Julen Lopetegui serious contender to be next West Ham manager as David Moyes nears exit

Julen Lopetegui serious contender to be next West Ham manager as David Moyes nears exit
Julen Lopetegui is eyeing a return to the Premier League - Getty Images/David Rogers

Julen Lopetegui is emerging as a serious contender to replace David Moyes at West Ham, with the club preparing for a managerial change this summer.

With Moyes’ five-and-a-half-year reign set to come to an end, Lopetegui is understood to be one of West Ham’s leading choices to take over ahead of next season. Lopetegui, 57, has been out of the technical area since leaving Wolves at the start of the campaign and is keen to make his return to management in the Premier League.

A former Spain, Real Madrid and Sevilla manager, Lopetegui is a Europa League winner and the 57-year-old’s vast experience makes him an attractive option for the West Ham board.

Moyes is out of contract in the summer and has endured a fractious relationship with supporters over results and his style of play.

West Ham are also said to have considered Sporting head coach Ruben Amorim, but Telegraph Sport understands the Portuguese’s release clause of £12.8 million – which drops to £8.5 million next year – is one that the Premier League club are currently unwilling to meet.

West Ham were knocked out of the Europa League by Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen last week and thrashed by Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Though Moyes has delivered a Europa Conference League title, and three consecutive European campaigns, while also challenging at the top of half of the league, an amicable parting of the ways seems inevitable next month.

West Ham have only won four of their 21 games across all competitions this year and the club is targeting a fresh start for the 2024-25 campaign. Moyes insisted that Thursday’s Europa League exit had no impact on West Ham’s poor performance at Selhurst Park.

“I make no excuses whatsoever. We got praise for our performance in midweek and I praised the players for their performance but I’m certainly not not praising them for anything today,” he told the BBC.

“We were so, so poor, ridiculously poor. To be a Premier League club you’ve got to have a bit about you and a lot of games that are difficult. This was always gonna be a difficult game. Crystal Palace had done well last week and we had to make sure that we got into the game and gave ourselves a chance but we were so, so bad.”

Lopetegui worked wonders last season to guide Wolves to safety from a poor position.

After succeeding Bruno Lage in November, the Basque coach was a popular figure at Molineux until walking out amid concerns over the club’s financial restrictions.