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Sullivan didn't even know who Lanzini was!

Filed: Saturday, 16th December 2017
By: Staff Writer

Former Hammers boss Slaven Bilic has hit back at co-owner David Sullivan after the owner insinuated that he was responsible for signing West Ham's best players during his tenure.

Bilic, speaking to the media for the first time since getting sacked by West Ham accused the co-chairman of embellishing the truth in a recent interview he gave with the Guardian's Jacob Steinberg.

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In it, Sullivan insisted that Bilic "had a policy of wanting older, proven Premier League players", adding that "Iím very involved with physically bringing in the players" - in which he included the signing of the Argentine international.

However Bilic laughed off Sullivan's claim in an interview with the Daily Mail - insisting that Sullivan didn't even know who Lanzini was when the manager suggested his capture.

"I donít want to praise myself but if you ask about Lanzini, I knew about him since he was at River Plate a few years ago," said Bilic. "I wanted to take him to Besiktas. At that time, he was too much money and went to Al Jazira.

"Who knew about Lanzini before he came to England? Nobody knew and that includes the chairman. But I never treated the signings like that, like they are my players or your players. No, they were all our players, collective responsibility.

"There were three of us: the chairman, myself and Tony Henry. Agents would call any of us and we shared the information. I knew about Payet for a long time. The chairman told me heíd had a call about a player from Marseille. I asked 'which one?' and he said Payet. I said, 'Yes, donít think twice'."

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Bilic also criticised Sullivan for criticising the signings of Jose Fonte from Southampton and Robert Snodgrass from Hull City, who arrived a year ago this month for a combined fee of £18million. "I am not going to take credit for everything but I donít want to take all the blame either.," he added.

"Fonte and Snodgrass came in January. We were losing Payet and Ogbonna was having an operation, and of course the budget was limited. So we got those two new players. To criticise them is unfair.

"They came to a club in a difficult situation and helped us finish 11th so they played their part."

Bilic, who is still living in Docklands added that is keen to return to management, less than two months after leaving West Ham. An offer from West Bromwich Albion to succeed Tony Pulis was rejected.

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