West Ham’s alarm at their recent slump has raised doubts over the future of Mario Husillos, the club’s director of football and one of Manuel Pellegrini’s closest allies.

Pellegrini is in no danger of being sacked, with West Ham determined to back their manager despite sliding into 13th after picking up two points from their past five games, but questions are being asked about Husillos’s role. There is unhappiness with the Argentinian’s work in the transfer market last summer and he faces a fight to retain ultimate responsibility for identifying signings in January. After that, the club may look to review Husillos’s position.

West Ham, who performed shambolically during the 3-2 home defeat by Newcastle last Saturday, broke their transfer record when they signed Sébastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt and they expect the £45m striker to come good despite struggling in front of goal recently. Yet eyebrows have been raised at two of Husillos’s picks. Pablo Fornals, a £24m signing from Villarreal, is yet to make an impact and the Spanish goalkeeper Roberto Jiménez has failed to impress while deputising for Lukasz Fabianski, who could be out until the new year with a hip injury.