West Ham went all out for Rafa Benitez and Jurgen Klopp in the summer, but ended up with Slaven Bilic.
This seems overly ambitious, but this is the same club that once tried to sign Neymar. (To be fair, they did once snare Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.)
Klopp turned West Ham down immediately, but of course accepted the Liverpool job just a few months later following Brendan Rodgers’ sacking.
Their co-owner David Sullivan confirmed as much in an interview with Sky Sports, in which he claimed his club were ‘two hours’ from appointing our former boss Benitez – who for some reason – decided on Real Madrid instead!
“I interviewed Slaven four or five years ago and he said he wouldn’t come unless we gave him £30m to spend. He was my first choice four or five years ago. We saw three or four people before we appointed Avram (Grant).
“This time around, it is common knowledge we tried to get a very high level of manager, with vast experience and one of them went to Real Madrid after we had agreed everything with him, and therefore we went with the best of the rest – and Slaven was the best of the rest.
“We were two hours from getting Benitez and then Real came in. We had agreed a contract and everything. I’m a great believer what happens, happens. He is a top manager whatever anybody says and I think he’d have done a wonderful job for us.
“We tried (Jurgen) Klopp as well but he wouldn’t come because he said he wanted a break. But I’m glad with the manager we have got.”
You have to say fair play to the Hammers for trying, and recognise the man they ended up with, Bilic, is doing a pretty sound job.
While Klopp laughed off West Ham’s interest, he recently claimed in his interview with Football Focus that it took him only five seconds to decide on the Liverpool offer when he was approached.
Klopp had planned on taking a year long sabbatical after leaving Borussia Dortmund, but the urge to take over at Anfield was too tempting – luckily for us.