West Ham have been struggling in recent weeks, with three consecutive losses piling the pressure on Slaven Bilic, and according to the press, the club have a replacement lined up, should Bilic move on.
West Ham have identified Reading boss Jaap Stam as their number one target to replace Slaven Bilic according to The Sun.
‘A run of three consecutive losses has left the Hammers sliding down the table into 12th spot, intensifying the future surrounding the Croatian’s job.’
With the Hammers in no real threat of relegation and Reading in a promotion race, any move for Stam will more than likely have to wait until the end of the season. Stam has built a new identity of football at Reading and not only have they been pleasing to watch, but they have been getting results that have put them in the play-off positions.
Bilic came under strong criticism in the early months of the season when West Ham were languishing close to the bottom of the table, in the winter months the team recovered and has found particularly good form away from home. But West Ham are again struggling with three consecutive losses leaving Bilic’s future in doubt. West Ham have ambitions to be playing European football each season and it appears that under Bilic that will not be possible. But is Stam the right man for the job?
Stam would bring with him an interesting philosophy, and it does feel as if West Ham still need to find their identity, especially in their new stadium. Stam encourages playing out from the back and controlling games with midfielders and defenders that are capable of keeping the ball.
A move for Stam would be extremely interesting. He’s not a short-term fix, he would be a long term investment. West Ham would need to be commited to changing their style of play and be willing to back Stam in the transfer market, as to implement his style, he would probably need to make significant changes to the current starting eleven.
One thing Stam has done at Reading though, is show faith in youth players. I would expect young players like Reece Oxford to be integrated into the first team under Stam and this is something that Bilic has failed to do during his time as manager.
Bilic is no doubt a good manager and has done great things at the club, but this season has shown that perhaps he has done all he can at the club. West Ham need to be taken to the next level. Is Stam the man to do that? He’d certainly be a wildcard option rather than a proven solution, but maybe a complete change is what the club need right now.