West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini is a man under pressure right now. After his side’s disappointing 2-3 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday – that score flattered them – the Hammers sit in 17th place, and haven’t won a match since September 22nd.
In that time they’ve also lost 5 of 7 Premier League games, while conceding 16 goals in the process. Admittedly, Pellegrini has had to contend with an injury to his #1 goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski – replacing him with the hapless Roberto – but even so, West Ham’s recent record is bad enough that rumours are now flying around regarding the Chilean's potential sacking.
So if the Hammers do decide to pull the trigger, who could replace the former Manchester City boss? Here are 3 possibilities.
#1 Rafael Benitez
Perhaps the top contender for the job at West Ham – should it arise – is former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez. The Spaniard walked away from Newcastle United in the summer following the expiration of his contract and now manages Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, but reportedly, the reasons for him leaving St. James’ Park were a series of disagreements with club owner Mike Ashley.
That suggests that Benitez perhaps isn’t ready to call time on his top-level management career yet – despite likely earning a lot of money in China.
Would Benitez be a good manager for West Ham to appoint? Almost certainly. The Spanish veteran has won trophies at practically every club he’s managed – from two La Liga titles at Valencia to the Champions League at Liverpool – and he’s also a master at getting the best out of underperforming players.
Even more intriguingly, West Ham reportedly attempted to move for Benitez twice in the past; firstly in 2015 before the Spaniard moved to Real Madrid, and secondly prior to the appointment of Pellegrini in the summer of 2018 – and it was only his hefty release clause at Newcastle that prevented his appointment. Could this season be third time lucky for the Hammers and Benitez? We shall see.