Report: West Ham looking to lure Rafa Benitez to Upton Park

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With West Ham battling for a top-ten finish in the Premier League, the club is already looking ahead to next season.

Despite enjoying a relatively successful campaign, it is believed the Hammers will let go of manager Sam Allardyce and look for a replacement to help move the club forward.

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Today, Jason Burt of the Telegraph said it is “80 to 90 percent” certain West Ham and Allardyce will part ways, while reports out of Spain said the club was interested in bringing Rafa Benitez back to the Premier League.

Spanish newspaper AS reported that three different Premier League clubs are interested in Benitez, as his contract at Napoli expires at the end of the season.

Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel speaking to Sky Sports:

I think Rafa Benitez is No 1 – in a field of one.

At some stage a club has to start looking up rather than down. Once you’re moving into a 50,000-seater stadium, you are at that stage. You have got to start looking upwards. Sam has done a good job there but he’s still associated with keeping teams up. At this point in their development, West Ham have got to aim higher.

He [Benitez] will be perceived by the West Ham fans as someone who can take them into this new era. Rafa Benitez is not a guy you get if you’re looking to finish mid-table. He’s a guy you get in if you’ve got your eyes on something bigger and that’s where West Ham have to be.”

Samuel is referencing West Ham’s move from Upton Park to Olympic Stadium, which will become the new home of the Hammers starting in 2016. The stadium hosted both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and is currently undergoing renovations to hold 54,000 supporters for West Ham matches.

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Benitez will be one of the most sought-after managers this summer, as he has achieved success at nearly every club he has worked with. The Spaniard won two La Liga titles while in charge at Valencia, the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, the Europa League with Chelsea in 2013, and two domestic cup titles with Napoli.

West Ham is a historic club with an ownership group that is willing to spend to bring trophies to east London. While Benitez will surely receive offers from clubs throughout Europe, a return to the Premier League could be in the cards for the former Liverpool and Chelsea boss.