If West Ham United fail to persuade David Moyes to return to the Premier League next season, they will turn their attention to Slaven Bilic.
Current Upton Park manager Sam Allardyce is out of contract at the end of the season, and it looks increasingly likely he will leave the club during the summer. Although the 60-year-old led the Hammers back to the top-flight at the first time of asking in 2012 and has been able to re-establish them amongst the elite, he has never truly won over the bulk of their fan-base.
What doesn’t help his cause it the recent run of poor results, with just three wins this calendar year making their early season aspirations of a top-six finish nothing but a distant memory. With two matches of the season remaining the capital club are now clinging on to their place in the top-half of the standings, with next opponents Everton just three points behind.
It has been reported that former Toffees boss Moyes is the number one target to succeed Allardyce, but the Scot is said to be reluctant to leave Real Sociedad after being at the helm of the Spaniards for less than a season. During this time he has led them away from relegation, and he is well on the way to repairing the reputational damage he suffered at Manchester United.
According to the Daily Star, the next option for West Ham is Bilic. The 46-year-old was a firm favourite amongst the Upton Park faithful in an eighteen month spell in 1996-97 when he made 48 league appearances, during which he won the respect of the supporters when he postponed a move to Everton until he was able to ensure the Hammers survival in the Premier League.
Since hanging up his boots Bilic has managed Hajduk Split, Croatia at both Under-21 and full level, Lokomotiv Moscow and, since 2013, Besiktas. Although the Turkish side would be reluctant to lose their head coach, he could be tempted to return to the Premier League with his former club this summer which should allow him to lead them to the Olympic Stadium in 2016.
Allardyce, meanwhile, insists it is by no means certain that the visit of Everton on Saturday will be the last home game of his tenure at Upton Park. The former Newcastle United boss has been linked with a return to the North East to replace Dick Advocaat at Sunderland, a club he served as a player, but he has revealed he has yet to open talks with his current employers over his future.
“Nearly two years ago when we finished 10th in the Premier League, I signed a contract on 29 May, after the season had finished,” he said.”It was probably a good two weeks before the season finished that we negotiated it. I think at the end of this season, it falls along the same lines. We sit down and we negotiate and I think then the outcome will be made to clear to everyone.
“The speculation about other managers coming here is bound to happen, because you have lots of columns to fill today. You’re bound to get a whisper, and third-hand information from here or from there, somebody telling you this and that which is the world we live in today. But like I said from a point of view of whether I am staying or going, that hasn’t been decided yet.”
Should West Ham United show loyalty to Sam Allardyce and offer him a new contract, or is the time right to bid him farewell and turn to Slaven Bilic?