West Ham eye Benitez to replace Allardyce
Rafael Benitez is emerging as a serious contender for the West Ham United job if the co-owners, David Sullivan and David Gold, cannot convince David Moyes to make an early return to the Premier League.
Moyes is West Ham's first choice to replace Sam Allardyce as manager in the summer, with the club putting former Everton scout Tony Henry in charge of the recruitment policy.
However, it is unclear whether Moyes can be persuaded to leave Real Sociedad, having returned to management with the Spanish club in November.
Sullivan and Gold are yet to make a final decision on whether to offer Allardyce a new contract and will conduct their annual end-of-season review about a week after the final Premier League game against Newcastle United.
With Allardyce's future in limbo, West Ham are giving serious consideration to the realistic alternatives.
Former West Ham defender Slaven Bilic is on the shortlist, but the name gaining most traction behind Moyes is that of Benitez, the former Liverpool manager and Chelsea caretaker.
Benitez, who is expected to leave Napoli at the end of the season and is keen on a return to England, could also be a contender for the Manchester City job if they decide to part company with Manuel Pellegrini.
Benitez is well known to City's director of football, Txiki Begiristain.
The 54-year-old's family have remained on Merseyside during his two years in Naples, which has always made the prospect of a return to England attractive to him.