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Sep 4, 2008

West Ham draw up five-strong shortlist

West Ham have moved quickly to fill their managerial vacancy after Alan Curbishley's resignation on Wednesday by comprising a five-strong shortlist for the position.

The list is understood to include Gerard Houllier, the former Liverpool manager now technical director of the French federation, Croatia boss Slaven Bilic, plus three Italians: Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Mancini - the ex-Inter Milan coach - and former Italy manager Roberto Donadoni.

The candidates will be interviewed over the weekend and a decision is expected to be made before the club's next match against West Brom on Saturday week.

Houllier is a strong candidate given his Premier League experience, but the standout manager from the list appears to be Mancini.

The Hammers' Italian technical director Gianluca Nani has been involved in drawing up the list, while Mancini's track record is undoubtedly the best given that he took Inter to the Serie A title for the last three seasons.

'I have asked for a comprehensive list, in terms of nationality, experience and qualifications,' West Ham vice-chairman Asgeir Fridgeirsson said.

'The parameters go along with what we are trying to achieve at the club. The key element is that we want this to be a sustainable club.

'It is totally inaccurate to say we have anyone lined up for the job already - we want a strong English club with English players, with its roots in the academy.'

On Thursday both Harry Redknapp and Stuart Pearce ruled themselves out of the running, but the Hammers' board may extend the shortlist should good new candidates emerge.

The club want a manager who takes an interest in the development of young players and other names to be thrown into the hat include: John Collins, Martin Olsen - ex-Ajax and Denmark, Martin Jol, David O'Leary and Glenn Hoddle.

One former West Ham player who has thrown his hat into the ring is controversial Italian striker Paulo di Canio, according to his agent Phil Spencer.

He said: 'We have made moves to talk to West Ham and advised them that he [Di Canio] wants to be considered. He wouldn't be putting himself up for the job if he didn't think he was capable of doing it.

'He just wants the opportunity to sit in front of the decision-makers at West Ham to tell them what he would do and how he would take them forward.

'We haven't heard from the club yet, so we don't know whether Paolo is on that shortlist.

'You don't always get what you want, but the situation is they have to do the right thing for West Ham and Paolo loves West Ham.'

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