West Ham to delay Julen Lopetegui confirmation amid regrets over public pursuit

West Ham to delay Julen Lopetegui confirmation amid regrets over public pursuit

Julen Lopetegui is set to become West Ham boss, but a formal unveiling will be delayed until after the final game of the season.

West Ham on Monday confirmed that David Moyes will leave the club by mutual consent when his contract expires at the end of the campaign, bringing an end to his four-and-a-half year spell in charge.

Moyes, who led the club to Europa Conference League glory last term, was close to signing a new deal at the midway point of this season, but a run of just four victories across competitions in 2024 has seen a promising campaign fizzle out.

Both Moyes and the club had long insisted that no firm decision on the Scot's future would be made until the summer. However, it has been clear for weeks that the 61-year-old would be heading for the door — and Sunday's humiliating 5-0 defeat at Chelsea, which signalled the end of West Ham's slim European hopes, accelerated plans.

Internally there is a sense of regret at the public manner in which the pursuit has played out

The announcement means West Ham fans will have an opportunity to bid farewell to the manager who ended their 43-year trophy drought when Luton visit on Saturday for the final home game of the season.

Internally, however, there is a sense of regret at the public manner in which the pursuit of potential replacements has played out and there is, therefore, a determination that Lopetegui's appointment will not be confirmed while Moyes is still in his job.

There has been tension between the manager and technical director Tim Steidten, who has been leading the search for a successor, and last week the German was asked to stay away from the first-team squad for the rest of the campaign.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Former Spain and Real Madrid boss Lopetegui is thought to have been the first choice of co-chairman David Sullivan, having impressed during several rounds of talks. The 57-year-old emerged as the leading candidate towards the back end of last week, before reaching an agreement in principle to take charge over the bank holiday weekend, though final details of his contract are still being ironed out.

Lopetegui has been out of work since leaving Wolves on the eve of the season, but prior to that had steered the Midlands club to safety on the back of a successful spell at Sevilla, where he won the Europa League and qualified for the Champions League three times.

West Ham also held early negotiations with Sporting boss Ruben Amorim, who flew to London last month. However, the Portuguese later apologised to Sporting supporters over the timing of that trip and has since vowed to lead the club into next season, having wrapped up the Portuguese title this weekend.

In any case, buying the 39-year-old out of his Sporting contract would have cost a reported fee of around €15million (£12.8m) and Sullivan was known to be reluctant.