Croatia coach Slaven Bilic has cooled speculation linking himself to the vacant West Ham United manager's position after committing his future to Croatia until 2010 at least. The former Hammers defender is being touted as one of the possible candidates to succeed Alan Curbishley, who resigned on Wednesday.
But Bilic looks set to lead Croatia through to the end of their qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ at least. "I've said it before and I'll say it again: I won't go," Bilic told The Guardian.
"It's not a problem for the players because I've told them I'm not going. I haven't changed my mind about this. I want to stay with Croatia."
Croatian Football Federation president Vlatko Markovic had earlier warned West Ham against a move for Bilic. "It will be mission impossible," he said to the Daily Express. "Bilic can't go because there will be a big political problem with Croatia.
"This is the usual speculation. Bilic can't go and, even if he loses against England, he is not going to leave as we are very happy with him. They might have money but so do we, and the Croatian Football Federation has enough money to buy West Ham."
Several names have been linked with the post, including Bilic, Gerard Houllier, Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Donadoni and Roberto Mancini. "I have asked for a comprehensive list, in terms of nationality, experience and qualifications," West Ham vice-chairman Asgeir Fridgeirsson told BBC Sport.
"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."
Former West Ham forward Paolo di Canio also wants to be considered, according to his agent. "," remarked Phil Spencer.
"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."