West Ham star Valencia will be out of action for a couple of months.
Valencia injured his ankle in pre-season, keeping him out for the start of the Premier League season, and Bilic has told the Standard that his loss is a huge blow - even though the club will look at signing more players.
He said: “I am absolutely gutted for Enner Valencia. He is a smashing lad, he is a big player for us and it’s a giant blow that he has injured his ankle and knee. It could have been worse, though, and hopefully he will be back in 10 to 12 weeks. In the meantime, we will keep looking for top players — not a lot of them but the right ones for us.”
It is true that Valencia will be a big loss, having shown his abilities for the Hammers last term.
Although struggling to find the back of the net consistently, the Ecuadorian striker proved to be a valuable attacking player, and his running and work rate in the final third was the perfect accompaniment for the more precise Diafra Sakho.
He would have been looking to get off to a good start this campaign, especially with better attacking players around him, but Valencia will now be behind his teammates in the search for fitness - and is not likely to play for 12 weeks.
However, Bilic has eased some fears by admitting that new players are still being targeted - if they are the correct fit for the club.
There have been calls to bring in another striker, due to Andy Carroll’s injury issues, and the latest set-back to Valencia means that the Hammers may push ahead with their plans. Bilic appears keen with the strike force he already has, with Modibo Maiga taking a role in the Europa League, potentially hinting at a Premier League position for him, and a new striker may not be a priority.
However, even if Bilic pushes forward with the strike force he has - with Sakho the only top level player available - signings in other positions may be possible if the Croatian boss finds players who suit his system.