West Ham have held preliminary talks with Marseille manager Marcelo Bielsa, according to Goal.com.
The talks were largely positive between both Bielsa and the club as the board were particularly enthused by the Argentine’s footballing philosophy.
A potential stumbling block to West Ham trying to negotiate a deal is the fact that the former Athletic Bilbao manager cannot speak English. Although this is the case Bielsa himself did state that if he was to be offered a job in England; he would attempt to learn English within six months.
There still remains the very strong possibility that he will stay at Marseille for another season as the French club are understood to be keen to offer the Argentine a one year contract extension. The man himself is understood to be determined to secure a top-three finish for Marseille but a move to a project like West Ham could sway his decision.
Is he right for West Ham?
A new brand of football, experience at the highest level and a real character, what’s not to like? He recently led Marseille to a top four finish in Ligue 1 and the club built a reputation for playing good, high-pressing football that resulted in a lot of goals. Only Paris Saint-Germain scored more in Ligue 1 as Bielsa’s Marseille racked up 76 goals.
The new brand of football would certainly suit the likes of Diafra Sakho and Cheikou Kouyate, who pride themselves on working very hard for the team. A transition to this style of play should not be too much of a problem due to the naturally fast pace of the Premier League.
A rumoured transfer kitty of £25 million would be an excellent source of opportunity for a man who has a wealth of footballing experience. Also, if you put two and two together, West Ham have been linked with a number of Marseille players in the past and hiring their manager will only increase the chances of certain players arriving at the club. Names such as Andre Ayew, Ralf Le-Hodit, Andre-Pierre Gignac and Nicolas N’Koulou are rumoured to be on West Ham’s wish list and would certainly improve the overall strength of the current squad.
Some may think that moving for Bielsa is a bit of a gamble but the man certainly has a desire to work in the Premier League and he has a proven track record throughout his managerial career. The owners are looking to take West Ham to the next level and a quality addition like Bielsa will give the Hammers the opportunity to do just that.
And if you need more convincing…
Former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola had this to say about Bielsa’s coaching when the West Ham managerial target was in charge of Athetic Bilbao: