Club Brugge have rejected offers of about £25 million for West Ham target Hans Vanaken, club president Bart Verhaeghe has told Het Laaste Nieuws.
When the Belgian football season was curtailed in the spring, Brugge fans must have wondered whether they had seen the last of a talented crop of players who secured the Jupiler League title on a points-per-game basis.
Few at the time expected Vanaken, Emmanuel Dennis and David Okereke to still be plying their trade in the capital by the time 2020/21 kicked off.
But, during a transfer window that ended up being far quieter than expected at the Jan Breydel Stadium, Club Brugge succeeded in rebuffing offers for every one of their star players.
Midfield dynamo Vanaken even signed a new long-term contract after rejecting the chance to join Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek in an increasingly impressive West Ham engine room (HLN).
And Verhaeghe is already preparing for offers to arrive for the club’s latest rising star after Charles De Ketelaere’s Champions League winner away at Zenit on Tuesday.
“What if they put £25 million on the table tomorrow for De Ketelaere? Oh, we have already refused many offers of that order. For Hans Vanaken, for example,” Verhaeghe says.
“You can also compete at the highest level with a Belgian team. We’re very ambitious and we are now proving it. We want to show ourselves in Europe and we succeeded immediately.”
One of the most prolific goalscoring midfielders in Europe, Vanaken has hit double figures in each of his five seasons with Club Brugge and netted 17 in 2019/20 alone.
Speaking to the Mirror, the Belgium international insisted his desire for silverware was the main reason behind his decision to snub West Ham’s advances.
And with Brugge refusing to even consider offers of £25 million, it seems the Hammers were always barking up the wrong tree.
West Ham’s record transfers