MEDIA reports this morning claim that West Ham legend Paolo Di Canio could emerge as the early front runner to get the vacant managers job at his former club thanks to Italian connections with inside Upton Park.

Di Canio, who was hero worshipped during his four year spell with the Irons from 1999, may well gain valuable support form Hammers Sporting Director Ginluca Nani in his quest to land his dream job.

Nani signed a three year contract with the club in March 2008 to try and help former boss Alan Curbishley with the clubs academy, scouting and transfer issues, although he may well be asked now for his views who should succeed the former Charlton boss.

And while the east Londoners' board would probably prefer to go with the safer option of either former boss Harry Redknapp, or Croatia coach and ex-Irons defender Slaven Bilic, the pair appear uninterested in the post.

So although appointing the somewhat controversial Di Canio may seem a risk to some, the fans who idolised him on the Upton Park terraces would certainly not see it in the same way.

The 40-year-old former Lazio star has also already passed the coaching courses demanded of top-flight managers and is believed to have helped fellow Roman Nani, persuade Torino strike star David Di Michele to join the Hammers on loan for the season.

Fellow Italian and former Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini might be in the frame as well, although the desire of Di Canio to manage his former club may just swing it in his favour.

“I took the coaching badges in the summer and I would like to have a job,” he told the Sun.

“I am waiting for a job in England because my dream is to come back and I think there are a lot of good things I can bring.

“My dream team is West Ham. I keep the club in my heart. One day I hope to come back to London and sit on the bench at West Ham.”