Rafa Benitez was hours away from managing West Ham before Real Madrid swooped

Benitez was brought in at the Santiago Bernabeu after Carlo Ancelotti was sacked last summer

West Ham's co-owner, David Sullivan, has informed reportes that Rafa Benitez was hours away from becoming manager of the London club before a call from Florentino Perez at Real Madrid changed everything.

Sullivan said the contract was agreed and just needed the Spaniard's signature on the bottom, “We were two hours from getting Benítez and then Real came in. We had agreed a contract and everything,” Sullivan said. “He is a top manager whatever anybody says and I think he’d have done a wonderful job for us. We tried Klopp as well but he wouldn’t come because he said he wanted a break. But I’m glad with the manager we have got.”

Benitez is reportedly under pressure at Real Madrid as his side lay two points behind Barcelona and have played a game more than their bitter rivals. He might be on the lookout for another job in management sooner rather than later with Perez never hesitating before to pull the trigger and a job in the Premier League might not be out of the question.

Slaven Bilic was evenutally recruited and has West Ham in a very respectable 10th place and knocking at the door of European football. His side play Southampton at home today in an effort to jump up the table despite the injuries his side have suffered.

They are still missing Dmitri Payet, who is back in full training, while Diafra Sakho, Manuel Lanzini and Victor Moses have all been missing recently as Bilic looks to keep the ship from sinking as the second half of the season approaches.