West Ham United have dealt both Arsenal and Chelsea a blow in their attempts to lure Dimitri Payet and Michail Antonio away from the London Stadium during the January transfer window. Both players have been linked with moves to the Premier League title contenders but boss Slaven Bilic is ready to block any attempt to sign them.
Bilic confirmed last week that Payet wanted to leave the Hammers and had refused to play for the club. The Daily Star claimed the Gunners were interested in bringing the France international to the Emirates Stadium, amid interest from former club Marseille, but manager Arsene Wenger has suggested his side do not need the 29-year-old.
Having been forced to train away from the West Ham first team and being set to miss a second game in a row amid speculation over his future, Payet has looked destined to leave east London this month. But despite reported interest from Arsenal, Bilic is confident of keeping the playmaker for the rest of the season.
"His departure is not inevitable," said Bilic, according to Sky Sports. "I like to solve situations in house to protect the team. I said everything then and what has changed now? Nothing. It is not a good situation for the club, it is not good for football in general. We took our stand very clearly and it stays the same. We aren't going to sell our best players on the cheap just because somebody wants to sign them."
The Croat is also optimistic of tying down midfielder Michail Antonio to a new contract, after the player was made Chelsea's number one priority target in January. The Guardian understands Antonio, who was called into Sam Allardyce's first and only squad as England manager last August, was set to sign a contract worth £70,000-a-week, and Bilic is hopeful the deal will be completed.
"He's a player we want to keep," he added. "He has improved and is a real player for the future. Let's give him a chance to show that he is one of our most important players. He was good for us last season and has been again this season. He is at a good age as well and a lot of clubs would like to have him. We are in a position to offer a new deal and he deserves it. Negotiations have just started, I will leave that to the chairman. I hope it gets done."