about numbers. All I'm saying is we were very firm, we know the market, we know how good or great he is as a player. Like everybody he has his price."
The 48-year-old manager knows Antonio, whose current contract is up at 2019 if he doesn’t leave West Ham, is reaching the peak of his career and that locking him into a new deal is vital.
"When players play like that and are at a good age then they are attracting interest from other clubs and that puts them in a good position for a new deal,” Bilic said. “Definitely, he deserves it. It's a club decision, of course, but Mikey's got a big time green light to sign a new deal. I leave it to the chairman but I hope it's close. I hope it's done to be fair."
Bilic also emphasized how secretive he is about transfer speculations surrounding the club. However, he did mention that they could be near a deal in the next day or two.
"Are any deals close?” Bilic said. “Close is very relative in football. Many times something that looks close doesn't happen. And sometimes something that looks distant suddenly happens. But in 24 hours, hopefully."
Watch the press conference down below: