David Moyes claims crisis club West Ham are still united despite a pre-season meltdown.
Hammers players and fans were furious when Academy product Grady Diangana was sold to West Brom for £18m, with skipper Mark Noble tweeting he was “gutted, angry and sad.”
And Moyes now admits the club could be priced out of a move for £50m-rated Burnley defender James Tarkowski after having a series of bids turned down.
But despite fans planning more protests as unrest grows, the Hammers boss claims the dressing room spirit is strong ahead of today’s clash with Arsenal.
He said: “Mark Noble was entitled to give his opinion. I haven’t had any conversation with Mark about it.
“I think they showed real solidarity amongst themselves, I think the captain showed exactly what the players feel. I think there is a real building spirit here.
“Players move on at any club. When I lost Wayne Rooney, when I was at Everton, did we feel bad at that time? Yes we did.
“But we were building a team that finished in Europe the majority of seasons after that. Football moves on. The players have been in great spirits.”
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West Ham sold Diangana to raise funds for Tarkowski but have had a £30m bid turned down and will move on to other targets if they fail with one last push.
Asked whether Burnley’s asking price of £50m was too high for the Hammers, Moyes said: “Yeah I would have to say so in this market. If Burnley say no then I respect that decision.
“Obviously we will get to a limit where we feel we can’t get much further but it could be a price they might accept.”
Moyes has passed on the opportunity to sign Shakhtar Donetsk defender Mykola Matvienko, and played down interest from China in Andriy Yarmolenko.
But he wants at least three signings, including a centre back and full back, and admits the club may have to do “one or two” loan deals.
Moyes said: “We’re having to tiptoe around. The jigsaw can’t be put together in one go. We have to do it one piece at a time.”
West Ham (4-3-2-1) vs Arsenal:Fabianski; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek, Noble; Bowen, Fornals, Antonio