Eddie Howe has emerged as the first choice of West Ham to take over as manager from Manuel Pellegrini, Football Insider has learned.
The Bournemouth boss, 41, has catapulted ahead of the other candidates following talks among the board this week.
An West Ham source has told Football Insider that the club view Howe as the “most promising” of the leading contenders to replace under-fire Pellegrini.
Crucially, Howe is said to be “very keen” to end his lengthy Bournemouth association to become the next manager of the Londoners.
Howe has been manager of the Cherries for the last 11 years, bar a nine-month spell at Burnley, and has firmly established them as a Premier League club after taking them all the way from League Two to the top tier.
Pellegrini’s position has been discreetly discussed at board level following a dreadful run of results that’s left the club in 17th place in the Premier League table and in danger of getting sucked into a relegation battle.
As revealed by Football Insider earlier this week, West Ham have no immediate plans to axe Pellegrini and he is set to remain in charge for Saturday’s trip to Chelsea and next Wednesday’s visit to Wolves.
The club’s hierarchy are assessing multiple candidates to replace Pellegrini, including available pair David Moyes and Chris Hughton, and Dalian Yifang manager Rafael Benitez.
Hammers co-owner David Sullivan has privately championed Moyes returning for a second spell, but he would prefer to head back to Everton, who are also weighing up a change of manager.
West Ham have dropped to fourth from bottom after losing five of their last six Premier League matches.