West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic wanted to sign Michy Batshuayi during the summer transfer window. The charismatic Croat has admitted that the 23-year-old Belgian was on West Ham's wanted list during their extensive search for a new striker.
Ultimately, Batshuayi joined the Hammers' cross-city rivals Chelsea from Marseille in a deal worth €40m (£35.9m, $43.5m). But Bilic admitted that West Ham were among a number of clubs who were chasing the signature of the highly-rated young forward.
"Batshuayi was on the list of many clubs because of his Marseille achievements," he explained, according to West Ham's official Twitter account. "He was the subject of many clubs who could afford it."
Bilic's West Ham team could come up against Batshuayi on Wednesday night (26 October), when they welcome Chelsea to the London Stadium for the fourth round of the EFL Cup. Prior to the game, Bilic has admitted to being a fan of new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who has overseen an upturn in the Blues' fortunes in recent weeks since switching to a 3-4-3 formation.
"Chelsea changed system and they have had some good wins and performances," Bilic said after Chelsea's 4-0 rout against Manchester United. "They are very positive now and playing good football. They are one of the candidates to win the league and they have quality in all parts of the pitch. They're big opponents."
However, the West Ham boss was keen to stress that Chelsea's new formation also has its pitfalls. Bilic said it is important to keep the Blues' recent success in some context, too. "Conte is known to play that system," he reflected. "If you get a bit of luck to win a couple of games they worship the new system so that helped."