West Ham close to naming new manager with Bilic and Bielsa in frame
The Irons appear close to appointing a successor to Sam Allardyce, who left Upton Park at the end of the season when his contract was not renewed.
Slaven Bilic is reported to have been interviewed about the vacancy over the weekend, with the likes of Rafael Benitez, Jurgen Klopp, Carlo Ancelotti and Unai Emery all said to have been under consideration as co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold look to find the right man to take them forwards and on into the Olympic Stadium from 2016/17.
On Monday afternoon, the club's official website carried a statement which read: "West Ham United's search for a new manager looks to be entering its final stages, with the club hoping to make an announcement within the next 48 hours.
Gold has indicated the club were determined to "bring in an established manager who has been there and done it".
Bilic has coached at international level with Croatia and also in Europe with Besiktas as well as at Lokomotiv Moscow.
Marcelo Bielsa of Marseille is another said to be on the Irons' radar.
Bilic would certainly go down well with supporters, having become a cult hero during a brief spell at Upton Park in the 1996/97 season.
"It would be lovely to have someone with West Ham history," Gold said in an interview on the club's official website.
"Having Premier League experience - that doesn't mean English Premier League - that means a man who has managed successfully in the Italian league, Spanish league, the German league or a major league in the world.
"That is a box that needs to be ticked, we don't want to take a chance."
Whomever is eventually appointed, the club are looking to strengthen the squad for what will be an earlier return than usual because of qualifying rounds for the Europa League.
Sampdoria midfielder Pedro Obiang is one target, while the club have no intention of allowing striker Enner Valencia to leave following an impressive debut season.
While the Irons appear to be closing in on an experienced candidate, former boss Harry Redknapp has called for Rio Ferdinand to be given a chance, joking he could also return to Upton Park as director of football.
Ferdinand, 36, retired at the end of the season following a spell at QPR, the former Manchester United and England defender now spending more time with his family following the death of his wife to cancer.
Redknapp, who managed West Ham between 1994 and 2001, believes his old club could do worse than look to give their Academy graduate a first step into coaching - with a helping hand from an experienced head if needed.
In an interview with sports social network site, www.kicca.com, Redknapp said: "Rio Ferdinand's doing his coaching badges and has got a great football brain. I used to talk to him a lot at QPR, he'd be on the bench and I'd ask his opinion, 'what do you think Rio?', and he always had good ideas and read the game well.
Redknapp left QPR in February saying he needed a knee operation, but insisted he was not leaving football.
The 68-year-old said: "I'd like to see him as manager of West Ham. I'd go with him as director of football, that would be a good partnership.
"So there's no reason why, if given the opportunity somewhere with the right people around him, Rio couldn't do very well.
"West Ham's a great club with decent players, so it wouldn't be impossible for him to have a crack at something like that."