Howe admits discussion with Chelsea assistant Zola over Wilson speculation

Stamford Bridge

by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)

AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe held discussions with Chelsea assistant Gianfranco Zola on Wednesday, amid speculation frontman Callum Wilson could be heading to Stamford Bridge in January.

The two tacticians met in the aftermath of Cherries’ 1-0 defeat at Chelsea in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, in which Wilson played 90 minutes after recovering from a hamstring problem.

Ahead of the clash Zola admitted the Blues’ interest in snapping up Wilson, who has netted nine goals so far this season.

The ex-Chelsea striker said: “Certainly Callum Wilson is doing very well for his club and he is of interest, not just 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 a very important quality.

“He’s doing very well. I’m pleased for him. He has a lot of qualities that can take him a long way.”

But Bournemouth boss Howe will be reluctant to let Wilson leave for south-west London, after once again stressing Wilson’s importance to Cherries’ fairytale resurgence in the Premier League.

Howe said: “I spoke to Gianfranco afterwards. We had a little chat about that situation, but Gianfranco is an incredible person, a really nice guy.

“But Callum, from our perspective, is a huge part of what we’re doing here.”

Speculation linking Wilson away from Vitality Stadium has increased after the striker’s heroics since battling back from two serious injuries, with various reports handing the ex-Coventry frontman a £35 million price tag.

But Howe previously stated he wouldn’t consider selling the England international, saying before the mid-week trip to Stamford Bridge: “Callum is our player, he is very focused on us and you could see that from his performance. He gave everything for the team.”

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, when questioned about his side’s search for a striker in the upcoming transfer window, labelled Howe ‘a friend’, saying:

“I don’t know about Wilson. Eddie [Howe] is a friend and I want to see him happy.”