WEST Ham are making serious efforts to lure Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic to London, with the Championship club understood to have had a £7 million bid rejected.
The offer failed to meet the Scottish champions’ valuation of the Croatian, but an increased offer would have to be taken seriously by the Ibrox board of directors. Rangers paid £4m for the player only 17 months ago.
Jelavic is Rangers’ top goalscorer with 17 goals this season and has also been linked with Liverpool, West Brom, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers.
Rangers manager Ally McCoist confirmed at the weekend that informal talks regarding Jelavic had taken place between chairman Craig Whyte and his West Ham counterpart David Sullivan. He has also confirmed that he had a private telephone conversation with West Ham manager Sam Allardyce.
The Hammers have now followed up their interest in the 26-year-old with a firm bid said to be worth £7m, although the figures involved are unconfirmed. Rangers previously rejected an offer of £6.5m from Leicester for the striker in August.
Jelavic has been quoted as having an interest in a move to West Ham, but he also claims he would be happy to remain with Rangers.
He said: “West Ham are a great club. They are not a second division club – they are a famous Premier League club who happened to be relegated last season and will return to the Premier League next season. It would be nice to play there if the opportunity comes up and the club agrees. But I am also playing at a big club and it wouldn’t bother me in the least if I had to stay here.”
David Healy and Kirk Broadfoot have also been the subject of transfer speculation this month.
McCoist said yesterday, before reports of the Jelavic bid broke: “The key message with the likes of Nikica, David and Kirk is that they are all integral members of our squad and hopefully that will remain the case.”
With only five full days left before the transfer window closes, the departure of Jelavic would leave McCoist with little time to secure a replacement.