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West Ham to target Slavisa Jokanovic if they decide to replace Slaven Bilic

Slavisa Jokanovic
Image: Slavisa Jokanovic has done an impressive job at Fulham

Fulham's manager Slavisa Jokanovic is West Ham's No 1 target if they choose to replace Slaven Bilic this summer, according to Sky sources.

West Ham eased their relegation fears with a 1-0 win over Swansea at the weekend and are now 14th in the Premier League table, eight points clear of the drop zone.

However, they had previously suffered five defeats in a row, raising questions about Bilic's future.

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Former Watford boss Jokanovic has impressed during his 15 months in charge at Craven Cottage and Fulham are seventh in the Championship at present, two points outside the play-off places.

And Sky Sports News HQ understands that West Ham's board have been increasingly impressed by the Serb's ability to promote young talent from Fulham's academy into the first team.

A former Yugoslavia international midfielder, who made 39 appearances for Chelsea, Jokanovic took Watford into the Premier League in 2015 before leaving to manage Maccabi Tel Aviv.

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The Hammers have been linked with a host of other managers in recent weeks, including Rafa Benitez of Newcastle and former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, but SSNHQ understands Jokanovic is the one West Ham have pinpointed, if they do choose to replace Bilic at the end of this campaign.

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However, the West Ham board have remained steadfast in their support of Bilic of late and issued a statement earlier this month in which they reiterated that his job was safe.

Slaven Bilic gestures on the touchline during the match against Leicester City at The London Stadium
Image: West Ham said earlier this month that they had '100 per cent' faith in manager Slaven Bilic

The statement read: "To end speculation once and for all, the board feel it necessary to announce that we have 100 per cent faith in Slaven Bilic's ability to lead West Ham United.

"Despite press speculation to the contrary, the manager's position is not under threat.

"The board know that Slaven and his coaching staff have the full backing of the playing squad and the overwhelming majority of supporters to lead West Ham United out of this difficult spell.

"The board now urge all supporters to unite behind the manager, his staff and the squad as we go into some important games.

"We all have complete confidence in their ability to end a testing run of results and finish the season on a high."

The vote of confidence was followed by a defeat at Arsenal last week, before the crucial success over Swansea.

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