West Ham are not planning to ditch Simone Zaza and send him back to Juventus, according to manager Slaven Bilic.
The Italy international is on loan with the Premier League side, who paid an initial £5million in August and will have to sign him permanently for a further £20m if he reaches a set number of top-flight appearances – reportedly 14.
Zaza has made a disappointing start to life at West Ham, though, failing to score in five appearances across all competitions and losing his place in the starting XI last time out against Middlesbrough.
That prompted speculation West Ham are keen to return the 25-year-old to Juve before his outings activate the permanent clause, but Bilic has dismissed that prospect ahead of Saturday’s away game with Crystal Palace.
“This one is false,” Bilic told reporters.
“He’s our player, we got him, he’s here. He’s training good and we expect him to do the job.”
Bilic stressed he is not allowing Zaza’s contractual situation to dictate his thought process over team selection.
He added: “I have to make a decision on Zaza over Saturday.
“That is the only decision I am thinking about – the game against Palace.
“The only thing I am thinking about Saturday is not about the situation in his contract or around his contract but is he going to be the one I will put at centre-forward? The only objective is can he do it against Palace?”