Former West Ham manager Slaven Bilic linked with China national teamby Jack Kitson / 25 May 2018, 11:50Tweet
West Ham found a new boss in Manuel Pellegrini earlier this week, and now one of their former gaffers, Slaven Bilic, could be set for a return to management for the first time since leaving the Hammers back in November.
Bilic has reportedly emerged as a surprise candidate to take charge of the China national team following rumours that the current Dragon’s Team incumbent, Marcello Lippi, is set for the chop.
The Sun reports that Bilic is in fact “already in negotiations” over a possible move to replace the under-fire Lippi, who has been in charge of China for nearly two years.
The Italian led Italy to World Cup glory in 2006, but failed to guide China through to Russia 2018, a competition the world’s most populous country has been absent from since their one and only showing 16 years ago.
China were also thrashed by Wales and Czech Republic at the China Cup, with Ryan Giggs overseeing a 6-0 win in his first game at the helm.
If Bilic does land the China job, he’s likely to become a very rich man, considering that Lippi currently earns a staggering £21m-per-year.
Bilic has experience in the international managerial arena, having led his own country, Croatia, for six years between 2006 and 2012.
During his time in charge Bilic’s men beat England home-and-away in qualification to Euro 2008, a tournament The Three Lions painfully missed out on.
Bilic, who was the youngest manager at the tournament, went on to lead his troops to three wins out of three in the group stages, including a 2-1 victory over Germany, only to then lose on penalties in a dramatic clash against Turkey in the quarter-finals (see video below).
Croatia then missed out on a place at the 2010 World Cup, and exited Euro 2012 in the group stages.
Bilic would go on to manager Lokomotiv Moscow, Besiktas, and most recently West Ham.