West Ham boss Slaven Bilic says signing Barcelona star Alex Song would send out a message

Signing Barcelona midfielder Alex Song permanently this summer would show the world just how ambitious West Ham United are for the future.

That's according to new boss Slaven Bilic who admitted in an interview on the club's official site that the Hammers are doing all they can to tie up a deal for the African star after his season-long loan spell.

Song completed something of a shock move to East London last August in search of more game time and to kick-start a career which had been stunted at the Camp Nou.

And it certainly worked as the former Cameroon international led the Hammers to their best ever start to a Premier League campaign as they sat fourth by Christmas.

But niggling injuries hampered his form and it had a direct impact on the team as the Hammers dropped like a stone in the new year to finish 12th.

With a new manager in place, West Ham co-owner David Sullivan recently admitted he was trying to get the 27-year-old former Arsenal man signed permanently.

And Bilic believes if they do it will send out a message to other clubs about West Ham's desire to challenge the top sides.

"Look, we know what Alex Song is and it also shows the size of the club," Bilic told West Ham's official website.

"If someone had told you three years ago that Alex Song will play for West Ham very few people, apart from the fans of course, would believe it.

"He played last year now the club is trying to keep him, it is good for us of course and that also shows the ambition of our club."

Song played 28 games last season and early on there was a running joke on the terraces that the Man of the Match could be named before kick-off given the number of times Song had won the award.

Injuries undoubtedly affected his form later in the season and when Sam Allardyce departed last month it seemed Song may have played his last game for the club.

However, the Hammers won't have it all their own way signing Song with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City - as reported by the Independent - interested in a player who crucially counts as homegrown from his time under Arsene Wenger as an Arsenal youngster.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch