West Ham supremo David Sullivan has admitted that the Hammers were “two hours away” from hiring Rafa Benitez to join the club and also confessed that a move for Jurgen Klopp was unsuccessful.
With the London club moving to the Olympic Stadium next season, there is a feel-good factor around the Boleyn Ground side.
West Ham were keen to have a progressive campaign ahead of relocating to their new home, with Sam Allardyce stepping down in the summer after a number of years at the helm.
Slaven Bilic has done an excellent job so far this season, but is has been revealed that a number of other candidates were in the running to move to the Hammers.
Sullivan has confessed that a late approach from Real Madrid stopped Benitez from joining, while an approach for Klopp fell on deaf ears.
“We were two hours from getting Benitez and then Real came in,” The Guardian quote the Hammers chief as saying.
We had agreed a contract and everything. He is a top manager whatever anybody says and I think he’d have done a wonderful job for us.
“We tried 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.”
Bilic has led West Ham into the top half this season, while Benitez has struggled to make an impact in the Spanish capital.