West Ham appoint Pellegrini ally as Director of Football
Written by Simon Austin — June 14, 2018
WEST HAM have appointed Mario Husillos as their new Director of Football - a decision that seems to have been heavily influenced by manager Manuel Pellegrini.
The duo worked together at Malaga during the 2012/13 season and Husillos is also a close friend of Pellegrini’s assistant, Ruben Cousillas. Whereas it is customary for the Director of Football (or Sporting Director) to appoint the manager, the opposite seems to have happened at West Ham.
Pellegrini said: ”It was very important to me that we appointed the right person to lead our player recruitment process and I know from working with him that Mario will be a great asset for us.
“Mario has great experience and a fantastic knowledge of players. We have already had positive discussions about his role and the areas of the squad that we want to improve, and I am sure he will become a key figure for the club.
“His worldwide contacts will help attract talent to play at London Stadium.”
In a statement announcing the appointment, West Ham made much of the fact that the Argentine had worked with Pellegrini “through the most successful period” in Malaga’s history.
However, they omitted to mention the Argentine’s latest spell with the Spanish side, which ended with them being relegated to the Second Division. There was also much criticism of his recruitment, which included nine January signings.
Husillos, who has agreed a three-year deal with the Hammers, said: “I am very excited. West Ham United is a club with huge ambition. The challenge to help deliver that ambition is what really attracted me to the role.
“I know the manager well and know he wants to deliver an exciting brand of attacking football. It will be my job to supply him with the tools to do just that. I am very much looking forward to working with Manuel Pellegrini again. We had great success together at Malaga, reaching the Champions League, and he is someone that I have huge respect for.
“I have seen West Ham play many times before. The fans are very passionate and close to the team, and I hope we can give them a team to be proud of next season.”
Joint-chairman David Sullivan had first signalled his intent to sign a Director of Football back in March, following a period of severe fan unrest and the exit of former Director of Recruitment Tony Henry, who had reportedly said he would not sign African players.
At that point Sullivan said the manager would always remain the final arbiter on signings. But in welcoming Husillos, he changed tack.
“Mario will take complete, strategic control of all player recruitment and, alongside Manuel, has the full support and confidence of myself and David Gold to lead that department.
“He has worked in six or seven different countries and it’s that global experience we hope will serve us well as we scout the world to bring West Ham United some exciting new talent.
“He is also highly experienced at helping young players fulfil their potential and we believe we have an exciting crop of emerging players here. Pellegrini is looking forward to reforming a partnership which worked so well in Spain.”