Slaven Bilic is looking likely to have a new contract agreed for the end of the season. The Croat, who took over from Sam Allardyce in June 2015 currently has 15 months remaining on his 3-year deal.
Last month we reported that the board would only offer the deal if West Ham finished eighth in the Premier League. By now the notion of a top eight finish appears increasingly like a pipe dream. The Hammers currently sit ninth in the table, seven points away from West Bromwich Albion, who also enjoy a vastly superior goal difference.
"I spoke a few times about my contract and I am very happy with the way I approach that situation,
I have a contract and I am very happy here, and I always treat my next few games as my contract, and I don't think that much about it.
Of course it would be nice but I have a year-and-a-half left on my contract. Nowadays in football if you have that or four years left there is no difference at all.”
Bilic went on to compare his situation to the recently sacked Claudio Ranieri; who you may remember for taking relegation-battling Leicester City to the Premier League title last season. If a miracle-worker like The Tinkerman can get fired 26 games into his title defence, what does a contract even mean?
"The last example of Claudio Ranieri is the biggest and best one. If you asked anyone in or related to football who has the safest job, we would all say 100 per cent Ranieri. And then what happened with that?
So I am not bothered about that to be fair.”
Premier League football consistently shows that all managers are only a few bad games away from being fired. Whatever happens with Bilic’s contract in the summer will have little impact on whether he can keep his job through a bad spell of form.
Regardless, Bilic is West Ham’s best manager since Harry Redknapp and it is ridiculous that this contract business wasn’t sorted out earlier. He currently boasts a 40.96% win rate and has the most points per game of any West Ham manager in the Premier League era (1.50).
Slaven Bilic deserves a new contract not many managers could have got West Ham to mid table after the stadium move & Payet fiasco#COYI— Jack Kavanagh (@JackKavanagh) March 3, 2017
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
The Hammers made a rocky start to the current campaign and were looking to be in serious relegation jeopardy at the end of 2016; Bilic was reportedly close to the sack at this point. Since the start of December the team have won six and drawn two out of 11 league games. These 20 points have virtually erased any disquiet that was around the club at the time.
With Bilic looking likely to commit to the Irons in the long-term I have faith that we can continue to build on the work of the previous two seasons and look to get back into Europe. Let’s just hope we don’t have to play Astra Giurgiu again!