Amidst what seems like an infinite list of names linked with the Hammers job, one man has been an ever-present and is yet to distance himself from the Upton Park hot seat.
Former West Ham man Slaven Bilic left Turkey earlier today. He was mobbed by Besiktas fans as he departed Istanbul airport, suggesting that many of the supporters idolised the Croatian. He recently decided to leave Besiktas after he failed to win the Turkish League for the past two seasons. Considering the competition and the lack of financial power at Besiktas, it was always going to be difficult to produce a title-winning side that would be able to overcome Turkish giants Galatasaray and Fernabache.
More pictures of Besiktas fans saying goodbye to Bilic today pic.twitter.com/ZM0clE573c
— Mark Harrison (@MarkHarrison23) June 4, 2015
Bilic’s side eventually finished 3rd in the Turkish Superlig, meaning the club failed to qualify for the Champions League, another instance that led to Bilic leaving the club. Despite the rather disappointing finish to the campaign, Besiktas were a solid side under Bilic. They were incredibly reliable performers away from home, winning more games on the road than any other team in the league. They also conceded the fewest amount of goals in away matches, letting in just 13 goals in 17 matches. If Bilic can bring a similar element of solidarity to West Ham next season, fans shouldn’t have to worry about the potential of a relegation scrap in 2015/16. The former Croatia manager has shown that he can perform under a limited budget whilst also encouraging his team to balance attractive attacking football alongside a solid defensive spine at the back.
Sky Bet place Bilic at 1/2 to become West Ham’s next manager and the Croat is quickly becoming the outright favourite after recent reports suggested that Unai Emery has opted to stay at Sevilla and lead them into the Champions League. West Ham fans should not be disheartened by the prospect of Bilic potentially becoming West Ham manager in the next few days. In 94 games at Besiktas, he recorded a win percentage of 53.2% which is a hugely encouraging figure considering the Turkish club’s involvement in European football. Bilic led Besiktas to victories against the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham Hostpur, he also made it very difficult for Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League last season as well.
— Beşiktaş Int. (@Besiktas_Int) May 29, 2015
Although it is not set in stone that Bilic is to be appointed as West Ham’s new manager, he ticks a number of important boxes for the board and the fans. He is young but experienced, he knows the Premier League, he has enjoyed success at club and international level, he actively wants to manage West Ham and he plays attractive football coupled with defensive solidarity. When you look at the pros connected with Bilic, it suddenly becomes very difficult to argue against his potential appointment.
If you look at the likes of Newcastle supposedly appointing Steve McClaren as their new manager, the fact that West Ham are linked with a manager like Bilic is excellent news and his potential appointment certainly resembles a step in the right direction. The board has shown ambition in chasing some of the world’s best managers but Bilic’s name should not be dismissed as a lousy option. If he is given the job, hopefully he can prove himself as the man that is more than capable of taking West Ham to the next level.
Judge Bilic’s style of football for yourself by watching some highlights below: