West Ham have announced a decision will be made on their new manager within the next 48 hours, with former Hammer Slaven Bilic almost certain to get the nod.
A price of 1/50 says the Croat is handed the heavily-indented seat vacated by Sam Allardyce in the West Ham dugout, with 10/1-rated Marcelo Bielsa the only other runner resembling anything close to a rival.
Such certainty from the bookies is drawn from the fact that the Irons revealed on their website that their new boss is both familiar with the club and has experience in one of Europe’s top five leagues.
Bilic has fewer than 50 West Ham appearances under his belt, so can hardly be considered a stalwart, and unless the Croatian, Russian, Turkish top flights or the Europa League are being counted as one of the continent’s elite divisions, then he fails to check that box as well.
If a manager with experience at the highest level is what they seek, pushing back their two-day deadline would be the wisest course of action for the east Londoners to make, especially given last night’s revelations in Italy.
Sought-after tactician Vincenzo Montella is now on the market after being sacked by Fiorentina and can be backed at 20/1 to be the next West Ham boss.
Having managed in Serie A for three seasons, achieving as many fourth-place finishes in the process, the 40-year-old is well-versed in getting results in one of the continent’s toughest divisions.
Similarly, if the Hammers head honchos are opting for the fast and loose approach in allowing the Europa League to slip into this bracket, Montella out-performed Bilic in this competition too, guiding his Viola outfit to this season’s semi-final where they were beaten by eventual champions Sevilla.
Having spent ten games on loan at Fulham towards the end of his playing career, he’s probably about as familiar with West Ham as the Croat is too.
If this doesn’t quantify as legitimate, it’s important to consider the solitary feather in Bilic’s cap is that his supremely talented Croatia team knocked England out in qualification for Euro 2008.
Montella’s string of top-four finishes in Serie A far outweigh what the likely next Hammers boss has achieved in management and he is certainly worth an approach at least.