Friday 23 February 2018

Struggling Hammers shelve Bilic contract talks

West Ham will postpone plans to give manager Slaven Bilic a new deal
West Ham will postpone plans to give manager Slaven Bilic a new deal

Matt Law

West Ham will shelve plans to hand Slaven Bilic a new contract unless he can turn around the club's alarming slump quickly - but his job is not under immediate threat.

The Hammers have lost four of their five Premier League games this season, conceding 12 goals, and were knocked out of the Europa League by Astra Giurgiu.

Co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold appreciate that Bilic's team has been hit by key injuries to André Ayew, Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho and Aaron Cresswell, which means the Croat's position is not yet in doubt.

The pair also acknowledge that it is extremely early in the season, but Bilic will have to work hard to earn the new deal that Sullivan promised him in March, when West Ham were riding high.

Although he signed a three-year contract when he was appointed manager in June of last year, Bilic was assured he would be rewarded for last season's work with an improved deal.

Bilic's deal contains a clause which allows the 48-year-old to be sacked with no compensation if the club are relegated from the Premier League, something he would seek to remove in any talks.

But, even though there are no plans to sack him, West Ham will not risk handing Bilic a contract and removing the clause while the club are at the wrong end of the table.

Bilic is likely to attempt to bring some stability to his defence by handing former Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa his debut at right-back against Accrington Stanley in the League Cup tomorrow night. Teenager Reece Oxford could also start.

Following problems of unrest inside the London Stadium, there will be greater segregation tomorrow, while the club are trying to defuse tensions caused by fans standing during matches. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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