West Ham expect Julen Lopetegui to replace exiting David Moyes as head coach

Julen Lopetegui - West Ham expect Julen Lopetegui to replace exiting David Moyes as head coach

West Ham United expect Julen Lopetegui to become their new head coach after it was confirmed that David Moyes will be exiting the club at the end of this season.

West Ham announced on Monday night that Moyes will depart the London Stadium upon the expiry of his contract, which runs until the summer.

He will leave as one of the club’s greatest managers after guiding them to glory in last season’s Europa Conference League, a result which ended a 43-year wait for a major trophy.

Telegraph Sport reported last month that Lopetegui was one of the leading candidates to replace Moyes ahead of next season, and talks have since progressed at pace.

It is understood that West Ham now fully expect Lopetegui to accept an offer that was made to him by the club last week, although a deal has not yet been signed. In their statement, the club said only that “the recruitment process for David’s successor has begun”.

The end of Moyes’s four-and-a-half-year reign has felt increasingly certain in recent weeks, with a change regarded as inevitable after a poor run of form over the last few months. Tim Steidten, the club’s technical director, has been actively working to find potential replacements for the Scot.

That search has led to tension behind the scenes at West Ham, with senior figures deciding last week that it would be best for all concerned if Steidten no longer had access to first-team areas at the club’s stadium and training ground.

Lopetegui, the former Spain, Real Madrid and Sevilla manager, has not worked since leaving Wolves in August. He had impressed at Wolves by guiding them to safety last season, but left amid concerns over the club’s financial restrictions.

Confirmation of Moyes’ departure provides the West Ham supporters with a chance to give him a proper send-off at their final home game of the season, against Luton Town, this weekend.

David Sullivan, West Ham’s joint-chairman, said: “On behalf of everyone at West Ham United, I would like to offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to David for the contribution he has made to the football club during his time as manager.

“David has been responsible for a period of great progress and success in our history, and we are extremely grateful for all of his hard work, commitment and dedication to the role.

“David has been an absolute professional to work with and he will leave with our greatest respect and good wishes – he deserves to be held in the highest esteem for the service he has given to West Ham United, and we wish him every success in the future.

“By making this announcement now, it allows David to get the send-off he deserves from the West Ham supporters and for us all to show our appreciation to him at our final home fixture of the season against Luton Town on Saturday.”

Moyes began his second spell at West Ham with the club only one place above the relegation zone, and has since led them to three consecutive seasons in Europe.

“After leading the club to safety, we guided the team to finishes of sixth and seventh in the Premier League, and I was delighted when we won the Europa Conference League title last June – the club’s first major trophy in 43 years,” said Moyes.

“I would like to thank all the players for their support, and all the success they have achieved, over the last four and a half years.

“I have really enjoyed working with everyone at West Ham, and I would like to thank the board for giving me the opportunity to manage this great club.

“I wish my eventual successor, the directors, the players, the staff, the fans, and everybody at West Ham, all the very best for the future.”

West Ham had also considered Sporting head coach Ruben Amorim, although his release clause of £12.8 million is understood to have contributed to the club choosing to prioritise a move for Lopetegui.

Amorim was also an option for Liverpool, who instead moved for Arne Slot, and the Portuguese has now declared his intention to remain at Sporting.

Amorim’s side were crowned champions this weekend and the 39-year-old said: “Stay? There are still more things left. I have a contract and I am Sporting’s coach. I stay, I have a contract with Sporting.”

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