West Ham will move to lure Rafa Benitez from Newcastle after confirming on Wednesday that the tenure of David Moyes as manager was over.
Moyes is understood to be unhappy with the way he was treated, not least when efforts were clearly being made to replace him while he was still in charge.
As Sportsmail revealed on Monday, co-chairman David Sullivan spoke to Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca and his agent Jorge Mendes at his Essex mansion on Monday in a meeting arranged while Moyes was still under contract.
West Ham will move for Rafa Benitez after confirming David Moyes’ tenure as boss was over
Moyes is understood to be unhappy with the way he was treated at the London Stadium
But the club are considering options beyond Fonseca and are keen to explore the possibility of recruiting Benitez three years after they were beaten to his signature by Real Madrid.
The Spaniard had agreed a deal to succeed Sam Allardyce, only for Madrid to swoop for the former Liverpool and Valencia boss.
‘We are already taking steps to identify and recruit the manager we believe can take the club into an exciting future for our loyal supporters within the next 10 days,’ Sullivan said after announcing the end of Moyes’s brief tenure.
Sensing they might be able to get Benitez from Newcastle as relations appear to be difficult between him and owner Mike Ashley over spending, West Ham now look certain to try again.
Sullivan is known to be an admirer having revealed in December 2015 that they were ‘two hours from getting Benitez’ when he received the offer from the Bernabeu.
‘He is a top manager and I think he’d have done a wonderful job for us,’ Sullivan said at the time.
West Ham’s co-chairman David Sullivan spoke to Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca
Sullivan spoke to Fonseca and his agent Jorge Mendes at his Essex mansion on Monday
Reports in Portugal claimed on Wednesday that Fonseca is ready to reject West Ham’s advances. However, sources close to the 45-year-old said that he was still waiting to see if West Ham would make him an offer.
The departing Moyes spoke with Sullivan on Wednesday morning but leaves frustrated at how the situation has been handled.
On Tuesday fellow co-chairman David Gold had claimed he wanted Moyes to stay but in a statement on Wednesday Sullivan said the club had decided to ‘move in a different direction’.
West Ham’s backroom staff of Alan Irvine, Billy McKinlay and Stuart Pearce have also left the club and the Hammers want to name a ‘high-calibre figure’ within the next 10 days. Manuel Pellegrini, Unai Emery and Marco Silva are all understood to be on the shortlist.
West Ham’s backroom staff of Alan Irvine, Billy McKinlay and Stuart Pearce (above) also left
West Ham confirmed Moyes’s exit on Wednesday and Sullivan thanked him for his efforts after joining in November — when they sat in the drop zone.
‘Throughout his time here, David has carried himself with dignity and honesty and we have all found him to be a pleasure to work with,’ said Sullivan.
‘When David arrived, it was the wish of both parties that the focus be only until the end of the season. Now the campaign is complete, we feel that it is right to move in a different direction.’