Five coaches West Ham United could capture if Big Sam says goodbye
West Ham United, 11/1 with Coral for a top six finish, are currently sitting pretty in eighth position in the Premier League and made some superbly savvy signings last summer.
However, following an FA Cup exit and jeers by Hammers fans, it appears all is not well at Upton Park.
Sam Allardyce (odds-on at 4/6 not be boss at the start of next term) was supposedly skating on thin ice last season and it now seems this promising campaign may not be enough to earn the coach a contract renewal.
Big Sam’s current deal expires at the end of the season and though the former Bolton Wanderers boss has made West Ham a real force recently, co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold are said to be looking elsewhere.
Who, then, could step into under-fire Allardyce’s big shoes?
An innovative tactician renowned for his occasionally off-the-wall approach and unique man-management, Bielsa could perhaps find a fitting home at Upton Park, where his attacking tactics would be welcomed with open arms.
The Marseille manager will also be a free agent this summer and is adept at working with the tools at his disposal, meaning the Hammers could potentially save a packet with his appointment.
Perhaps a wild card, widely travelled and extensively experienced, the ex-Argentina coach has worked wonders with Marseille this campaign, and could always bring along out-of-contract marksman Andre-Pierre Gignac.
Big Sam has proven an unpopular choice at Upton Park for a perceived lack of attractive football, despite the club claiming the scalps of Manchester City and Liverpool.
Who better to play the ‘West Ham way’, then, than a former Hammers cult hero? Ex-Croatia coach Bilic is best known for crushing England’s Euro 2008 dreams, but also played for the Upton Park outfit, and Everton, as a defender in the late 90’s.
The current Besiktas boss is hoping to knock Liverpool out of the Europa League, but could bring his brand of attacking play back to London this summer.
It would appear to be a tough task for the Hammers board to bring Moyes back to England, as the former Manchester United and Everton gaffer seems to have settled in Spain with Real Sociedad.
Able to work on a tight budget and bring consistency to clubs, West Ham could be a perfect fit should Moyes wish to trade his La Liga minnows for the pressure of the Premier League again.
However, while the former Toffees man would certainly be capable of guiding West Ham to a European spot, his over-cautious style would surely rub Hammers fans the wrong way.
A former West Ham academy graduate, player and manager, out-of-work Redknapp knows Upton Park like the back of his hand.
The Hammers are 14/1 to be the wheeler and dealer’s next club, if the owners decided to opt for a tried and tested Premier League coach.
Redknapp should be able to continue Allardyce’s work and get the best out of the likes of Stewart Downing and Diafra Sakho, who have been the side’s top stars this term.
However, should West Ham look for an alternative English option, fellow Londoner and former Three Lions coach Glenn Hoddle appears to be back in the frame for a top tier job.
Porto have brought the Premier League top coaches such as Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas Boas in the past, so perhaps Lopetegui could be the next ‘special’ export.
A former Spain Under-21 boss, Lopetegui has already brought a touch of his nation’s style to his current team by signing top La Liga prospects Cristian Tello and Oliver Torres on loan.
After seeing Everton reap the benefits of Roberto Martinez’s Catalan connections, perhaps Lopetegui could help the Hammers prosper in a similar way.