West Ham want Benitez as Moyes replacement

West Ham have identified Rafa Benitez as their first choice candidate to succeed David Moyes.

The former Manchester United and Everton boss parted company with the Hammers on Wednesday, bringing to and end a six-month spell during which he helped preserve the east London club’s Premier League status.

West Ham had initially earmarked Paulo Fonseca as their No.1 target but failed to make a formal approach for the Portuguese, who is now set to sign a contract extension with Shakhtar Donetsk, according to the Mirror.

Benitez, like Moyes, enjoyed a reputation enhancing season, guiding Newcastle to a mid-table finish having masterminded their promotion campaign 12 months earlier.

The former Liverpool manager, who came close to joining West Ham from Real Madrid back in 2015, has a year remaining on his current deal but his future in the north east remains far from certain.

Benitez has publicly applied pressure to the club’s owner Mike Ashley and wants assurances over Newcastle’s transfer budget and the future of serveral key players, including Jamaal Lascelles who has emerged a target for Chelsea.

Unain Emery, recently sacked by PSG, and Manchester City’s Premier League winning manager Manuel Pellegrini are also under consideration.

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