‘It wasn’t close’ – Potential West Ham deal downplayed after speculation

West Ham United did not come close to signing Burnley defender James Tarkowski during the summer transfer window, according to Sean Dyche.

The Hammers were linked with the Premier League centre-half for a prolonged period, with the East London club desperate to boost their defensive options.

In the end, no deal for Tarkowski materialised and a host of other reported West Ham targets slipped away, with the Irons adding Watford veteran Craig Dawson to their squad on a loan deal instead.

Dyche was this week questioned on how close the Burnley defender had been to joining the Hammers – but it appears that the East London club could not afford their reported target.

“He’s a top pro,” Dyche told talkSPORT.

“Look, it’s not easy for these guys; the market comes around and we’ve often had people hovering above us with a lot of our players down the years, and eventually we have sold players.

“But the model of the club, although we’re not spending and it’s very difficult on that side of things, it’s a massive challenge for me from what we’ve done here, but we are stronger as a club because of that reason.

“So it is that balance. We don’t have to sell players, we’re not under any financial pressure at this club to sell players and that gives you strength.

“All it does do of course is the players sitting in the middle of that wonder which way it’s going to go, and that’s where it gets a bit tricky.

“But he [Tarkowski] handled it well.”

Asked whether Tarkowski was close to a move to West Ham, Dyche was clear.

“No, no. It wasn’t close.”

West Ham have moved to three centre-halves in the recent past and the ploy has served the side well, with performances and results improving.

However, given that Aaron Cresswell has had to move into a central role and there are not lots of alternatives to Fabien Balbuena, Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna, Tarkowski would have been a good signing.

The West Ham fans will hope the club’s hierarchy can address this issue in the January window, with the likelihood of young players being needed should injuries or unavailability occur.