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Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Gullit's agent plays down Hammers talk
Ruud Gullit
Gullit's spell at Newcastle was not a success
Ruud Gullit is the latest name to be linked to the vacant manager's job at West Ham - but the Dutchman's agent has dismissed the claims as "speculation".

Gullit has been out of football since quitting Newcastle in August 1999 and his agent Phil Smith said that the former Dutch international is not interested in returning to management yet.

However, Smith added that West Ham is just the kind of club that would interest Gullit if he changed his mind.

"This is pure speculation, but Ruud will be flattered to be linked with West Ham," said Smith.

Charlton manager Alan Curbishley
Curbishely is said to be West Ham's first choice
"There has been absolutely no official approach from West Ham, but they are certainly the type of club he would be interested in because of the style of football associated with them.

"Ruud is back home in Holland at the moment, spending time with his family, and he has no plans to go back into football.

"I have had calls from various people asking me if he is going to go to West Ham, but this link is just speculation at the moment."

Gullit could be a target for West Ham if they follow through on suggestions that they might break with tradition and look abroad for their next manager following the surprise departure of Harry Redknapp last Wednesday.

Gullit's preferred style of football matches the Hammers' tradition and the former AC Milan star is also the type of person to attract high-profile names to the club.

He worked with big-name foreign players when he was in charge of both Chelsea and Newcastle.

Inexperience

Charlton boss Alan Curbishley is said to be the first choice of the West Ham board.

But he is away on a break, and so far appears to have ruled himself out of contention.

It is also unlikely that West Ham will appoint someone like Stuart Pearce.

Although the veteran defender is immensely popular at the club and was this season's player of the year, he has very little managerial experience.

Frank Lampard
Lampard is on his way out of Upton Park

The Hammers will try to bring in a new boss before pre-season training begins in July.

Meanwhile, coach Glenn Roeder will take charge of the team for the last game of the season at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Redknapp is hoping his settlement package will be finalised when his representatives meet club chairman Terence Brown on Tuesaday afternoon.

The club are also set to deal with the impending departure of England star Frank Lampard.

He is to leave Upton Park following the exit last week of his father Frank, who was Redknapp's assistant.

Leeds and Aston Villa are leading the chase for 12million-rated midfielder.

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See also:

14 May 01 |  Charlton Athletic
Powell: Curbishley loves West Ham
14 May 01 |  West Ham Utd
Sinclair questions Pearce's CV
13 May 01 |  West Ham Utd
Pearce keen on Hammers post
12 May 01 |  West Ham Utd
Cash row key to Redknapp exit
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