Three wins in 21 Premier League games was surely a large reason for Sam Allardyce’s departure as West Ham manager within minutes of their defeat to Newcastle, but his fairly defensive style of football didn’t do much for his prospects either.
More than most clubs, West Ham fans demand an attacking brand of football and this will only take on even greater significance once the move is complete into the Olympic Stadium.
With this ground, the lure of London to attract transfer targets and owners prepared to pay good salaries, there is a real possibility, with the right manager, that the Hammers could mount a serious challenge on the top four over the next five years.
Their prospects certainly seem stronger than the majority of the mid-table comrades.
Rafa Benitez has been linked, but he is widely expected to replace Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp’s desire for a project must make West Ham perfect partners, but Fenerbahce appears more likely and Sevilla boss Unai Emery is another front runner, behind 1/5 favourite Slaven Bilic.
However, word is that Emery has agreed to attempt to resurrect AC Milan instead, although Fiorentina’s Vincenzo Montella was believed to be the number-one target, until his compensation package proved a stumbling block.
Reports from Italy suggest that Montella is far from certain to remain as Fiorentina manager next season and West Ham may be more open to paying his compensation.
At Catania previously and now at Fiorentina since 2012, Montella has had no issues playing attacking football, focusing on possession through ball-playing midfielders.
The likes of Alberto Aquilani, David Pizarro and Borja Valero have become pivotal to the set-up at the Tuscany club, who remain in the hunt for a third consecutive top-four finish in Serie A.
Montella’s recruitment strategy has also been eye-catching, taking chances on players who have failed to reach or maximise early potential.
The fact that Fiorentina dumped Tottenham out of the Europa League this season wouldn’t have gone unnoticed among Hammers fans either and should instantly position him in a positive light if replacing Allardyce.
20/1 seems about the right price on Montella becoming the next West Ham manager, but he is an option that should be high on any shortlist.