5 realistic replacements for Slaven Bilic at West Ham United
West Ham’s last-gasp 1-0 victory on Saturday over Swansea City in a tight game may well have saved Slaven Bilic’s job. The win gave the Hammers a much-needed three points and moved them up to 15th in the Premier League, taking some of the pressure off the Croatian manager after a run of bad results had the side in some early trouble.
Next up for the Hammers are three fellow strugglers – Burnley, Brighton and Crystal Palace – but November sees them face off with tougher foes in the form of Liverpool, Watford and Leicester City. A handful of losses could see Bilic’s head on the chopping block for sure. But if he does go, who could come in to replace him at the London Stadium?
Sure, Hammers fans would love Mourinho or Guardiola but realistically that sort of move wouldn’t happen. Here are five managers, though, who could be realistic choices for West Ham should they choose to dispense with Bilic.
#1 Walter Mazzarri
Italy’s Walter Mazzarri is currently out of a job after being curiously fired by Watford at the end of last season, but he could be the type of manager that West Ham could call upon should Bilic face the axe.
It wasn’t like he did a bad job at Watford, after all – sure, they seem improved this season under Marco Silva, but Mazzarri still kept the Hornets in the Premier League pretty comfortably, and also managed to pull off some impressive results, beating Manchester United 3-1 and Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates, for instance.
Prior to his short tenure at Watford, Mazzarri saw some notable success in Italy, managing the likes of Sampdoria, Napoli and Inter Milan. His time as Napoli manage was most impressive, as he led them into the Champions League within two seasons at the club, and guided them to their first trophy in over 20 years, their first since the time of Diego Maradona, in the form of the 2012 Coppa Italia. He left Napoli following a 2nd place finish in Serie A, again their best one in over 20 years.
Admittedly, his time at Inter Milan was largely a failure, but it’s his run at Napoli that might intrigue West Ham – during his time there Mazzarri gained a reputation as a manager who loved to play high-octane attacking football, making the most of talents such as Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik.
West Ham’s fans are renowned for always wishing their side to play attractive, attacking football, and Mazzarri’s Napoli fit that mould to a tee. If he took over West Ham and got them playing that way, he’d become a hero to the Hammers for sure.