West Ham appoint Bilic

Former West Ham player Slaven Bilic has succeeded Sam Allardyce as manager of the Premier League club, signing a three-year deal.

West Ham have appointed Slaven Bilic as their new manager on a three-year deal.

The Premier League club parted company with Sam Allardyce immediately after the final game of the 2014-15 season, with the 60-year-old's contract coming to an end.

And co-chairman David Sullivan and David Gold have acted quickly to fill their managerial vacancy, with Bilic - a popular player at West Ham between February 1996 and May 1997 - taking the reins, subject to a work permit being issued.

"I’m really glad to be back with West Ham United," Bilic told the club's official website.

Bilic had been heavily linked with the role and announced his exit from Besiktas last month following a second season at the helm in Istanbul.

He had previously spent six years in charge of the Croatia national team, securing qualification for the 2008 and 2012 European Championships, and represented his country at the 1998 World Cup.

"My first priority when choosing a club is to look at its ambitions," Bilic added.

"When I spoke to the chairmen and [vice-chairman] Karren Brady, they made clear that it is not only the fantastic new stadium we are moving into [West Ham will play at London's Olympic Stadium from the 2016-17 season], but they showed their determination and ambition to make what is a big club even bigger.

"I remember West Ham as a special club. I love these kinds of special clubs.

"My last club, Besiktas, was that kind of club. It's not about the size - West Ham is a big club - there is something special about them - they are cult clubs."

Jurgen Klopp, Rafael Benitez and Marcelo Bielsa were reported to be among those identified as potential targets by West Ham following Allardyce's departure.

Yet Bilic will now be tasked with masterminding an improvement on last season's 12th-placed finish.

He may also get the opportunity to lead the club in continental competition if they are able to progress through the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Europa League.