Simone Inzaghi has emerged as West Ham’s surprise choice to replace Slaven Bilic this summer, according to reports in the Italian media.
Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport (via Calciomercato.com) claims that the Hammers have targeted the Lazio coach as the man to replace Bilic, who has struggled to repeat the heights of last season during an underwhelming season at the London Stadium.
The paper claims Hammers chiefs are ready to make a change at the helm and 41-year-old Inzaghi has emerged as their surprise number one choice, with a five-year deal being readied to tempt him from the Eternal City.
Inzaghi has worked wonders in guiding Lazio to the brink of Europa League qualification and the final of the Coppa Italia whilst working on a shoestring budget.
Inzaghi’s current deal with Lazio is due to expire at the end of the season but has an automatic renewal clause inserted in it that states that president Claudio Lotito can extend his stay until 2019.
Croatian Bilic has refused to be drawn into conversation over his future recently claiming that he will continue to fight for every point still available to the East London club this season.
Bilic, whose West Ham side are currently 13th in the Premier League table, has been given the dreaded vote of confidence after a season of frustrations at their new stadium, which has seen star player Dimtri Payet sold, trouble on the terraces and the club struggle to adjust to their new surroundings.
Speaking earlier this month about claims he was facing the sack, Bilic said: “The only way you can stop the speculation is if you win games or get a point or climb up the table.
“After four defeats of course I can expect even more speculation, but as I said I wasn’t worried before and I’m not worried now.
“I’m doing my job. I’m very motivated and very positive.”
West Ham’s vice-chairman Karren Brady also offered her support to the Croatian, who is coming to the end of the second year of his three-year contract.
Brady told those suggesting the club are already looking for a replacement to “shut up” recently and insisted they are planning to keep Bilic as manager.
“Speculation and all that – I said ages ago it doesn’t affect me,” Bilic added. “I don’t read it. I know it, it’s there of course.
“We are all disappointed, everybody with me in the dressing room, but my morale is always high – it’s my job.
“I’m totally motivated and focused. We have another game very soon, a chance to make it up, to start winning games.
“Of course it’s not easy to have a great atmosphere when you have four defeats out of four games, but it’s now down to us to show our team spirit and character.”