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Premier League: What will Julen Lopetegui bring to West Ham?

West Ham United will have a new manager in the dugout for the 2024/25 season after the club confirmed that Julen Lopetegui will take over the managerial reins from David Moyes this summer.

Spanish tactician Lopetegui has been out of work since leaving Wolves on the eve of the 2023/24 Premier League campaign but he has continued to live in England in a bid to secure another top-flight job in the country.

We take a closer look at the highly-regarded 57-year-old and analyse just what West Ham United fans can expect from the Spaniard.

West Ham Premier League odds

  • To Finish in Top 4 - 14/1
  • To be Relegated - 14/1

Who is Julen Lopetegui?

West Ham needed to bring in a manager capable of handling the pressure of leading a club who always seem to have lofty expectation levels, and Lopetegui looks to be an astute choice.

The Spaniard has a wealth of experience, having managed the likes of Porto, Spain, Real Madrid and Sevilla and he stressed in an interview in December that he has unfinished business in this league.

Lopetegui was named Wolves boss in November 2022, taking over from Bruno Lage, and he guided the team to a 13th-placed finish in the Premier League.

However, unhappy at not being given the funds to improve the squad last summer, he walked away from his post just three days before the start of the 2023/24 campaign.

The 57-year-old brings a winning mentality to the London Stadium, after he helped Sevilla win the 2020 Europa League and also guided Spain's U19 and U21 sides to European Championship glory in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Premier League

Multiple formations brings flexibility

It will be interesting to see what formation Lopetegui adopts at West Ham.

Will it be the 4-3-3 he loved so much when in charge of Sevilla, orr will he utilise the 4-2-3-1 seen during his time at Wolves?

The positive for the Hammers is that the Spanish manager is so tactically astute that he can switch from different formations with relative ease, which was seen at Molineux where his side regularly changed from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2.

Based on the players at West Ham right now and the fact they have been playing a 4-2-3-1 under David Moyes, it would seem logical for Lopetegui to continue with this formation as little change will be needed.

Utilising this approach, Lopetegui likes his full-backs to push out wide and low when playing out from the back, spreading the play, while one of the two holding midfielders will often drop in between the two centre-backs to help the build-up.

A defensive improvement will definitely be required, as West Ham have conceded 70 goals from 36 league games this season, and it bodes well that Lopetegui has thrived in this department at a couple of previous clubs.

In his 78 games in charge of Porto 54 goals were conceded, while 163 strikes were let in from 170 matches when at the helm of Sevilla.

There is the possibility that Lopetegui could go with a 4-3-3, which should bring about a higher attacking output, but some crucial summer additions will be needed to make that happen.

Expect busy summer at the London Stadium

If Lopetegui left Wolves due to the lack of financial backing, you would assume he has been given assurances from the West Ham owners that he will be handed a decent transfer kitty this summer.

As mentioned before, defensive additions will be high on the agenda and it would be no surprise to see as many as three new players arrive to strengthen this area.

A new left-back and right-back could be brought in, as the current crop of Emerson, Aaron Cresswell, Vladimir Coufal and Ben Johnson are not cutting it, while an experience centre-back is another potential reinforcement.

Improving the strength in depth in midfield is another item on the agenda, with Kalvin Phillips failing to impress on loan from Manchester City, but keeping the star players is also a priority.

Jarrod Bowen is likely to be the subject of transfer enquiries during the summer window, while the likes of James Ward-Prowse, Edson Alvarez and Mohammed Kudus are also attracting interest.

Keeping a hold of the core of the squad will make life much easier for Lopetegui and, if he manages to do this and bring in some useful additions, there is no reason the Hammers can't challenge for European positions.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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