West Ham close to deal for Julen Lopetegui to take over as manager

West Ham close to deal for Julen Lopetegui to take over as manager

West Ham are close to agreeing a deal for Julen Lopetegui to take over as their new manager. The club are poised to part company with David Moyes at the end of the season and talks with Lopetegui are gathering pace.

Negotiations have not been concluded and a final decision on Moyes, whose contract runs out this summer, will not be made until the Scot holds talks with the board once the campaign is over.

But West Ham are actively looking for a replacement and have considered several candidates. Talks were held with Sporting Lisbon’s Rúben Amorim last month and some figures within the London Stadium believe the 39-year-old would be the best person to take over from Moyes. However Amorim’s contract contains a €15m (£12.8m) release clause and there are doubts over whether West Ham are willing to pay that.

That has left Lopetegui, out of work since leaving Wolves last summer, as the frontrunner. West Ham have been doing due diligence on the Spaniard, who is out of the running to join Milan. If negotiations reach a successful conclusion, everything could be settled next week. Even without a formal announcement, that could allow Moyes to be given a proper sendoff when West Ham play Luton Town in their final home game next Saturday.

Moyes has done an outstanding job since returning to West Ham for a second spell in December 2019. He guided the club to their first major trophy in 43 years when they won the Europa Conference League last season. They retain an outside chance of qualifying for Europe for a fourth consecutive season.

But a disappointing run of form since the turn of the year has left Moyes unlikely to be handed the two-year deal that appeared to be heading his way earlier this season. West Ham were sixth at Christmas but have dipped to ninth with three games to go. They have won four games in all competitions in 2024.

Growing tension surrounding Tim Steidten, West Ham’s technical director, has increased the pressure to resolve the situation. Steidten has been heavily involved in the search for a manager and has been asked to stay away from Moyes and the first team for the rest of the season. The German has been one of the main drivers behind the move for Amorim. David Sullivan, the co-owner, is expected to have the final say. Lopetegui is believed to have impressed Sullivan.

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West Ham have also considered Hansi Flick, Fulham’s Marco Silva and Lille’s Paulo Fonseca. They have kept tabs on Graham Potter but a move for the former Chelsea manager is unlikely at this stage.

Source: theguardian.com