From Bilic to Moyes: the men who could replace Allardyce

Danny Rust considers who could step into Big Sam’s shoes next year

Sam Allardyce is yet to be offered a new contract at the club and, although he insists a new deal will be offered to him at the end of the season, speculation of a new manager coming in has been rife. Here are five possible candidates for the job, should David Gold and David Sullivan decide it is time for a change at the helm.

Slaven Bilic

Bilic would be a popular choice for many due to his West Ham links. The former defender moved to Upton Park in 1996, and he went on to make 48 Premier League appearances for the Hammers. During his managerial career, he is best known for leading the Croatian international side to an infamous win over England, which led to the Three Lions failing to qualify for Euro 2008.

His record at the helm was impressive, with Croatia being on the losing side only eight times in six years. He was also highly regarded in a brief stint with Hajduk Split. However, Bilic’s spell in Russia with Lokomotiv Moscow was cut short. At Besiktas, where he is currently in charge of former Hammer Demba Ba, he is doing reasonably well and he recently knocked Liverpool out of the Europa League. Despite his success with Croatia, it would probably be too soon to appoint Bilic and the owners could be put off by how often he is sent to the stands.

Frank Rijkaard

The Dutchman is widely regarded as one of the best footballers to come out of his homeland, and he went on to play for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Ajax and AC Milan. Rijkaard began his managerial career as the boss of the Netherlands, but that turned out to be quite brief as he only won eight in 22 matches. Another short stint followed at Sparta Rotterdam but he went on to bigger and better things at Barcelona.

In his five years at the Nou Camp, Barcelona won 160 of Rijkaard’s 273 La Liga games. Some may argue that with the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and, of course, Lionel Messi at his disposal that wouldn’t be too difficult. But you cannot overlook the fact Barcelona won the Champions League, two La Liga titles and two Supercopa de España’s under his guidance.

Having departed the Nou Camp, he took over at Galatasaray. In Turkey, he enjoyed another productive spell as he won 55 per cent of the matches he was at the helm for. His most recent job, as the Saudi Arabia national team head coach, did not go so well but Rijkaard has shown from his spell at Barcelona, he could be a fantastic appointment for the club. His wages may be a stumbling block though, and he has also been out of the game for two years.

Eddie Howe

Eddie Howe is one of the most impressive young British managers in the game at the moment. He has worked wonders at Bournemouth, and the Cherries now have a very good chance of winning promotion to the top flight. But that could work against Davids Gold and Sullivan if they are looking to bring Howe in to replace Allardyce.

Howe was as impressive in his first spell in charge of Bournemouth and that led to interest from Burnley in 2011. But his year in charge of the Clarets was disappointing, with many Burnley fans not taking to the new boss and, most importantly, he failed to get results. Howe would be an exciting appointment, and someone who could be at the club for a prolonged period. But the club’s owners will probably decide against him due to his managerial inexperience and the possibility of having to pay a compensation fee to gain his services.

Michael Laudrup

The former Swansea City manager has been heavily linked with taking over at Upton Park should the Hammers part company with Big Sam. But then again, Laudrup has also been one of the favourites for the Queens Park Rangers post recently. Laudrup would be a good appointment in the eyes of many. He led Swansea to their first ever major trophy, the League Cup. Laudrup’s sides also play an attractive style of play and he would be well liked by the Hammers faithful.

There is no getting around the fact that the Dane had a fantastic playing career, which saw him play for some of the biggest clubs in world football. He has, so far, taken his experience from his playing days into his managerial career, and he has been reasonably successful so far. Laudrup is currently in Qatar with Lekhwiya. It looks as though they will win the title this year, but the former Mallorca manager’s contract ends at the end of the season. That would be an extra attraction for the owners as that means the club would not have to pay a compensation fee to get their man.

David Moyes

The Scot’s reputation was tarnished by his ten months in charge of Manchester United last season. Moyes couldn’t find his best team at Old Trafford and he also failed to get the players onside. Former Hammer Rio Ferdinand, in particular, has spoken out against Moyes’ time in charge of the Red Devils.

But his record at Everton was truly impressive, as he managed to lead the Toffees to European qualification numerous times on a small budget. The one criticism of his time at Goodison Park was that he failed to win a trophy. Moyes was also admired during his time as boss of Preston North End. His good record led to his move to Everton. Moyes is currently manager of Real Sociedad and he has got off to a good start in La Liga. Gold and Sullivan would have to work hard to persuade him to leave Spain for a return to the Premier League.

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