West Ham: Three candidates to replace David Moyes

Two Premier League winners and a Champions League winner have been linked with the job

REUTERS/David Klein

After it was announced on Monday that David Moyes had left West Ham, speculation has been rife about who will take over.

Securing a successor appears to be moving a lot faster than it is at Everton where it was announced that Sam Allardyce was leaving on the same day.

Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca was linked to both jobs but has quashed any speculation after committing his future to the Ukrainian club by signing a new deal.

In light of the names being linked, it appears that West Ham’s management recruitment strategy is similar to that of their player recruitment: those who once enjoyed success at the top-level in years gone by. 

But unlike the likes of Patrice Evra, Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta, these are figures who don’t rely on their ever-decreasing fitness and ability to play. 

Here are the three names that are linked with the job:

  1. 1 Rafael Benitez

    REUTERS/Scott Heppell

    A hero on Tyneside, Mike Ashley would have hell on if he allowed Newcastle's greatest asset to depart the club for a Premier League rival. 

    The speculation could be based on the fact that Benitez very nearly joined the hammers in 2015 and reportedly has a good relationship with the owners. It didn't happen in the end because the biggest club in the world came calling for the Spaniard and they went for Slaven Bilic instead. 

    Speculation could also be based on Benitez being a canny operator who has been known to play club politics throughout his career: the threat of leaving for offers elsewhere could be a bargaining chip for Newcastle's chairman to back him properly. 

    Then again, he might look at the £50 million spent this season by West Ham last season and see a club far more likely to give him financial backing.

    It should go without saying that he would be an excellent appointment for West Ham. St. James' Park was a toxic place in the latter days of hapless Steve McClaren's reign and Benitez has transformed it into a positive place again with Newcastle having beaten Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United there in recent months. 

    With the current problems at the London Stadium, this is something they can only dream of.

  2. 2 Claudio Ranieri

    The Italian will take charge of Nantes for the last time this weekend, their season tailing off somewhat after an exceptional start. Still, they're set for the top half of the table.

    With him being free, another return to the Premier League has been suggested. It's a difficult one to assess, because his achievement with Leicester was such an outlier in his career and the wider football landscape, that it's difficult to see how it applies. 

    Everything coalesced that season into every player having the season of their lives, and it's difficult to see Ranieri getting the same results from an aging and imbalanced squad.

    His second season with the Foxes also demonstrated the dangers if the squad don't believe in his leadership.

  3. 3 Manuel Pellegrini

    Recency bias might have some dismiss the former Manchester City boss after they swiftly declined after his first season there. He nearly contrived to get the most expensive squad in Premier League history outside of the top four places and they increasingly looked flat or lost under his stewardship. 

    But in hindsight it looks a little better. His successor is arguably the greatest manager of the modern era, yet he only managed to guide them to a trophyless third-placed finish in his first season there. The squad had stagnated, but this is as much an issue of Txiki Begiristain's recruitment as Pellegrini's management. 

    Otherwise, he has an exceptional managerial record. Lest we forget he won the title with Manchester City in his first season and recorded a then-record points total with Real Madrid but lost out to the epoch-defining Barcelona side of 2010. 

    But what will most encourage West Ham fans is his record at clubs more appropriate to where they find themselves. He took Villarreal from being a meagre provincial club into Champions League semi-finalists. His memorable Malaga side made great strides in Europe, too. 

    If the Chilean can be prised away from his lucrative contract with China Fortune, he would back himself to achieve similar things with West Ham.

    Who do you think should take over at West Ham? Let us know by commenting below.

  1. Poll: Who should replace David Moyes at West Ham?

    1. Rafael Benitez
    2. Claudio Ranieri
    3. Manuel Pellegrini
    39 votes
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