Alan Curbishley will fly to to Milan today to discuss the club's transfer plans for the summer with Gianluca Nani, who is to be West Ham United's first technical director. The meeting is a clear sign that Curbishley, despite being under pressure after a poor run of form, is expected to survive as the club's manager beyond this season.
Curbishley is due to be accompanied on the flight by the club's chief executive, Scott Duxbury, who has helped negotiate the deal to bring the highly-rated Nani from the Italian club Brescia to Upton Park. A formal announcement of Nani's appointment is due next week.
The West Ham board met after Sunday's 4-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur – the third successive match that the Hammers have been beaten by that scoreline – to discuss how to deal with the fall-out and the pressure on Curbishley. The players were called in for extra training at 9am yesterday, which was due to be their day off.
Last night the board reacted by issuing a statement of support for the manager. In it they said there was "no question" of Curbishley's future "being called into doubt" despite the "disappointing and frustrating" recent results. The statement went on: "Alan, his staff and the players have done well to put the club into the top half of the table, despite a massive injury list, and they have the full support of the board."
West Ham are aware that the statement may be interpreted as the dreaded "vote of confidence" for Curbishley, who has, at times, struggled to gain the support of the fans and some of the squad, but are adamant that the sentiment is genuine. One source said there needed to be a sense of "perspective" on what Curbishley had achieved in bringing stability to the club and there had been no talk of him being replaced.
Nani is currently general manager at Brescia, who have been in Serie B for the past four years. He will be involved in the scouting and recruitment of players as well as the overhaul of West Ham's facilities – from the medical set-up to the training ground. Nani will also oversee the development of the proposed new 60,000-seat stadium next to West Ham underground station.
His brief is to work alongside Curbishley with the club at pains to stress that the manager was fully involved in the interview process and has "hit it off" with Nani.