West Ham: Julen Lopetegui the frontrunner to become new manager but Ruben Amorim interest remains

Target: Julen Lopetegui (Getty Images)
Target: Julen Lopetegui (Getty Images)

Julen Lopetegui is now the frontrunner to replace David Moyes at West Ham, with the Spaniard close to agreeing a deal.

Moyes is out of contract at the end of the current campaign and both he and the club insist there will be no decision over his future until talks following the final game of the season.

However, there is strong expectation that the Scot will leave the London Stadium this summer and the search for a potential successor has been underway for weeks.

Talks with Lopetegui have progressed well, though no firm agreement in principle has yet been reached and Sporting boss Ruben Amorim remains a live contender for the post.

Lopetegui has been out of work since leaving Wolves on the eve of the new season and briefly looked in line to take over at AC Milan last week, before slipping out of contention. He is known to be keen on a return to the Premier League.

Ruben Amorim remains a target (AFP via Getty Images)
Ruben Amorim remains a target (AFP via Getty Images)

The fact that former Spain and Real Madrid boss is not currently in a job, meaning West Ham would not have to pay a release clause, is thought to be attractive to co-chairman David Sullivan.

Another of the club’s leading targets Amorim - who flew to London for talks last week - has a hefty buyout clause in his Sporting contract. Lille coach Paulo Fonseca and former Bayern Munich boss Hans Flick have also been considered.

Moyes is desperate to keep his players focused on the final three games of the season, starting with Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.

Technical director Tim Steidten, who along with Sullivan is leading the hunt for a potential successor, has been told to stay away from Moyes and his players for the rest of the campaign.