“We Are Now Very Close” – Sullivan Updates Hammers Fans On Search For New Manager
As rumours continue to circulate about who the new man at the London Stadium might be this statement was released on the club’s official website WHUFC.com on Thursday evening.
“West Ham United would like to assure supporters that the Board are extremely confident of appointing a high-calibre first-team manager, who has a proven record both in the Premier League and European football.
The Club expect to make an announcement within the next seven days, following a thorough and strategic process that has identified the best possible candidates.
Joint Chairman David Sullivan said: “I would like to reassure our supporters that we have left no stone unturned in selecting the individual we believe is the right man to take West Ham United forward.
“We have followed a process that is progressing entirely to plan and are now very close to reaching an agreement.
“This is an exciting time for our football club. We are preparing to appoint a manager who has a proven record of success at the highest level of the game.”
The news excited Hammers fans on social media platforms, tantalised by the prospect of seeing a boss with “A proven record of success at the highest level,” appointed within the next seven days.
Since the release, a new favourite to take up the vacant position has emerged amongst the bookmakers after it was revealed that previous front-runner Paulo Fonseca had signed a new contract at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Former Manchester City gaffer Manuel Pellegrini, who led the Citizens to English Top-Flight glory by defeating West Ham on the final day in 2013/2014, can be found-odds in some bookies.
Representatives of the Chilean and the East Londoners reportedly met yesterday, prompting the statement to be released after the talks, some media outlets in Chile are even suggesting that he is set to be unveiled on Monday as the new man at the helm of the Hammers.
Should he be appointed, the former Chile International will be the fourth consecutive Irons manager to have played at centre-back during his playing days, following in the footsteps of Sam Allardyce, Slaven Bilic and the aforementioned Moyes.
The 63-year-old would certainly fit the profile of “High-calibre” and “Success at the highest level,” having managed clubs like Blue Moon and Real Madrid and possessing an expansive collection of awards, trophies and accolades.
It includes, one PL title, two English League Cups, a UEFA Intertoto Cup and a Primera Division, among others, the first two he collected while at the Etihad Stadium and the other two whilst managing Villarreal and River Plate respectively.
Another ex-Madrid and Yellow Submarine manager still very much in the frame and the current second favourite is Newcastle United’s Rafa Benitez, who reported to be the preferred choice of Sullivan and fellow Joint-Chairman David Gold.
The Spaniard was lined up to be the man to replace Allardyce at the Boleyn Ground in 2015, before heading to the Bernabeu and cancelling the agreement that was in place.
Benítez’s record speaks for itself, as to merely view the tip of an iceberg, the ex-Liverpool boss has collected a UEFA Champions League, two UEFA Europa Leagues, an FA Cup and two La Ligas, in charge of sides such as the Reds, the before-mentioned Villarreal and Chelsea.
However, the barrier in this deal going through appears to be Benitez’s willingness to stay at St James’ Park as he is understood to be negotiating terms of a new contract, according to various insider sources in the North East.
The pledge made to the Claret & Blue Army by Sullivan also opens the door for the likes of former PL winner with Leicester City Claudio Ranieri and three-time UEL champion as manager of Sevilla, recently departed PSG boss Unai Emery.
Ranieri has announced that he will be leaving French club Nantes this summer and hasn’t managed in English football since leaving the King Power Stadium during the 2016/2017 campaign.
Meanwhile, the Spaniard Emery left the Parc des Princes after he failed to deliver on the club’s ambition of triumphing in this season’s UEFA Europa League and has been long linked with a move to East London, having been close to taking the job before Bilic in 2015.
Other outsiders further down the list include names such as club legend Paulo Di Canio, the man who almost led the Hammers to FA Cup glory in 2006 Alan Pardew, yet another ex-Real boss in Carlo Ancelotti and current Celtic manager Brendan Rogers, to name but a few.
Whoever it is unveiled as the “Right man to take West Ham United forward” within the next six days will undoubtedly have to improve on the efforts of their predecessor Moyes.
The Scot took over from Bilic in November 2017 with the team sitting 17th in the standings and saved them from relegation, finishing 13th, this was not enough for him to be offered a new deal.
West Ham’s board will be keen to avoid a third consecutive relegation battle, but have they found the right man to deliver that wish? Think you know? Want to have your say on the managerial situation at your club? Find us on Twitter @WestHamMatters_.