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West Ham appoint Lopetegui as Moyes’ replacement

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West Ham have appointed Julen Lopetegui as their new head coach.

The 57-year-old Spaniard, who agreed a deal with the Hammers earlier this month, succeeds David Moyes and joins on a two-year deal, with the option for a third.

Lopetegui has been out of a managerial role since he left Wolves in August.

“I feel very happy, first of all, to be able to be part of the future of this big club,” he said.

“We had other opportunities but I am very happy that West Ham chose me because I chose West Ham too, so we are really happy about this.”

Earlier this month, West Ham confirmed Moyes, who took over for his second spell at the club in December 2019 and won the Europa Conference League in 2023, would leave at the end of the season.

The 61-year-old Scot had come under increasing pressure after a poor run of results which saw the Hammers finish ninth in the Premier League and miss out on a fourth successive season in Europe.

Lopetegui will officially begin his role on 1 July for the start of pre-season, which includes a two-week trip to the United States for matches against Crystal Palace and Wolves.

“I feel that we have a fantastic platform,” Lopetegui added.

“My ambition as a coach is always to be better and better, to achieve more and bigger aims and to encourage and improve the players, the team, and to compete because football is about this – to compete.”

The former Spain and Real Madrid coach won the Europa League with Sevilla in 2020, before moving to Molineux in November 2022 when Wolves were bottom of the Premier League.

He guided them to a 13th-place finish but he had become frustrated by the club’s financial situation before resigning.

“Julen lives and breathes football,” said West Ham’s technical director Tim Steidten.

“He thinks deeply about the game, he is tactically astute and he has shown he can adapt to work in different leagues, in different countries, with national teams, and in each situation he has shown his outstanding qualities.”

A former goalkeeper, Lopetegui played for Real Madrid and Barcelona and won one cap for Spain.

The club’s joint chairman David Sullivan added: “We believe this appointment will ensure a strong opportunity to build on the positive progress made in recent seasons, helping the club to move forward in the direction that aligns with our ambitions.”

Julen Lopetegui has been looking for a way to return to the Premier League virtually since he left Wolves on the eve of the season just ended.

West Ham have provided the former Real Madrid and Spain boss with that opportunity.

As ever, there are two narratives around Lopetegui; the man who had success at Sevilla and with Spain and dragged Wolves out of the relegation mire and the one who failed at Real Madrid, left Sevilla when they were in relegation trouble and walked out on Wolves because there was no money to spend after investing heavily the previous January.

It will be fascinating to see how this unfolds.

Many West Ham fans were glad to see the back of David Moyes, believing his football was too negative. Yet he delivered three top-10 finishes, three European campaigns and a trophy. They are high standards to follow.

In addition, there is uncertainty over the future of star man Lucas Paqueta, who would be coveted by many top clubs if the betting issues around him were unresolved.

Arguably, Lopetegui is coming into the most stable situation at West Ham since Harry Redknapp left in 2001. He will be expected to hit the ground running.

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