In a recent poll that was run on HITC, West Ham United fans voted Marcelo Bielsa as the second-most popular man in the frame to replace Sam Allardyce this summer. The current Olympique de Marseille boss finished just 1% behind former Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez – but what are the chances of El Loco joining the Hammers this summer.
The Argentine coach moved to France at the end of last season, the deal was announced before the end of the campaign so that he would have a jump on his pre-season preparations.
However, all is not well in the south of France and Bielsa looks set to leave the club after just one season. His contract stipulate that he could walk away after his first campaign and with Marseille sliding out of the Champions League places, it looks like his tenure at France’s biggest club is going to end in a whimper.
Rumours have linked him with a move to coach in Saudi Arabia – the stories have mentioned a salary of over €10 million a season. If those figures are true, it would be hard for Premier League teams – even with the new TV deal – to compete with that amount.
Bielsa’s system of high-pressing, non-stop relentless football is almost unsustainable in a club side, which is why he never actually won any trophies with Athletic Bilbao or Marseille.
West Ham could be the ideal club for him in the Premier League. It’s in London so the press coverage would love him, there is no real expectation to lift trophies and the fans would love him – up until the inevitable collapse.
Any move to England this summer seems unlikely. After a power struggle at the start of last season, he has full control at Marseille and may stay one more season to try and turn it around, but the money offered by His Royal Highness, Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud - who made a failed attempt to buy Marseille last year – could be far too tempting to turn down.
Especially as they want him for the next eight years. Who can say no to €80 million?