West Ham are back on the hunt for a “high-calibre” manager after opting not to extend the contract of David Moyes.
Former Everton, Manchester United and Sunderland boss Moyes lifted the Hammers out of the relegation zone after replacing Slaven Bilic on a short-term contract in November.
But an eventual 13th-placed finish, thanks to seven points from their final three matches, was apparently not enough to earn the 55-year-old Scot a new deal.
In announcing the departure of Moyes on the club website, joint-chairman David Sullivan said: “We are already taking steps to identify and recruit the manager we believe can take West Ham United forward in line with our ambitions.
“We aim to appoint a high-calibre figure who we feel will lead the club into an exciting future for our loyal supporters within the next 10 days.”
It is a familiar refrain. Rafael Benitez was top of Sullivan’s wanted list before Bilic got the job. Meanwhile, West Ham were reportedly turned down by Carlo Ancelotti, Ronald Koeman, Sean Dyche and Paulo Sousa before turning to Moyes.
Sullivan has reportedly already held talks with Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca. Yet reports emanating from Fonseca’s homeland Portugal claim he has instead opted to stay put with the Ukrainian side and sign a new contract.
Former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, currently with Hebei China Fortune, outgoing Paris St-Germain coach Unai Emery, and Newcastle’s Benitez – again – have also been linked with the role.
In echoes of Sam Allardyce’s departure from Everton earlier on Wednesday, many West Ham fans were not happy with Moyes as manager and it seems Sullivan and co-owner David Gold have bowed to supporter pressure.
However, Moyes had also made it clear in recent weeks that changes behind the scenes at the club would be required if he were to be persuaded to stay on, which may not have gone down well with Sullivan.
Assistant coaches Alan Irvine, Stuart Pearce and Billy McKinlay have also left their roles.
Ex-Hammers striker Tony Cottee felt Moyes deserved a new contract and hit out at the decision-makers at the London Stadium.
Cottee said on talkSPORT: “The guy was brought in to do a job in difficult circumstances. He’s got the results so surely he deserved a chance to take the club forward? So I’m disappointed, but not surprised.
“The thing is, who is going to appoint the new manager? Not one person on that board has knowledge of football, there is no Trevor Brooking, so who is making that decision?
“Let’s not get someone in with no Premier League experience. It will only cause problems, they will leave after 10 or 12 games and then everyone will be saying let’s get in a Sam Allardyce or a David Moyes to keep us up.”
“I really don’t know what is happening at my football club, I am so fed up with what is going on.”