West Lam? Norwich boss Paul Lambert is Hammers top target
Published 23:02 18/05/11 By John Cross - EXCLUSIVE
Paul Lambert is the shock name on West Ham’s hit list to be their new manager.
The Hammers are aware of Lambert is in a contract dispute with Prremier League-bound Norwich and believe they can lure him away from Carrow Road.
It would be a massive blow to the Canaries to lose their manager after leading them back into the top flight, but talks over a new deal have hit a stalemate.
Several top-flight clubs are also watching developments, but West Ham would still be keen to talk to fiercely-ambitious Lambert.
Lambert has been offered a new contract worth £1.6million-a-year, with an emphasis on bonuses and incentives, while the ex-Celtic and Scotland midfielder wants a more lucrative basic package.
Norwich are hopeful of keeping their manager, but it would not be the first time that Lambert has been courted by another club. The Canaries' Championship rivals Burnley tried to get him in January, before eventually hiring Eddie Howe.
Lambert, 41, knows he is in on the radar of Premier League clubs as well as the Hammers as football heads into a summer that could see a managerial merry-go-round.
Aston Villa could spark things off if Gerard Houllier, recovering from illness, leaves his post. That may lead to them moving for Everton’s David Moyes, the unattached Steve McClaren or Mark Hughes of Fulham.
Blackburn’s Steve Kean and Alex McLeish of Birmingham are also under pressure as they try to beat relegation.
Relegated West Ham have so far struggled to attract their top managerial targets.
Former England boss McClaren has ruled himself out and Gus Poyet has pledged his future to Brighton.
Ex-Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill, who nearly got the West Ham job in January, is believed to be wary of taking the post, which has prompted Hammers co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan to widen their search.
Former Newcastle boss Chris Hughton remains the bookies’ favourite, while the also between-gigs Sam Allardyce is also in the frame.
West Ham would also pounce if QPR boss Neil Warnock, set for talks with the Premier League-bound club’s owners today, becomes available.
But Hughton has a proven track record of getting a team - Newcastle - straight back up to the top flight after relegation and also spent two years as a player at West Ham as well as growing up near Upton Park.