Bilic denies Zaza will return to Juventus

Slaven Bilic has rubbished claims that summer signing Simone Zaza will return to Juventus in January after an underwhelming start to his West Ham career.

Zaza joined the Hammers on a season-long loan in August, but there was a clause inserted in the deal to convert it into a £20million permanent switch if he made 14 Premier League appearances.

The Italian has failed to find the net in his first five appearances for West Ham and was among the substitutes for the draw against Middlesbrough two weeks ago, prior to the international break.

That prompted reports that Zaza could head back to Serie A in the January window, yet manager Bilic has denied that the 25-year-old’s loan spell will be cut short.

“This one is false. He’s our player, we got him, he’s here. He’s training good and we expect him to do the job,” said Bilic.

Zaza is in contention to return to the starting XI today, as the third bottom Hammers head to Crystal Palace after just one win from their opening seven games.

Bilic added: “That is the only decision I am thinking about; the game against Palace.

“The only thing I am thinking about is today,  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?”