According to a report from The Sun, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic will have his contract renewed at the end of the season, but only if he guides the club to a top eight finish in the Premier League.
West Ham have recently recovered from a horrendous start to the season that saw the club seriously flirt with relegation. While co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan are known for taking a patient approach with their managers, it was reported that Bilic was close to the sack in January.
Bilic has since turned the situation around and the Hammers have now won three of their last four league games. Most recently, a rousing come-from-behind 3-1 victory away at Southampton.
However, we are just one week removed from the abysmal 4-0 home defeat to Manchester City. It should be noted that the last time we played Manchester City at home, West Ham lost 5-0 in the FA Cup, so there is some progress being made!
West Ham chiefs are seemingly keen for Bilic to produce a strong finish to the season, and will reward the manager with a fresh deal, if top eight is achieved. His current contract is due to expire at the end of the 2017/18 campaign.
The Sun quoted a West Ham insider, who said:
“There’s nothing we want more than for Slaven to go onto his third year with us but we really do need to start seeing some decent performances.
There have been some scrappy wins and we need to see some good football and stuff to please the fans. That’s important. Then we can go into next season free of any source of anxiety and think about another contract at the end of this one as has always been the case at this club.
It's West Brom next and they are a good team but we have real confidence and if we continue like that a top eight finish is on."
This story adds even greater importance to Saturday’s home fixture with West Bromwich Albion, who currently sit five points ahead of the Hammers in eighth position. The players will be keen to avenge the 4-2 loss at the Hawthorns in September, as West Ham embarrassingly went 4-0 down after just 56 minutes of play.
The last six meetings of the two clubs has seen two wins for each team, as well as two draws; with West Ham suffering of two heavy defeats.
Following this, is a trip to Watford, who are one point and position below West Ham in tenth place. With our next two games taking place against the teams above and below us in the league; these are crucial matches for establishing the club in the top half. Finishing top eight is a very achievable target for the Bilic.
Slaven Bilic: "With all due respect to women, football is the most beautiful thing in the world." pic.twitter.com/RDlaOPquJV— West Ham Photos (@whufcphotos) February 6, 2017
Even if West Ham finish outside the top eight this season, it would be foolhardy not to offer Bilic a new contract. His masterful handling of the Payet transfer and the way the saga has seemingly bonded the squad together; shows the quality of the Croatian’s man management skills.
Bilic is the best West Ham manager since Harry Redknapp, and the club should be doing their best to retain his services for as long as possible.
Saturday was Slaven Bilic's 25th league win as West Ham manager - no manager has reached this quicker in the club’s 122-year history. pic.twitter.com/2OJgNXBRVP— Uber West Ham (@UberWestHam) February 5, 2017