West Ham United defender Aaron Cresswell wants to stay at the club despite interest from boyhood club Liverpool, according to manager Slaven Bilic. Cresswell was released by the Reds aged 16 but following a second impressive season in the Premier League has been linked with a return to Anfield.
The Sun understands Jurgen Klopp has targeted the English full-back in a move which could be worth £15m. The 26-year-old has made 33 top flight appearances this term with a Hammers side who remain in contention for a Champions League place.
But despite Cresswell's emotional attachment to Liverpool, Bilic insists that the left-back does not want to leave the club in the summer. The former Tranmere Rovers and Ipswich Town man is contracted to West Ham until 2020 and his manager is optimistic he will see out that deal.
"Aaron Cresswell is having a great season," he said according to Sky Sports. "He was Hammer of the Year last year, he's a great professional and he's always available. He's great. He had a great season last season, on the ball and with his crossing and technique. He is almost a playmaker from defence.
"Aaron improved defensively and is almost a complete player now. He naturally became of interest to so many good clubs. I spoke to him. First, he is under contract and second, and more importantly, he is really happy here and can't wait for the future."
Cresswell began his career with Liverpool before being released as a youngster during Rafa Benitez's spell in charge on Merseyside. The player has spoken continually about his affection for the club and admits it was "heartbreaking" being told he had no future with the team he supported as a boy.
"I grew up supporting Liverpool and I used to go to games with my dad so it was heartbreaking when I was a kid to be released but in a way it's helped me get where I am today," he told The Daily Telegraph in October 2014. "When you're 15 and you get released by your boyhood club it's heartbreaking and I thought it might not work out.
"But the way the game is these days that you go to a lower league club and you get more of a chance and thankfully that happened to me. You go and ask any football player they want to play at the highest level. To come to a club like West Ham was very big for me personally and I've enjoyed every minute of it.
"So when a Premier League club comes knocking on the door it is impossible to turn down. When I heard from West Ham there was only one place I wanted to go and that was to play Premier League football."