Slaven Bilic is quite enjoying his first season as a manager in the Premier League.
His West Ham moved up to fifth on the Premier League table this weekend after defeating Everton 3-2, a match in which they trailed 2-0 with less than 15 minutes to play.
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With the Hammers sitting just a point outside of the Champions League spots with nine matches remaining, supporters at Upton Park are starting to believe they could see their club playing against Europe’s elite next season.
Partly because of stories like Leicester’s miraculous run and Chelsea’s collapse, West Ham have flown under the radar in this wild and unpredictable Premier League season.
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Speaking on the Hammers’ success and the state of the Premier League, Bilic said he hopes the power continues to shift from the traditional “big clubs” to other teams on the rise.
I think this is a permanent shift at the top.
Say Man City buy Karim Benzema. They have Sergio Aguero already, so there is no big gap for them to improve. There is no big space to get much better. Chelsea can sell Diego Costa and buy Robert Lewandowski, yes, but they are only different; not better.
But clubs like us, Crystal Palace, West Brom, Leicester: we can still improve with the money. Two years ago West Brom maybe could afford Salomon Rondon, but they would have had to sell Saido Berahino to get him. Now they can keep Berahino, so next year, with more investment, you can keep those players. Crystal Palace can keep Yohan Cabaye and bring another one.
Bilic mentioned the likes of Salomon Rondon and Yohan Cabaye, but his own signing of Dimitri Payet truly shows the power shift in the Premier League. West Ham paid more than $15 million for Payet this summer, and that looks to be a bargain as the French playmaker’s name is towards the top of the list for player of the season.
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In his first year in charge, Bilic has West Ham in line for their best Premier League campaign since finishing seventh back in 2002. With an upcoming move to the Olympic Stadium and more money coming in with the new television deal, Bilic has the club in the perfect position to challenge at the top.