WEST HAM are lining up Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann to replace under-fire Slaven Bilic.
Friday night’s disastrous 3-0 home defeat to Brighton looked to be the final nail in the coffin for Bilic.
But he survived after a meeting with the club’s owners on Saturday – although this weekend’s clash away at Crystal Palace is set to be crucial.
But now The Express are reporting that “informal contact” between West Ham and Hoffenheim has already taken place, leading to the assumption that they are biding their time before sacking Bilic.
Julian Nagelsmann, who has been nicknamed the “mini Mourinho”, has taken German football by storm since becoming Hoffenheim boss in February 2016, aged just 28.
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They were second-bottom, seven points from safety. Miraculously, the lad who makes 38-year-old Bournemouth chief Eddie Howe look a veteran, kept them up with a game to spare.
Former Hoffenheim keeper Tim Wiese gave him the Jose Mourinho nickname as Nagelsmann coached the Under-19s first to the title and then the runners-up spot the following season.
And now seemingly the Hammers are ready to bring him over to the Premier League.
But the players are ready to back Bilic according to the Daily Mail, with Mark Noble leading the charge.
The newspaper reports how the club captain “tore into team-mates during a heated dressing room inquest” after the home collapse against Brighton.
Noble was angry that the dressing room was so quiet after the defeat, believing the players should have “showed more emotion”.
The players then held a crisis meeting yesterday, after Noble himself had met with Bilic.