West Ham United coach Slaven Bilic has hinted that Andre Ayew’s injury layoff may not be as long as first feared, fuelling hopes that the Ghana forward may be present for the 2017 Cup of Nations.
Dede, the Hammers’ club-record £20.5 million signing, was injured only 35 minutes into his debut against Chelsea in the Londoners’ first Premier League match of the season.
The Black Star was helped off the pitch clutching his thigh, with initial forecasts by club officials suggesting that he faced four months on the sidelines.
Such an absence would leave him set to return to action towards the end of December, potentially jeopardising his participation in Ghana’s Afcon campaign.
However, speaking to journalists on Friday ahead of the Irons’ Premier League match against Manchester City this weekend, Bilic has suggested that Dede’s absence may not be as bad as first feared as he argued that the Hammers didn’t necessarily need to strengthen his position.
"With strikers, we are short now because of injuries but those players will come back - some of them very soon,” Bilic told the media, as rumours of Simone Zaza’s imminent arrival swirl.
"Andre Ayew is due back at the end of November,” the Croatian coach added, “so there is no point in adding too many players in that position.”
The Hammers have three points so far this season, having been defeated by Chelsea before beating Bournemouth in their first match at the London Stadium.