Napoli boss Rafa Benitez is still odds-on favourite at 4/5 to be West Ham’s next boss, with current Irons chief Sam Allardyce expected to get the boot after his side’s last game of the season away to Newcastle, but a new name has entered the fray overnight.
Former Ukraine defender Viktor Skrypnyk has proved a revelation in the dugout since taking over a Werder Bremen outfit in dire straits last October, and the greenhorn gaffer’s efforts seem to have caught the eye of West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan.
Die Grun-Weissen were rock bottom of the Bundesliga with four points and no wins after nine games when Skrypnyk stepped up from Werder Bremen II to take over the first team.
The 45-year-old oversaw a veritable renaissance on the banks of the Wesser, steering Werder through a run of eight victories in their next 12 league matches, with both Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen felled during that spell.
Skrypnyk pulled his side up to eighth in the table by the time they visited Schalke in mid-February, where they drew 1-1, and a run of just four losses in their last 11 Bundesliga fixtures means Werder could still pip Dortmund to seventh with a game to go.
Crucial to Skrypnyk’s success has been his ability to coax more than the occasional goal out of Franco Di Santo, the former Chelsea, Blackburn and Wigan striker ex-Rovers boss Allardyce had on loan at Ewood Park during 2009/10.
Di Santo bagged twice in his coach’s first Bundesliga match in charge, a 2-1 win away to Mainz, and fired in six goals in ten top-flight fixtures between early February and late April, having been laid low with a thigh injury halfway through the campaign.
Having failed to score more than seven per season in six prior campaigns as a professional footballer, including rippling the onion bag just once in 24 appearances under Allardyce for Rovers, 13 in 19 all-competition outings this term is some return. Imagine what Skrypnyk could do for Andy Carroll?
The market for next West Ham boss looks set to open up considerably over the next few days, with Football Italia reporting that Benitez isn’t particularly enamoured by the prospect of moving to east London, so getting on Skrypnyk now at 20/1 with bwin may prove a profitable endeavor.
A report in today’s Mirror claims he ‘has been added to the list of managers being considered by West Ham’, but also suggests Sunderland would want Skrypnyk to replace Dick Advocaat if the Dutch veteran leaves the Stadium of Light this summer.