West Ham United announced on Wednesday that they wouldn’t be extending David Moyes’ contract at the London Stadium meaning the Scot is free to negotiate a move elsewhere, and Leeds United shouldn’t waste any time in bringing him to Elland Road to replace the disappointing Paul Heckingbottom.
The 55-year-old signed a deal with the Irons until the end of the season when he replaced Slaven Bilic in November, when they were well in a relegation battle in the Premier League.
However, the former Everton and Manchester United boss quickly turned things around and began to pick up positive results to take the east London outfit up the table, and it was looking increasingly likely that he would be handed a longer contract at the end of the campaign.
A disappointing run of form in the lead-up to the final few fixtures, as well as disapproval from the stands about tactics and style of play, meant that Moyes’ future was already sealed before his team took seven points from a possibly nine available in their last three top flight games.
West Ham’s owners have decided to take a new and fresh route, and it will be interesting to see where Moyes turns to next, with a top job in the Championship perhaps appealing to him if there is nothing available in the Premier League.
While he decided not to lead Sunderland in England’s second tier following their relegation from the top flight last year, it was perhaps to do with the difficult situation they found themselves in at the time – on and off the pitch – as proven by the fact that they will be playing League One football next term.
That isn’t to say that he couldn’t be a great manager at this level though, and few Leeds fans would argue that Heckingbottom is a better option than Moyes is right now ahead of what is going to be a crucial 2018/19 campaign, having often heavily criticised the 40-year-old on Twitter.
The 55-year-old has the experience of picking up results on a consistent basis, and even though he was only with West Ham for just over six months, he showed his management experience and skill by helping a potentially difficult character in Marko Arnautovic improve and become a key man after his Irons career had got off to a poor start.
The Scot has proven he can be a man-manager when required and that could be crucial to these Leeds players in their bid to finally win promotion back to the Premier League this time next year, at which point they will have been out of it for 15 years.
The Yorkshire outfit need a strong character who will command respect from his players and have their trust, and there are certainly doubts as to whether Heckingbottom does that considering his spell in charge from February onwards was hardly impressive or inspiring – he led the club to four wins and 16 points from 16 league matches.
Appointing Moyes would certainly help to get the feel-good factor back around Elland Road despite his previous Man United connection, and it would be a real statement of intent to both the fans and the rest of the division that they mean business next season, and that they should be feared.
Not only that, but when they are recruiting some much-needed new signings this summer, they are more likely to want to play under the Scot than Heckingbottom, who is still relatively inexperienced.
Andrea Radrizzani has a real opportunity to take Leeds forward and guarantee them a top-six spot minimum next season by handing Moyes an offer he can’t refuse, and he should do it now before another club snaps him up.