Co-owner David Gold's comments give clearest indication yet that West Ham could appoint Slaven Bilic

West Ham United co-owner David Gold has given the clearest indication yet that the club could be set to appoint Slaven Bilic as their new manager.

Former Besiktas boss Bilic has been the longstanding bookies' favourite to replace Sam Allardyce in East London.

But speculation in recent weeks has seen the Hammers linked with moves for Rafa Benitez, who ended up joining Real Madrid, and Sevilla's Unai Emery, who signed an extension with the La Liga side.

Another name strongly linked with the Boleyn Ground hotseat has been that of Marseille boss Marcelo Bielsa, who reportedly wants the West Ham job and is refusing to sign new deal in France, according to the Mirror.

West Ham have admitted they want to bring a manager in as quickly as possible, with their season set to start a month earlier than normal on July 2 when their Europa League qualifying campaign gets under way.

But despite being available for the last two weeks following Allardyce's departure after his own exit from Turkey, Bilic has not been appointed. It has led to many fans questioning whether he is actually the number one choice for co-owners Gold and David Sullivan.

However, Gold has now given the clearest indication yet that Bilic will be the man to take over in an interview on West Ham's official website.

"David Sullivan is working all hours God sends to bring in the best possible manager," he said.

"Every day goes by it is a case of elimination. It would be lovely to have someone with West Ham history, that ticks a box.

"We don't want to take a chance, West Ham are not going to take that risk.

"We have to get somebody in as quickly as possible but by the same token we're not going to bring in a second best."

The truth is West Ham may be left with no choice in the matter after a clutch of potential bosses were removed, or removed themselves from the equation.

Tentative and ambitious approaches for the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp are believed to have been rebuffed while David Moyes's immediate future lies in Spain.

But considering Bilic is the only candidate who has Gold's desired "West Ham connection" following a year with the club in his playing days, it seems he could well be the man who lands the job.

A further hint also came when the club's official site played pictures of Bilic and Emery over the top of Gold speaking in the video interview published on Saturday night.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch