West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

David Moyes sack talk latest: West Ham board line up world-class coach but have one major reservation

David Moyes reacting during a West Ham United loss

West Ham United are reportedly drawing up a list of potential replacements for David Moyes should the Hammers decide to sack the under-pressure Scottish manager.

The Hammers are performing well down on expectations this season and currently find themselves in 17th. And they face a crucial trip to play fellow strugglers Leeds at Elland Road on Wednesday night. A win for the Hammers can see them climb above the Whites, who are currently 14th. But a defeat will see the pressure heaped on Moyes with West Ham likely to slip into the relegation places.

Their current situation is a huge fall from grace given their performances over the last two seasons. Indeed, the Hammers finished sixth in 2020/21, at one point threatening to gatecrash the Champions League places.

And last season, they finished seventh, but also coming within a whisker of reaching the Europa League final. For that reason, Moyes has plenty of credit in the bank.

As a result, the Hammers board sanctioned their biggest summer transfer spree yet. And with Lucas Paqueta, Gianluca Scamacca and Nayef Aguerd all arriving for fees in excess of £30m, hopes were high for a stellar campaign.

Sadly, though, little has gone West Ham’s way with the Hammers winning just four times in 17 Premier League games this season. As a result, reports on New Year’s Eve opened up on the possibility of Moyes facing the sack.

As it stands, the Hammers board appear to still be behind Moyes and he will be afforded some extra time.

West Ham eye ambitious move for Marcelo Bielsa

That said, a fresh report on Tuesday suggests Moyes may only have three games left to save his job. And the failure to get positive results from matches with Leeds, Brentford in the FA Cup, and away to Wolves on Saturday 14 January, could see the axe fall.

As a result, the Hammers board are reportedly already being proactive in their hunt for a potential successor. And according to a report, they already have three options in mind, with the leading name believed to be former Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa.

The Argentine was incredibly popular during his three-and-a-half years at Elland Road, leading the Whites to promotion after a 16-year absence. His brand of football was also ridiculously pleasing on the eye, while his personalty and charm off the field also endeared him to his public.

Bielsa has been linked with West Ham before, with Bielsa interviewed for the job back in 2015 after Sam Allardyce’s departure. At the time, Slaven Bilic was instead handed the job with Bielsa overlooked.

As such, the Hammers are reportedly making him their No 1 target this time around.

That said, reporter Hughie Southon told Hammers fanzine Claret and Hugh about the one main reservation they have about Bielsa.

“Marcelo Bielsa has been named as one possible and we understand from insiders that he would be ready to take over,” he said.

“But the board have experience of him at interview level when appointing Slaven Bilic rather than the 67-year-old Argentine and were not impressed with his zero knowledge of English. That remains the case.”

As alternatives, West Ham are also reportedly casting their eyes over Mauricio Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel as alternatives. However, both appointments are seen as difficult with both potentially holding out for major jobs elsewhere.

Declan Rice refusing to accept West Ham relegation struggles

Despite their struggles, Hammers captain Declan Rice refuses to accept his side are in a relegation battle.

Speaking after their most recent loss, 2-0 to Brentford, he told Football London that spirits at the club remain high.

“As bizarre as it sounds with the result, the first half is as good as we have played this season. We passed really well, we just lacked cutting edge. They scored two goals, we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.

“It’s really frustrating, we highlighted throw-ins as a strength of theirs. Their second one, one throw, one ball over the top, and it’s in the net. In all my time at West Ham, we haven’t conceded a goal as easy as that.

“Inside the changing room heads were not down at all. We just couldn’t get that extra goal. In games like this you need to score, keep applying pressure, and credit to Brentford they stopped us.

“This is West Ham, it’s a massive club. Where we are in the table isn’t good enough, we need to be doing better, we are letting ourselves down, our manager down and our fans down. It doesn’t feel real being in the position we are but that’s the reality.

“When you’re down at the bottom with the games played, people will say it’s a relegation battle. But if you have that mindset, it makes everything frantic. It’s not like that at all, everything is so positive. We’ve got to stay positive.”

It remains to be seen if Rice will alter his opinion if they come away from Leeds having failed to pick up a positive result.

READ MORE ~ Declan Rice future: Insider reveals West Ham captain’s preferred next move amid Man Utd, Chelsea battle