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Bilic: Chicharito was West Ham's top target

Goal.com logo Goal.com 27-07-2017

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez was the top striker target for West Ham United in the transfer window, says manager Slaven Bilic.

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The Mexico international signed a three-year deal at London Stadium after a deal worth £16 million was struck with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.

Bilic said he tried to bring Hernandez to West Ham two years ago when he left Manchester United and the Croatian is delighted to finally get his man.

"Chicharito is very important in this project," said Bilic. "When I came to West Ham two years ago and he was leaving United, I wanted him then.

"When he decided to go to Leverkusen, he told me 'sorry' and now after two years, I found out he may leave I called him again. We didn't have to start from zero.

"He is a fantastic player. Very experienced and has been everywhere and has scored goals. He runs, he presses, everything. He was our number one target on our list of strikers."

The arrival of Hernandez, who has the fifth best minutes per goal ratio in Premier League history, has pushed Ashley Fletcher down the pecking order. Bilic confirmed the forward is expected to leave, with Middlesbrough reportedly close to sealing a £7 million move for the 21-year-old.

"He got a fantastic offer last night," Bilic said. "Ideally I wanted to have a different scenario but the offer was so good and I told him to be proud.

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"The step that he made from coming here as a no-name to being a player a lot of Championship clubs want is a big bonus for him so he went to discuss personal terms. He is a very good and promising player."

While Fletcher is on his way out of West Ham, Bilic is hoping to retain Adrian despite the arrival of England's No.1 goalkeeper Joe Hart.

"I spoke with [Darren] Randolph and Adrian and we were more than happy," Bilic said. "We wanted to keep one of them to have three 'keepers. Now that Randy went to Boro, it's Joe and Adrian and the situation with Adrian is that we would love to keep him.

"We rate him, want to give him a new deal and hopefully he will accept it. He is a very ambitious guy, a long time at West Ham and the club is very respectful towards him. We want to help him. It's a challenge between him and Joe."

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