West Ham United in talks with Hajduk Split over potentially lucrative partnership

The Croatian side were Slaven Bilic's first and last team as a player.

Reports in Croatia this week are suggesting that West Ham United have agreed a partnership with leading Croatian side Hajdulk Split regarding the sharing of players and a share in the club.

Jutarni report that West Ham are interested in taking five per cent of shares in the Croatian side and that West Ham have already discussed the partnership with the club.

24 Sata claims that West Ham commercial director Felicity Barnard and commercial development manager Christopher Beadle have already begun the process of pitching the idea to Hajduk.

Hajduk’s marketing director Aljosi Basic spoke to 24 Sata about the potential link-up – suggesting the agreement might be similar to what Chelsea have with Vitesse and he praised Slaven Bilic’s role in the negotiations:

“The English club are intrigued about cooperating with the club from which sprang their coach, and the fact the Hajduk academy in the last few years proclaimed as one of the most productive in Europe.

“West Ham would like to enter in the ownership structure of Hajduk, but is not interested in a majority stake.

“You mentioned the example of Chelsea and Vitesse as a model who would like to follow, but talks about sports and finance over and above my competence, so we have to leave that for future meetings.

“Of course, most of the credit for this meeting belongs to Slaven Bilic, who has half an hour after the match with Arsenal received (Hajduk delegates) in his office, and (Arsenal first-team coach) Boro Primorac when he heard that people from Hajduk were there.

“His charisma and pride tells about the club from which he originated, has intrigued people from West Ham and encourage them to offer us cooperation.”

It would certainly be an exciting prospect for West Ham to have a direct link with Hajduk, as the club produces excellent talent on a regular basis.

Bilic is of course Croatian himself and has big links with the club. He was from Split and started and finished his playing career with the club. He also managed Hajduk Split for one season in 2001-02.

West Ham fans will of course hope this sees the club snap up some of Croatia’s top talent in the years to come.

For now that seems a long way off, but a deal looks to be in the pipeline and could prove a fruitful relationship between the two proud clubs.

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