West Ham have warned Croatia coach Slaven Bilic that they will not hold the manager’s job open for the former Hammers player.
Bilic features on a four-man shortlist to replace Alan Curbishley, along with Italians Roberto Donadoni and Gianfranco Zola and former Getafe boss Michael Laudrup.
Hammers officials plan to hold talks with Bilic later this week, after his side take on England in Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier.
Doubts have been raised about whether Bilic would be willing to walk out on his country at short notice, even for a lucrative return to the Premier League and the chance to manage his former club.
And West Ham director Mike Lee said the 39-year-old would only be considered if he was ready to move soon.
“Slaven Bilic could potentially be on the shortlist but it depends very much upon his availability,” said Lee. “If for whatever reason he was not available until January, I’m afraid
that will rule him out.
“We have a very strong shortlist and it’s going to be a tough decision with some exciting candidates. From the meetings that have taken place so far the two that have really shone have been Donadoni and Zola.”
Curbishley resigned on Wednesday accusing the club of selling players against his wishes.