Bournemouth will not be letting star striker Callum Wilson leave the club no matter how much money is thrown at them in the way of transfer fees.
Such are the sentiments expressed by their manager Eddie Howe in the wake of strong interest by Chelsea in the 26-year-old fox in the box.
The Blues, fourth on the EPL roster after 21 games, have had a promising 2018/19 so far under new coach Maurizio Sarri and are expected to at least land a top-four spot come the end of the campaign. They have however struggled for goals in many matches this season with leading strikers Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud both in poor form.
Zola – Chelsea interested in Wilson
Chelsea assistant trainer Gianfranco Zola went as far admitting – ethics notwithstanding – that Chelsea were indeed looking at Coventry-born Wilson last month.
“Certainly Callum Wilson is doing very well for this club [Bournemouth],” said the Italian. “He’s an interest not only for us but for many.
“He’s strong, fast and he sees the goal.
“I like [him] because he’s quick but also strong in the air, which is also a very important quality.”
Sadly for Chelsea, who have scored the least no. of goals of all top six clubs so far this term, that move doesn’t seem likely to ever materialize. That’s despite the Blues’ rumoured willingness to cough up £50 million ($64m) for his services.
“Not for sale at any price”
Probed by reporters about Wilson’s immediate future, Howe was keen to stress how determined the Cherries were to retain a key component of their success this season.
“I’ve been told about the speculation, it’s not something I seek to read,” said he. “It’s a waste of time for me to do so.
“In my opinion, and it’s just my opinion, I wouldn’t sell at any price but I’m the manager of the team trying to create the best team that I can.
“We desperately want to take the team forward and to do that we have got to keep our best players.
“He is a very important member of the team. He has unique attributes that really complement what we do here.
“He’s been a really good goal scorer for us this season, that’s the hardest thing to do in the sport so we value him really highly.”
Howe nonetheless proud of Chelsea-Wilson links
As though to rub salt on the wounds, the Cherries boss confessed he was proud that the 2017 English Champions were after his prized asset.
“I think it is a huge compliment to the player involved,” he told Sky Sports.
“But with all the rumours, there is no point in me thinking about these different situations until we have something to answer.
“From our perspective, we don’t want to sell anybody this window that we don’t want to.
“We want to continue to take the club forward and the team forward, and to do that, we’ve got to keep our best player.”
Wilson is currently enjoying his most productive English top flight season ever. Having contributed nine goals and five assists to the Bournemouth cause in 2018/19, the striker caught the attention of England boss Gareth Southgate, who handed him his first Three Lions call-ups for the wins over USA and Croatia late last year.