AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has stressed that Callum Wilson is not for sale, after recent speculation linking the star striker with West Ham and Chelsea.
Wilson, who has netted nine times this season, is reportedly the subject of a £50 million switch to Stamford Bridge this month.
West Ham may also make a big money move for the 26-year-old, as the race to secure the England international’s signature continues to heat up.
But Cherries boss Howe has said that Wilson is not for sale – at any price: “I’ve been told about the speculation, it’s not something I seek to read. It’s a waste of time for me to do so, so it’s business as usual. Callum’s been bright and bubbly this week, so there’s no problems there.
“In my opinion, I wouldn’t sell at any price. But I’m the manager of the team, trying to create the best team that I can. We desperately want to take the team forward, and to do that we’ve got to keep our best players.”
Howe also heaped praise on Wilson’s invaluable contribution to the Cherries’ campaign so far: “He’s a very important member of the team. He has unique attributes that really compliment what we do here.
“He’s been a really good goalscorer for us this season, that’s the hardest thing to do in the sport, so we value him very highly.”
The south coast side have also made strides of their own in the winter transfer window, with full-back Nathaniel Clyne joining on loan from Liverpool and England under-21 frontman Dominic Solanke signing for around £19 million.
But with an injury crisis sweeping through his ranks, Howe admitted he may be forced into further business in the next few weeks.
“I wouldn’t rule anything in or out. I think it’s a month in which historically we’ve never wanted to do anything. But this season more thanany other we’ve been forced to act on the back of the injuries we’ve got to some personnel in the team.
“So we’ll wait and see what happens for the rest of the window, we’ll need to react obviously if anything else happens to any of our players injury wise. Of course we’re always looking to improve the squad, so we’ll see what happens.”
Howe also revealed that Wilson, Josh King and Ryan Fraser may miss out on the Cherries’ trip to Everton on Sunday:
“Callum [Wilson] was missing last week, Josh King was ill and Ryan Fraser was limping at the end of the game with a hamstring problem, so we’ve got a few to assess and check.
“They’re certainly up for playing, whether they’re fit and available we’ll have to wait and see.”
Author: Dan Davis