West Ham had been expecting to announce the appointment of Benitez on Tuesday but the former Liverpool manager looks set for Spain.
Ancelotti said on Saturday that he will take a year out if he loses his job at Real Madrid but West Ham are preparing to test that situation and it is understood that they have already made contact with intermediaries of the Italian.
In what must be one of the strangest set of circumstances, former boss, Sam Allardyce was gone within three minutes of the season finishing on Sunday with West Ham losing to Newcastle United
The Telegraph goes on to say that, 'the interest in Ancelotti, a former AC Milan and Chelsea manager, is a further sign of the sort of high-profile managers that have figured in West Ham’s thinking and they already have decided on a short-list of potential replacements for Allardyce.'
The departure of Allardyce, by “mutual consent”, was announced on the club’s website immediate after the defeat against Newcastle, with the club adamant that the story was not published at half-time of the match. The story initially had a 15.52pm time on it but the club insist that the clock’s website was simply an hour out.
West Ham co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold have already drawn up a profile of their ideal candidate. They believe the manager should be aiming for trophies and ready to make the club regular contenders for European football when they move into their new 54,000-capacity Olympic Stadium home next year.
They also want academy players to get their chance and a passing style of football that is in keeping with what is known internally as ‘the West Ham way’.
Allardyce has said he will take some time out to be with his family, but there will be plenty of clubs taking a watching brief. Allardyce helped the Hammers to regain the Premier League status and most pundits would consider his four year tenure a success - with mid table finishes the norm.